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Exam de-brief: eight useful things law students can do over the summer

25 June 2013 

8 things to do over summer 

So you've emerged from the dark hole of revision, faced the terror of exams and celebrated your freedom. But now what? FLN considers some constructive, yet hopefully not too mentally taxing, ways to spend the great British summer.

Read some law books for fun

This suggestion may not go down well with burnt out law students. But there are some lighter legal reads out there which serve to entertain and educate simultaneously. Ex-barrister Tim Kevan's BabyBarista novels, for example, provide a great insight into life at the Bar, alongside plenty of laughs. For budding solicitors, 'Joy', the second novel by former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer solicitor Jonathan Lee, is a beautifully written tale about the darker side of corporate law. Those craving something about the law itself should try 'The Rule of Law' by the late law lord Tom Bingham. Accessible and engaging, it's viewed as the definitive book about the English legal system of our generation.

Go to some freebie events

Even during the summer there's a constant flow of law-related events taking place all over the country — with many of them free. Good places to find out about what is going on include the UK Human Rights Blog, the website of civil liberties organisation The Open Rights Group and the events sections of university law school websites. The University of Law’s extensive programme of Open Days continues throughout the summer with events in all centres.  And if you are just starting to think about your options for a career in law, it’s excellent Explore Law event s give you the opportunity to find out what it really takes to study law at university and to work as a lawyer. Discover law through interactive law taster workshops and collect valuable information and advice on finding your route into a career in law.

Start a blog

There are surprisingly few good UK law student blogs. The last one of real quality, Law Think, helped secure its co-founder, Leon Glenister, a pupillage at top commercial barristers' chambers Hardwicke Building. As Leon explains in a recent podcast, legal blogging takes a lot of work, but if you have a real passion for the law it can be a very fulfilling way to spend your time. 

Future Lawyers Network is also a source of law student blogs – check out GDL student Manon Sel‘s for example.  We’re always looking for new bloggers here at FLN, so if you are interested in writing for us, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

Other interesting law student blogging ventures include the Training Contract Hawk, which features well written musings about the legal market from an LPC student's perspective. Its author, Krishnan Nair, has also written articles for The Guardian, Lawyer2B and Legal Cheek, and has since gone on to secure a training contract at a niche commercial law firm.

Or try something lighter

While a Twitter account may not be the kind of thing that merits a mention on your CV, a social media presence can be a great way to engage more with what's going on in the legal world. Twitter, in particular, is booming among UK law students right now, with accounts like@LawVicissitudes, @ParalegalTony and @lawisnowblonde among the most popular tweeting legal hopefuls.

The medium is probably most useful, though, as a way to follow established lawyers and other legal commentators. Must follows for serious legal news include 1 Crown Office Row barrister Adam Wagner (@AdamWagner1), solicitor and New Statesman legal correspondent David Allen Green (@JackofKent) and top media lawyer Mark Stephens (@MarksLarks). For lighter legal banter try @LegalCheek, @CharonQC and @BarristerHulk.

Put your CV online

Starting a LinkedIn profile may not be everybody's idea of a fun way to spend a summer's day, but the least glamorous of the social networks is here to stay — and it's teeming with lawyers. Even if you have secured a training contract or pupillage, it's worth sticking on your CV and starting to build online connections that could come in handy in the future. 

Apply for jobs

As any law student worth their salt will be well aware, 31 July is the date which most of the big law firms set as the deadline for training contract and vacation scheme applications. Still, amid the relaxed summer vibe, a surprising amount of students neglect to apply to as many firms as they had sworn they would months previously in the focused environment of law school.
But how to decide which law firm to apply to? The Lex100 has a very comprehensive list of the salaries available at the top law firms, alongside detailed analysis of each outfit.

Get a law-related job

Even if you haven't got a vac scheme lined up for the summer, it is not too late to get some law-related work experience. OK, so securing a part-time paralegal job isn't exactly easy right now — especially when you haven't completed your legal training — but there are positions out there for the tenacious. LawCareers.Net's jobs board is a good source of the more ad hoc paralegal and legal assistant vacancies.

The alternative is to do some form of internship, which isn't of course possible for everyone due to the minimal remuneration on offer for some placements. The 'legal internships' section of the Inspiring Interns website is a good place to look for opportunities.

Don’t forget that as soon as you accept your University of Law GDL, LL.M LPC or BPTC, you will have access to its law career and employability service and immediate help with your job search!

Alternatively, just get any job

Unglamorous non-law summer jobs can impress potential legal employers more than many students think.  ‘A student working on the checkout at Sainsbury's is more impressive than they often realise,’ explains Edward Walker, graduate recruitment manager at Pinsent Masons. He adds: ‘Let's not forget that companies like Sainsbury's are law firms' core clients. Understanding how their business works from the bottom up is very useful.’


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