I know it’s a little early to start thinking about careers, but let it comfort you that at York, you have a lot of guidance and support along the way.
At York we have our own law careers advisor (Chris Wilkinson). He has worked in law and now works as a tutor for employability. So when we have Legal Skills sessions on a Wednesday, the afternoon is usually free. However, he and occasionally the Law Society provide events and talks from law firms concerning careers.
We are made aware of the things currently going on in the legal profession, such as:
- How to become a Solicitor
- How to become a Barrister
- What if you don’t want to be a lawyer?
- CV and Application Workshops
- What to do after we leave York
- Postgraduate study
- Year Abroad
Outside of the York Law School, the University of York also has its own careers advice service, so if you aren’t sure what to do or where to look I would really advise making an appointment with them.
In such a competitive field, having an edge in employability is important and having someone friendly and approachable to help you through the process is reassuring.
York is also one of the few universities I know of that does “Legal Skills” as a compulsory module. We do tasks based on a mock case or trial such as:
- Client interviews and letters
- Drafting witness statements
- “Mooting” – mock court trials
- In the Law department we have a mock courtroom so if you really enjoy it you can have a go at “mooting” in a more realistic setting.
- Negotiation between clients – the picture above is my firm members preparing for a mock negotiation. We even have people come in who act as “clients” to help us get used to what it is like being given instructions by a client, they can change their mind mid-negotiation and you have to adapt accordingly.
I think this is really important because whilst the theory and law are important, in order to go on to the world of work you need the skills this provides. In law it directly applies, as these are skills you don’t usually get to test until you go into training. But in any career, the ability to communicate, be critical, confident and work as a team will stand you in good stead when looking for a job.
If you aren’t sure whether you want to be a lawyer, this is really useful. Also, the York Law School offers “link days” with law firms so you can have a day or two to see what it’s like. These are usually in October-November and February. You could just go and sit in a court room for a day to get a feel for it.
The student-run Law Society do events like socials, law firm insight evenings and the biggest event of the year is the Law Careers Dinner during which law firms send trainees to come and talk with you. You pick a table hosted by the firm you are interested in and sit with them. They provide a lot of networking opportunities and the chance to find out what working at a law firm is really like.