First year at university is always a little overwhelming, new surroundings, new people, new structure in your study timetable and a stronger emphasis on independent learning. Besides studying hard for those inevitable exams, many students will spend their spare time socialising. While this is an important aspect of the university experience, it is also important that you use some of this time to invest in your future career either in becoming a Solicitor or Barrister.
Relevant legal work experience is essential alongside strong academic grades in securing a Training Contract or Pupillage and your first year at university is a good time to start asking yourself questions about your future in the legal profession. You may also be thinking about whether the Barrister or Solicitor route is for you? What area of Law you may be interested in and whether you want to practice in London or a regional area. Obtaining relevant legal experience and essentially developing the skills needed to work as a Barrister or Solicitor is definitely going to help you answer these questions.
With the support of your lecturers & university Careers Service you can identify the opportunities where you can start to develop these skills.
The skills you need to be working towards developing include interpersonal, initiative, attention to detail, written & communication, advocacy, research, legal & commercial awareness, team work and ability to work under pressure.
If you are pursuing a career at the Bar you will need the ability to think on your feet, be comfortable in the early stages of your career with financial instability, interest in self employment, be intellectually curious and be satisfied with working alone or within a team.
If you a pursuing a career as a solicitor you will be involved in a lot more team work and client contact. You’ll need to have the ability to build strong professional relationships with people and have an interest in international travel.
By the middle of your second and final year you may be applying for a Training Contract or Pupillage so in order to be competitive in an increasingly competitive industry & show your commitment to the legal profession you will need to start getting relevant experience from your first year onwards.
If you require any ongoing support in applying to and interviewing for these opportunities the City University Centre for Career & Skills Development Service is there to support you.
Thanks to Ruth Wilcock, Careers Consultant at the Centre for Career & Skills Development Service, for this useful piece