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10 Career Tips for New Law Students

As a law student, it is crucial to build a strong foundation to set you up for your future legal career. This article will highlight 10 Careers tips to help you navigate the confusing and often, overwhelming legal industry.

  1. It’s ok to not know what you want to do - As a student, there is often an expectation to know what kind of lawyer you want to be and what kind of law you want to practise. However, this will take time and disregarding certain areas of the law might mean you miss out on your true calling. Give yourself time to explore the different areas and take notes on what you like in order to find the area you’re best suited to.

  2. Networking - Some people enjoy and thrive in networking, whilst others don’t. If you’re someone that doesn’t, don’t worry! Networking is not the only way to make connections. There are alternative ways to do so, such as through emails or through friends. When connecting with legal professionals, remember that they are people too. If you treat them with kindness and respect, they are likely to return the favour.

  3. Commercial law isn’t for everyone - Most students get swept away by the popular idea of a career in commercial law. This is not going to be for everyone. At the end of the day, it is important to be yourself as pretending to be someone who enjoys the commercial law 9 to 5 grind for the rest of your life is draining and untenable.

  4. Get to know older students - It might sound obvious, but students at later stages of their degree have had more exposure to the legal industry and a more realistic view than what you might hear from other sources or even law firms. Reach out and get to know some of these students as they hold a wealth of knowledge regarding how to find jobs, apply for internships, the different areas of law, etc. I promise they’re not as scary as they might seem!

  5. Have hobbies outside of the law - Most firms look for candidates that are well rounded. Good grades are not the only factor. Law firms value students that can maintain interests and hobbies whilst still performing academically. Don’t lose that keen interest in theatre or that passion for soccer.

  6. Balance - The previous point talked about hobbies and how important they are for your future graduate applications. Hobbies are also good as they utilise a different side of your brain, providing you with a break from the stressors of law and preventing burnout. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

  7. Friends are key - While a law degree can seem competitive, your friends can be your greatest allies. Friends can help read applications, study together or even provide that crucial bit of support when trying to get through some readings. If you’re struggling to find friends, look around you next time you’re in class. Everyone is going through the same content at the same time so at the very least you all have that in common! Who knows, your new best friend might already be sitting next to you.

  8. Develop soft skills - Teamwork, communication, negotiation and problem-solving abilities are key not just in law school but in the legal industry. A lot of the work you do as a lawyer revolves around soft skills so it’s crucial to take law school as an opportunity to develop these skills in order to be ready for the workforce.

  9. Be a kind person - This may seem more like life advice but being a genuine and kind person goes a long way in your future legal career. Law school does not need to be a toxic environment! Everyone is struggling in their own way so helping and supporting each other will create a more inviting and transparent environment.

  10. The people around you are your future colleagues - The people around you are future lawyers. While they might seem like competition now, they are also your future colleagues and friends. The law industry is a lot smaller than it might seem. Words will generally get around so it’s always important to be a kind and genuine person!

All legal careers are unique and these tips are just some advice from things I have experienced over the last couple of years. Ultimately, you get what you put into the degree. Create a positive environment, support each other and you will get the most from both your degree and your future career!

Written by Oliver Scholast

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