As an Emerging Talent Officer and part of the wider Emerging Talent Team at Express Solicitors, my colleagues and I get plenty of opportunities to travel to universities and speak with students about a career in law.
Over the past 12 months, we have travelled to universities all over the UK attending graduate fairs and law fairs. We have met so many passionate and enthusiastic individuals along the way and I am delighted to say that some of these students have since joined our Graduate Scheme here at Express Solicitors.
When we attend a law fair, it is imperative that we bring along one of our trainee solicitors. This is because it is so important that prospective legal professionals find out first-hand what life is like as a solicitor at Express Solicitors.
Our trainee solicitor can also explain the process of becoming a solicitor, from graduate scheme right up to receiving a training contract and becoming a qualified solicitor. This conversation enables a student to get a real feel for the firm, and the process involved in becoming a solicitor.
Below I offer my advice to prospective lawyers on how to best prepare for a graduate law fair:
At a law fair, you want to stand out, engage in conversations with prospective employers and, if interested, follow up afterwards.
Preparing for a law fair
To make the most out of a fair, it is great to have a purpose and a plan. Here are some tips:
- Decide which employers you want to talk to: Look over the employers attending and select the top few that you are keen to visit.
- Research firms: Make sure you know some general information about the firm as this shows initiative and will help the conversation flow.
- Have a LinkedIn Account: A basic profile is useful for connecting with prospective employers.
For example, a student reached out to me before a fair in Liverpool to let me know that she would be attending the fair and would love to find out more about Express Solicitors. From my point of view, this created a really good impression as it showed she was genuinely interested in Express.
Getting the most out of a law fair
Here are some tips for engaging in positive and productive conversation:
- Make the most out of having a person to talk to and ask questions that you cannot find the answers for online.
- Use open questions to start conversations.
- Be patient when listening and try not to interrupt others.
- Smile and actively engage with the team.
Communication is an invaluable skill, and as a solicitor or barrister it is an indispensable tool for negotiating. This first conversation with your prospective employer is your chance to prove how efficiently you can communicate your interest and passion for law.
What to do after the law fair
Following up after you have spoken to your potential employer can be tricky.
You don’t want to come across desperate, but you still want to show that you’re keen.
Some firms might ask you to complete a form and email you after the event.
I often suggest that students add me on LinkedIn and send me a message that way.
My advice is to send a message over LinkedIn thanking the person for their time. This then allows you to ask any questions that you may have or enquire about future opportunities.
Obviously, there are many other follow up routes. You may need to send an email to the firm or register for a scheme online.
I hope this advice helps and I look forward to meeting you at your university fair soon.