By Alyssa Zaman, City University, Alumnus of The Young Lawyer Programme 2016
Time and time again you will be asked where you see yourself in 5-7 years-depending on your current stage in the education system. Once you get to university it seems almost taboo to not know what route you want to take after you qualify. Nevertheless, the services available at your university will undoubtedly assist you in your decision.
The most important thing to remember is that not only will you have to sell yourself to law firms or to barrister chambers, providing one of these is your preferred route, but the employers need to sell themselves to you. At the end of the day a law firm is a business. You are an asset to the business, so ask yourself this: what are you going to provide as an addition to the firm? Why should they hire you? Ultimately, is this particular area of the law right for you?
There is no doubt that it will be challenging to even get your foot in the door of a firm or a chamber, but remember this: if you are willing to commit 110% to a career, which in turn will provide you with rewards and immunities, then law is the way to go. Undeniably law is difficult, but the looks you will get from people when they ask you what your job is, or what your degree is, will make you feel like a superhero. Therefore, it is vital to conduct thorough research because you will be dedicating so much of your life to this career. It all starts from your education; it is important to ensure you put in hard work to achieve the best grades you can. But employers aren’t just looking for someone with fantastic academic ability, you must be a well-rounded person.
Whether you want to work for a niche firm in a regional city, working for a Magic Circle firm, or a chamber in London, it’s not just about what the firm is looking for. It is more about whether you can see yourself working there. The best way to do this, along with researching the firms or chambers; is to commit yourself to applying and attending open days, seminars held by the respective firms and chambers, attending university career events and going to events held externally. This way you will have the opportunity to not only experience first-hand what the firms are willing to invest in, but whom they are going to invest in. The websites and guides will sell the employers to the best of their abilities, but being able to converse with a lawyer face-to-face, is the best thing you can do to make an informed decision about your future.
At the end of the day, it is important to never doubt yourself. But as long as you remind yourself why you want to have a career in the law, you will go far and you will succeed.