Includes advice from future magic circle trainees
City University law student Christianah Babajide interviewed recent law graduates from across the country to dig out their top survival tips — for the LLB of course.
The newbie graduates of 2016 have some useful advice for the new batch of first year students, and were keen to reveal the things they wish they’d known when they enrolled on their law degrees.
Here are Legal Cheek’s top nine:
Chloe Harrison, University of Manchester
If legal practice is where you want to be — don’t give up. When you graduate you realise the strength of the competition in the legal world. If the law is the career you want to be part of you have to be prepared to take the knocks/failures and be ready to get further experience to strengthen your position when applying. Try not to compare yourself to your peers, everyone progresses at different rates and getting a training contract right out of university is actually not that common!
Zain Ismail, City University
My key survival tip for first year students just starting at university is this: get yourself out there! Speak to and get to know your tutors, lecturers and fellow students. There is a lot of reading, writing and sleeping to be done so please push out of your comfort zone(s) and always look to improve. One thing I have learned over the years is to make the most of your contacts, whether this be with studies or projects, so I would encourage you to do the same!
Annie Rockson, University of Surrey
If you want to excel in your law degree, it is important to have good time management. Time management and being organised are both essential because a law degree workload is intense. You will be given a lot of homework, asked to do six hours of reading and expected to also prepare for your tutorials the next day. All of this will seem impossible at first, but soon enough, you will get yourself organised and even be juggle your social life at the same time!
Patrick Long, Lancaster University
When looking for legal experience, use your initiative. Write to barristers’ chambers and drop your CVs at high street firms. Every opportunity that presents itself, apply for it because if you do not, then someone else will! Even if it seems insignificant, every experience you can learn from and more importantly, add it to your CV!
James Wills, University of Exeter
Knuckle down on your academics. Stay focused, get a study plan, attend all your lectures, tutorials, read journal articles, speak to your personal tutors and make sure you do formative assessments — they may not count toward your overall grade but they are useful.
Kseniia Samokhina, City University
First year grades do matter even if they don’t count towards your degree. They will be taken into consideration when you will be applying for a vacation scheme or mini-pupillage — there should be stability in your grades. Get involved in the work of the Law Society or any other social clubs, since it will help you to build a network of great people, develop your skills and make friends. Make the most of every opportunity!
Viscant Igbinomwanhia, Birmingham City University
Think bigger. Don’t just target legal experience, widen your portfolio of experience. It’s all about your connections. Keep a record of all the people you have met in the legal profession. They may be of help later. Gain responsibility and fast! Persevere. Getting a training contract is difficult and the more you work hard the more law firms will see that you are the suitable candidate for a training contract!
Mahmuda Firdawsi, City University
Get to know as many people as you can from day one. Your classmates, lecturers, tutors, students in the years above and even students in other courses. Networking and holding a conversation with strangers is a skill that will be very beneficial in the long run so attend professional/social events. Stay on top of the workload. Before you know it, exam season will be around the corner.
Calvin Ebun-Amu, Kingston University
Get legal work experience and get involved in extra-curricular activities. You can boost your CV by learning a new language. Law firms want to see your non-law related activities so find a hobby you are passionate about. Make sure you network with legal professionals — these are the people that can offer you legal work experience.