Are you an aspiring lawyer? Then we have the perfect event for you. For the first time ever, our National Law Fair will be taking place digitally via Hopin. Join us and our exhibitors on Thursday 2 July from 1pm – 4pm for the opportunity to speak one-on-one with representatives and trainees from top law firms from around the country.
What you need to know before the National Law Fair
The National Law Fair provides the opportunity to explore exciting career options and network with firms. It can be an important step on the route towards securing a training contract, paralegal position or graduate job. You will be able to find out about each firm’s graduate recruitment process, get careers advice and speak to current and future students. There will also be a number of live talks and presentations taking place throughout the event.
John Watkins, Our Director of Employability, said: “There has been a definite trend in recent years where concrete opportunities have arisen as a direct result of students attending careers fairs. There’s no pressure to secure something on the spot; but don’t underestimate the domino effect that can be set in motion by having the right conversation with the right person.”
Who attends the National Law Fair?
The National Law Fair is attended by a range of law firms and recruiters. Representatives, recruiters and trainees from numerous law firms and organisations will be in attendance this year. Among those registered are Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Trowers & Hamlins LLP and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. New exhibitors are being announced regularly, so keep an eye on our National Law Fair webpage for more information. Each exhibitor will have their own virtual booth where you can ‘visit’ them and ask any questions you may have about them and their recruitment process.
The National Law Fair also provides wider opportunities to expand your network. As well as potential employers, you can take the time to talk to fellow students at different stages of their journey. Don’t hesitate to talk to our staff either. Our Employability Team help both students and employers, and are perfectly placed to offer information, advice and guidance.
How should I talk to recruiters?
Be yourself but on a good day, says John Watkins. It’s no use pretending to be someone you are not, but you should certainly maximise your chances of making a good first impression. Make sure you know your strengths and what makes you stand out. You’re not there to brag but you may be asked questions about yourself, so you’ll want to be ready to put your best foot forward and stand out from the crowd.
Be prepared. Check which firms will be attending, identify those that interest you and conduct some preliminary research before you join. This will help you ask probing, memorable and distinctive questions which show your genuine interest in that firm.
Also prepare yourself to meet new people virtually. If this is still new to you, practice talking to friends and family via video call before the event. Remember to test your computer with the technology you need in advance, choose a quiet and well-lit area to join the fair and try to look at your camera rather than your screen to improve eye contact and communication.
Make a plan. The students who get the most out of the fair tend to be those who have worked out which booths they want to visit before they arrive rather than visiting every one. This will help you make sure that you speak to all of your chosen organisations.
If you’re nervous, test the waters by approaching a firm that isn’t your first choice first. This can help you get a feel for what greetings and questions work well, and give you a chance to overcome your anxieties before approaching the firms where making a good impression matters most to you.
During the National Law Fair
What will be happening and when?
1:30pm Panel Session: Secrets to Success
This session will allow you to ask questions focusing on a range of topics, from the graduate recruitment process, to the current legal market, what it’s like to study the GDL and LPC, innovations within law and technology and much more. Featuring panelists from law firms, The University of Law tutors and current students who have been successful in the training contract application process.
2:15pm Seminar: Understanding why employers attend Careers Fairs and what you should do next
The session will touch on commercial awareness, influencing people, managing your brand and give you some useful pieces of advice to take away.
3pm Seminar: The Future of Law Firms
This seminar looks at the dramatic changes that will soon occur, and new opportunities for a wide range of people. Law firms will look to employ different types of lawyers with different skills, as well as people with computing, maths and science backgrounds. Come and see how the legal landscape will shift in the next 5 years, and how you can equip yourself for an exciting career in the legal industry.
What sort of questions should I be asking?
Make sure to take part where necessary and remember to use good grammar if you’re interacting via a chat function.
Try to work out what the firm’s culture is all about and whether you are compatible. If a recruiter says something that confirms that their firm is a strong cultural fit for you, take a moment after the exchange to write down who you talked to and what they said that has made you want to apply to their firm. You may well find you want to mention this in your application.
What should I wear?
You will have the option to join the event with audio only, but we recommend that you have your camera on as it is more personable and will leave a longer lasting impression. Even though this is a virtual event, dress smartly but comfortably. Smart casual wear is appropriate at this stage: jacket and trousers for men, and either dress, skirt or trousers and a jacket for women. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit, but recruiters will generally wear suits so if in doubt, it won’t harm you to lean towards the smarter end. T-shirts, jeans or strappy dresses are certainly not appropriate. Employers will generally view the people they speak to as prospective employees more than as students; they will be looking for people they would feel comfortable representing their firm with clients in the future.
How do I ask for contact details?
You can ask a representative whether they mind you contacting them. Be prepared to take details of people you talk to. Employers follow up with ‘nice to meet you’ e-mails and those students that impress may well also be invited to forthcoming events from which work experience and even a job opportunity may arise.
You can ask about adding recruiters or representatives to your contacts on LinkedIn. This is a good way to stay in touch, stay up to date with ongoing updates from people and their firms and increase your professional network.
After the National Law Fair
Remember to ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and then follow up with firms or employers and get in touch with the people you spoke to; not just firm contacts but other students and tutors too.
If there was a particular course that was mentioned that sparked your interest, discover more about it on our study pages. If you’ve already applied it is time to engage with our Careers and Employability Team.
Find out more about our National Law Fair and book your place on our website.