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Set yourself up for Success at our National Law Fair

Aspiring lawyer? Our National Law Fair will be taking place on Wednesday September 4 from 1pm – 4pm at our Moorgate Campus in London and gives you the opportunity to speak one-on-one with representatives and trainees from top law firms from around the country.

It’s also an opportunity to explore exciting careers options and network with firms. It can be an important step on the route towards securing a training contract, paralegal position or graduate job.

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 over 30 law firms and organisations will be in attendance this year. Among those registered are many of the top UK firms as well as government agencies such as the Army Legal Service and legal news and careers websites. You can find a full list of who will be attending on our website.

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 approach 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 arrive. This will help you ask probing, memorable and distinctive questions which show your genuine interest in that firm.

Plan your day. The students who get the most out of the fair tend to be those who have worked out which stands they want to visit before they arrive rather than visiting every stand. It can get very busy, so having a plan will help you make sure that you speak to your chosen organisations without having to wait for too long

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.

What sort of questions should i be asking?

The National Law Fair is a chance to work out which firms are a good fit for you. When you come to write applications, almost every firm will want to know why you are applying to them specifically. Having a quality conversation with a representative, recruiter or trainee is an opportunity to work out how to give a sincere, personalised answer to this type of question.

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?

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 to one day represent their firm to their clients.

Should i keep in contact with representatives after the fair?

You can ask a representative whether they mind you contacting them. Be prepared to take details of people you talk to or ask to exchange business cards. 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. 

Should i bring my cv with me?

There is no harm in preparing your CV in advance. If nothing else, it will ensure that you have recently reviewed your experience, and have reflected on what makes you stand out. If you ensure your CV is limited to one page, then having a few copies may be useful in case a recruiter asks for it. However, it is worth remembering that your application will generally be stronger if you have adapted your CV to a specific firm and attached a supporting cover letter. The National Law Fair is primarily an opportunity to work out how to tailor your CV and application, rather than hand them over on the spot. Recruiters will have so many pieces of paper handed to them that it is often better to send a soft copy after the event, tailored to the firm and accompanied by a short message thanking them for their time at the event.

Find out more about our National Law Fair and book your place on our website.