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making the most of law fairs...

13 February 2012

The end of 2011 saw many of the law fairs taking place at universities across the country. Browne Jacobson attended a number of law fairs, including those held at Leicester University, Birmingham University, Nottingham University, Warwick University and Sheffield University.

I attended the Leicester law fair, along with fellow trainee, William Reynolds. It seemed like it was only yesterday that I myself attended the Birmingham University law fair whilst I was studying, and reminded me of how useful law fairs are, and how important it is to make the most of them. Law fairs give students an opportunity to speak directly to trainees at different firms, and provide the chance to get a real feel for the firm first hand, and to ask any questions you may have. Here are some tips as to how to make the most of attending law fairs:-

  1. Preparation – most universities know in advance which firms will be attending their law fair, so try to find out if there are any firms you are interested in speaking to. Think of some questions to ask, and not just questions such as ‘what do you do?’ and ‘tell me about your firm’ – show that you know a little about the firm, as you will find this way you can have a focussed and informative conversation which will be of use to you come application time
  2. Presentation – First impressions count! The law fairs can be an opportunity to make a good impression on a firm you apply to, and those people you meet at the law fair may well be there at assessment days – if you look and act the part, you may well be remembered by those who attended the law fair! This does not mean you have to wear a suit, but make an effort to dress smartly, as you never know who you may meet!
  3. Planning – If there is a specific area of law which interests you, but lots of firms who work in this area, make sure that you plan your time properly so as to get around all of the firms you want to speak to. Give around 10 minutes to each firm, but make the most of them!
  4. Be an individual – Although it can be daunting speaking to strangers at law fairs, you are more likely to get the most out of the experience if you go around by yourself. Those that go around in small groups don’t always get to speak to the firms they want to, or do not have the chance to ask the questions they want to. Going it alone is good preparation for your career ahead, where networking with potential clients is key!
  5. Make notes – Most firms will hand out an information pack (although we hand out postcards with website addresses as an eco-friendly alternative), so if there was something that was said which caught your attention, or someone in particular you spoke to who impressed you, make a note of this. After speaking to lots of different firms, it can be difficult to remember who said what, so making brief notes when you have spoken to someone can be invaluable later on
  6. Follow up – If there was something you liked in particular about a firm from speaking to those at the law fair, make sure you follow this up, this could be via email after the fair, or during the application and assessment process

You can get some useful advice and information at law fairs, so make the most of them, especially when it comes to applying for training contracts!