Once you have decided your reasons why you want to be solicitor, you should start thinking what type of law you want to work in. A tip is to think about how you approach reading a newspaper. Do the latest criminal cases fascinate you? Do you have strong opinions on immigration and refugees? Do you want to help people that have been discriminated against at work? Are you intrigued by business?
You may have an idea from studying what area you want to work in. However you will find out from your work experience and talking to people in practice that working in the law and studying it are often very different.
It is therefore important to keep an open mind when approaching each experience. If you secure that training contract there is no guarantee that you will qualify in your favourite area, and an open mind and positive attitude may lead to more opportunities than dogmatically deciding on one area of law. Plus many areas of law overlap in terms of the skills used. If you have a good idea of what your skills are and what you want, then you will be able to know where you should be focussing.
Where to Research
- Research is important. You can do this through the following ways:
- Careers department
- Law journals
- Law sections in newspapers such as The Times and The Guardian
- Contacting the firms with informed, researched questions as a prospective applicant
- Work experience
- Speaking to family members and friends who work in the legal profession
- The internet (see below)
The following websites are useful:
Be Informed about Current Affairs
It is good to keep up to date with the non legal news with newspapers both print and online. You may be asked about this in interviews and you will want to appear informed, knowledgeable with your opinions.
It is good experience to try and work out how the news can impact on legal issues and vice versa.
Gossip Can Be Useful
The News of the World sensationally reported on Max Mosley’s private life in 2008. Not only did Mosley win damages in a privacy lawsuit but he now has a case in the European Court of Human Rights. The outcome has the potential to force the government to change the law governing how the press report on people’s private lives. The front page news or even seemingly scintillating gossip therefore can have far reaching legal ramifications.
Work experience is essential. It will give you insight into different types of law and prove your commitment and enthusiasm to future employers. It will also boost your CV, highlight your skills and increase your confidence.