Megan Holden, a Solicitor in Commercial Litigation in Shoosmiths' Milton Keynes office shares her five top tips for attending law fairs
I attended my fair share of law fairs when I was at Uni, I remember gathering brochures, books, sweets and freebies. But most memorable is talking to firms who had a genuine interest in talking to me!
Law fairs are a great way to start researching lots of different firms, of all shapes and sizes under one roof, especially if you are a first-year student and just starting out.
Be sure to make the most of the opportunity, here are my top tips to get the most out of law fair season this year.
Do your research
Before you attend any law fair you must do your research. Your careers service can provide you with a list of firms attending and you should think of 5-10 that you are keen to speak with and make sure you pay them a visit. Importantly, you need to know the firms you are targeting. What work do they do? Where are they based? Do they offer client secondments? A sure fire way to offend firms is to reveal your ignorance as to who they are or what they do. In other words, don't waste hours gushing to a regional firm about your passion for working in the City or declaring your love of family law to a commercial heavyweight.
Have questions prepared
Law fairs are a two way process; they are not just for firms to get to know you but also for you to get to know them. It is a great chance to ask questions that aren't answered on their website, for instance about their training, application process or culture. Being in a position to ask informed, relevant questions is a great way to stand out as having really considered your future. A note to the wise: don't ask questions already covered on the website.
Show your personality
Firms want to know who you are and how you will fit in with their culture. Law fairs offer a great opportunity to meet recruiters face to face and let them see the personality behind your exam results. If you have travelled to weird and wonderful places, volunteered for great causes or performed on a stage, let them know. It will give them an insight into your personality and skill sets and will improve your chances of being remembered at the end of the day.
Talk to current Trainees
Law fairs are frequently attended by current Trainees who are a great resource for a first-hand insight into a firm. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to ask the questions that aren't covered in the marketing materials and Trainees are usually more than happy to tell you the truth about their work-life balance, social events and the types of work Trainees get to experience.
Although you are not expected to follow up with every firm, if you meet someone who gave you some useful information and their contact details it is always nice to email and thank them. You may also use this opportunity to ask any follow up questions you have. If you decide to apply for a training contract it will enhance your application if you can mention who you met and what you learnt from them.