Law Fairs are busy so take the time to research. Think about who you want to talk to and why, and don’t forget the LPC providers.
A Law Fair is busy and if you haven’t looked at who is attending it can be tempting to pick up many brochures and leave without having spoken to anyone, therefore it is crucial as a first step to have a look at who is attending and take time to research.
Researching means you should know basic details about each firm you are interested in talking to, including the size of the firm, if they have any overseas offices, how many trainees they recruit each year, whether the firm offers vacation placements or work experience for first years, and the types of Law they specialise in. KSLS produces a Law Fair Brochure which is free and given out to students to help with this process.
Once you have researched the exhibitors attending you should then compile a few questions to ask the representatives, they are an invaluable source of information. If you take the brochures and walk off you will not be making the most out of the Fair. Equally you should not take freebies and then leave, it is unprofessional, only take them if offered.
Try not to ask questions which can be found out yourself through research, such as what do you do, why should I apply, tell me about you, not only does this look bad on you as a candidate but it will not help you to make the most out of the Fair. Instead think of questions that you are really interested in finding out the answer to. You could ask the trainee representative how they find the work/life balance and how much choice they were given in their seats. You could ask the recruitment representative what they really look for in a trainee and what makes candidates stand out. The answers to these questions will inevitably help in your applications.
Before you start a Training Contract you will need to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC). A number of LPC providers will be at the KSLS Fair, so use this opportunity to find out a bit more. Some questions you might like to ask the providers include the intake of students, what financial assistance they offer if any, how many students do the LPC without a Training Contract and how likely is it to gain a Training Contract after doing the LPC at the particular organisation.
Before the Fair
Have a look on the Law Fair page to find out which firms are attending this year, then plan which organisations you would like to speak to and research them by looking at their website (links also on the Law Fair page).
You Should Research
Before attending the fair you should know the following basic details about each firm you are interested in talking to:
- Where the firm is headquartered;
- The size of the firm;
- How many overseas offices they have and where;
- How many trainees they recruit each year;
- The types of client and range of business;
- Whether they offer vacation schemes.
- Questions to Prepare
Prepare some questions before the Fair – asking intelligent questions related to the firm makes a good impression. Some examples that you could ask are:
- What do you look for in trainees?
- Do you offer financial assistance for course fees?
- What are the opportunities for trainees to work in overseas offices?
- How are trainees allocated seats and supported during training?
- What is the work/life balance like?
Questions to Avoid
Asking a question that could have been answered by looking on the firm’s website does not make a good impression. Examples of BAD questions include:
- Who are you?
- Are you a law firm?
- Do you practice criminal law? (when the firm clearly focuses on commercial work)
- Where are your offices
- So tell me about your firm?
- Why should I apply to your firm?
Before you start your training contract you will need to complete the LPC. A number of LPC providers will be at the Fair so use the opportunity to find out a bit more. Some questions you might like to ask course providers could include:
- What is your intake of students each year?
- Do you provide financial assistance with course fees?
- What core subject areas do you cover?
- Where are you based?
- Which law firms do you work closely with?
- What is the percentage of students who complete the LPC without a training contract?
- Do you offer the option of deferring my application (if you intend on taking a gap year)?
On The Day
- Dress smartly. You do not need to wear a suit, but a smart outfit will project a professional image, remember these people could be your future employers!
- Arrive early and allow yourself plenty of time to see all the firms.
- Take time to read the Law Fair Brochure as it will give you an overview of all the firms attending and may include information that you missed during research. The Brochure is free and can be collected on the day and downloaded from the Law Fair page.
- Approach each stand confidently, with a firm handshake and lots of interest and enthusiasm.
- Keep an open mind and speak to different types of firms. By doin so you will start to identify the things that are important to you in your choice of firm and you will gain a clearer picture of the sort of working environment which will suit you.
- Speak to the firm’s Trainees as these people are doing the job that you are aspiring to and you can find out information like what the work/life balance is really like, the training environment at the firm, and how the training programme is run.
- Ask the same set of questions to each firm so you can make comparisons between them.
- Take notes on what each firm has said including the name of the person you spoke to so you can remember the information they gave.
- Do not assess firms on the “freebies” they give out as they are only gimmicks, but that’s not to say you cannot take advantage of what is on offer! Remember to act professionally; do not grab freebies unless they are offered to you.
- Remember firms are trying to impress you as much as you are trying to impress them as they want you to apply.
- Do not expect to walk away from the Law Fair with offers of work experience or invitations to open days, as firms are generally there to sell their company, not to find their next trainees.
- Lastly, go home and read all the information that you have been given!