From virtual vac schemes to volunteering — wannabe lawyers should use their time wisely, advises LPC student Charlotte Capper
The COVID-19 outbreak has had a devastating impact on the professional and personal lives of almost everyone around the globe, and students are one of the many groups of individuals affected by the pandemic.
With vacation schemes and other work experience programmes rescheduled, postponed, and in some cases, cancelled, it’s easy to understand the frustration and deflation that is being felt by law students everywhere. Times are hard and it can be difficult to remain positive but remember, we’re all in this together and things will improve with time.
Whether you’re working, studying, furloughed or simply relaxing at home, there are so many CV-enhancing things that you can be doing at the moment. Future interviewers will want to know what you did during the COVID-19 lockdown, and this provides the perfect opportunity to improve your applications and make yourself stand out.
Here are some ideas on how you can remain productive during the COVID-19 lockdown.
1. Focus on your studies
Like many Legal Practice Course (LPC) students, I study part-time whilst maintaining a full-time job and I often find myself wishing there were more days in the week for me to complete my university work. Whether you’re on furlough leave or using what would usually be your commuting time to study instead, the COVID-19 lockdown provides the perfect opportunity to dedicate more time to your studies.
2. Learn a language
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, one of the most sought-after skills for future lawyers is languages. Speaking multiple languages will score you extra application points and now is the perfect time to learn! There are many ways you can learn a language and there are lots of useful apps including Duolingo and Babbel that are free to use. Remember, you’re never going to get this time back so you may as well spend it productively — your future self will thank you!
In times like these we rely on volunteers more than ever. Volunteering is a great way to help your local community and support those in need, whilst simultaneously improving your applications. Volunteer work really does make you stand out and now is the perfect time to dedicate your spare time to helping those in need.
There are many ways you can help your local community cope with the impact of COVID-19. These include registering as an NHS volunteer, signing up as a responder on the ‘GoodSam Responder’ app, donating to your local foodbank or even just helping someone in your community by dropping essentials off for them. If you’re unsure of how you can help your local community, try looking for group forums or community Facebook pages as there is often good information available there.
4. Temporary work
With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing many law firms to cancel their spring vacation schemes, many law students will be sat at home wondering how they can gain useful work experience. Law firms look for a variety of legal and non-legal experience, and you can pick up so many transferable skills from working in a range of sectors.
Supermarkets and pharmacies are actively looking for temporary workers and delivery drivers to help with the increased consumer demand, and this provides the perfect opportunity to keep busy and pick up some new skills that will make your future applications stand out.
5. Virtual internships
There are so many ways to gain legal work experience, and we are fortunate to be able to do this from the comfort of our own home. Many law firms are offering virtual internships via InsideSherpa, and now is the perfect time to complete these! Some of the firms offering virtual internships include Linklaters, Baker McKenzie and White & Case.
With universities suspending teaching and providing content to students online, many law students will struggle to adjust and with exams so close this can be incredibly daunting. If you’re a law graduate or you have completed your LPC, why not use this time to help someone in need by offering virtual tuition sessions or making yourself available to offer advice to students who may be struggling.
However you decide to spend the COVID-19 lockdown remember, we’re all in this together and things will improve with time. Stay safe and use this time wisely!
Charlotte Capper is a first-class law graduate from City, University of London, and is currently undertaking her LLM LPC at The University of Law, London Bloomsbury.