Law fairs can seem like quite a daunting event. You are after all speaking to potential employers about your dream job, and we all know that first impressions matter. Given that we are now on the other side of the stand, we have put together our top tips on how to approach law fairs, and what you should be looking to get out of them (not just a free water bottle!)
What should you do: This seems obvious, but is often overlooked. No law firm is expecting you to walk up to them and know everything about them, but think carefully about what you want to ask. "What do you do?" is never the best opening line! A key bit of advice that we have always passed on to those applying, is to not ask a question you could find out on our website, and instead to ask about things that you are genuinely interested in. Standout students are those who have actively sought us out having taken the time to research firms of interest, and not just stumbled across us in search of some free merchandise!
A few conversation starters:
Questions to avoid:
What you can gain: You will hopefully come away armed with knowledge for application drafting. You may have some names of individuals you have spoken with that you can reference and you may have picked up a few buzzwords (such as skills or characteristics that the firm looks for in potential trainees) to drop into your application/to utilise at the later assessment stages.
What should you do: You will get the most out of a law fair if you see them as a networking opportunity, plan what you want to find out and seize the opportunity! Also, on a side note, if you look the part you often feel the part, so be ready to put forward the best version of yourself.
What you can gain: You will be expected to get involved in a lot of networking during your LPC and training contract, so this is a great chance to practice and hone your skills. The process of applying for training contracts is only getting more competitive, and most applicants won't have much experience in interviewing, attending assessment centres etc beforehand – so make the most of the opportunity.
What should you do: Students often get excited when they know that a partner or the head of recruitment are attending the fair with firms that they are interested in. It goes without saying that these are important people, but please use the trainee resource. We will happily talk to you about our daily tasks, the level of responsibility that we are given, and the types of events that we get to attend – remember we were once where you are and can give you a real insight into what you could be doing in a few years' time.
What you can gain: We really do remember people that impress us, and it's a great starting point for a further conversation if you come along to an open evening or assessment day.
Remember, law fairs are your chance to take an important first step in your career journey, so be confident and make the most of the opportunity.