Legal Eagle, Spread your Wings
Those who have chosen the legal route in life are forced to believe that your days ahead will be spent reading, advocating and working. Does a legal career mean you must stop living? Are your dreams quashed as a result of your chosen path? Catching the travel bug has become fashionable amongst today's younger generation: graduates and undergraduates are always taking time out of their busy academic schedules to backpack, travel and see the world before it is too late! Roll out a map, stick a pin in a country and off you go! But with the growing pressure of obtaining your Law degree and successfully completing the LPC or BPTC as soon as possible, it just does not seem possible to see the world. Can you really do both?
For most of those in the legal sector, you will know that your career is not just about your qualifications on paper but also your own personal experiences, both in work and in life. The more opportunities you have taken, the more you are able to sell yourself in the working world. With the competition for both training contracts and Pupillage at its fiercest, future lawyers must do everything they physically can to boost their profile.
Despite common belief that a Law degree means no social life, considering a legal career can be very exciting and busy. In fact, my experience of working amongst legal professionals has proved that you can take advantage of international opportunities all whilst dedicating yourself to your career.
Have you ever looked at your friends, travelling the world and seeing each and every corner of our wonderful planet and wondered when it will be your turn? Well now you too can do it whilst also building your profile! The continent of Asia has become famous for travelling over the years. With its exotic lifestyle, calming temples and influence of Hindiusm, Buddhism and Sikhism, Asia can offer you the break you need. Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, offers four-week internships for those interested in Human Rights. Here lays the opportunity to work alongside a respected humanitarian organisation, developing your knowledge and gaining valuable experience, all whilst seeing the beautiful Cambodia. An internship will provide you will an excellent platform for moving forward in your legal career. You will both gain an insight into global Human Rights legislation and develop an understanding of how the legal system operates on an international scale. Travelling Cambodia in your spare days whilst building your legal profile, there's one way to enjoy life. The best part? You can apply and start at your convenience with their range of flexible dates.
Amicus, another internship programme based in the US, was founded in 1992 in honour of Andrew Lee Jones, whose death was a result of injustice on his name. With their great network support, contact database and training schemes, Amicus are known for their internships, both long term and short term. "Since 1992, Amicus has sent over 300 interns to the US. Currently, the charity places 20-30 interns each year in 17 different affiliate offices across 11 key states (including Florida, Texas and Georgia). As capital defenders face severe funding constraints, Amicus interns carry out vital work that quite simply would not be done without them." Here, you provided with the opportunity to work amongst well established Attorneys in the US and Barristers from the UK where you will build your network as well as gaining valuable life skills.
Casework, internships and placements can take place in any law firm across the globe. One of the joys of the legal career is that it is a key foundation and fundamental requirement wherever you go. This means you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to your internship choice.
Gap year abroad
Similarly, there are several opportunities for you to work internationally on a gap year during your degree. Here lays the prospect for building relationships with those from different cultural backgrounds, gaining valuable life experience as well as work experience and of course, having some fun! The World of Erasmus Exchange is a programme that allows you to both travel and work. With several universities and institutions offering a year abroad with the Eramus programme, you can sign up for an international year.
The skills gained during any legal program abroad are extremely beneficial to your future as a Barrister or a Solicitor. When applying for a training contract, pupillage or even a job, your international year enables you to stand out with something different. The skills you can learn from those around you are life changing. During an international placement, you are surrounded by those from different cultures and backgrounds, you are constantly learning and developing your skill set.
Opportunities at home
Inns of Court
As part of the legal world, there are countless socialising opportunities available to you. With the variety of networking events around the UK, you are never short of something to do. When you begin the Bar Course, it is compulsory to become a member at the Inns of Court. Located in Temple, London, there are four Inns: Inner Temple, Grays Inn, Lincolns Inn and Middle Temple. All four organise networking events and dining nights regularly. You don’t need to be a barrister to attend, you can just be a legal professional interested in meeting like-minded people! Here, you will have the opportunity to network with various legal professionals, discuss political and legal issues in current affairs and potentially meet someone who can guide you into the legal world. Not the mention, you are provided a three-course meal. Fine dining, silver service, the works. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday evening!
London – Google Campus
Do you ever find yourself locked away from the world, constantly working in your room or the library? Secluding yourself away from the social environment for studying purposes is a very unhealthy way to tackle your degree. Although Law is one of the toughest degrees and you do need to be in a quiet environment, it is good to work somewhere that is full of other young people, pursuing careers and dreams. Google Campus, based in London, is a study cafe full of inspiring individuals. With the buzzing atmosphere of working around individuals that understand you, free WiFi and tons of charging spots, this cafe enables you to leave your house and meet people, all whilst doing your work. With the opportunity to be around passionate and thriving workers, a study cafe will clear your mind of any isolated thoughts and spread positivity into your life. More so, such a cafe is filled with like-minded individuals, providing the opportunity to meet someone that could change your career. It is vital to socialise in a legal career. During such situations, you could be approached for a volunteering position, an internship or even a job! By making yourself known in your area of work, you are boosting your profile and creating a drawing aura around yourself, all whilst studying hard!
A final tip for those who are prefer to stay ahead of the game. During the summer, I always found it important to prepare myself for the academic year ahead of me. As a result, I spent my summer term working on the beach. Yes, studying on the beach whilst catching some sun rays, it is possible! I spent my time at the Southend-on-Sea front and, though it was usually busy, I put my headphones on and studied hard. This enabled me to enjoy my summer and study at the same time.
Whether you study and work twenty hours a day, seven days a week or are just easily distracted, there is so much you can do that makes your educational years enjoyable and beneficial. This article has listed just some of the ways you can further yourself in your legal career whilst enjoying it and building your profile.