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Careers Newsletter Bloomsbury

June 2012 edition

Careers Centre opening times:

Welcome to the June edition

Monday 9am - 7pm Tuesday 9am – 7pm Wednesday 9am – 7pm Thursday 9am – 7pm Friday 9am – 5pm Saturday 10am – 5pm Sunday 10am – 5pm (teaching weekends only) To make an appointment, call in at the office on the ground floor of Ridgmount Building, or call us on 01483 216681

If you are just about to complete your LPC or BPTC and you haven’t yet secured a training contract or pupillage, our Leavers’ Fair on Friday 22nd June will be an important event for you. Please mark the date in your calendars. The Fair aims to introduce those students who are finishing their courses to a wide range of employers who have short-term opportunities, voluntary work or long-term career options for law students. Among other organisations, there will be several paralegal recruitment agencies present. We are aware that over the next few weeks, the approaching exams are likely to be the sole focus of your attention. However, it is imperative not to lose sight of your next steps and your future career. You will get a great opportunity to talk to a broad variety of practitioners by attending the Fair. All of us in the Careers Service at Bloomsbury wish you every success with your exams and your job search! Candy Kobrak Editor

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Do you have an interview lined up? Did you know that the Careers Service has a Buddy Scheme? Buddies are located at various firms and chambers, including: • Allen & Overy LLP • Clyde & Co LLP • CMS Cameron McKenna LLP • Farrer & Co LLP • GLS • Harcourt Chambers • Lewis Silkin LLP • Linklaters LLP • Mayer Brown International LLP • Osbornes Solicitors LLP • Sidley Austin LLP • Simmons & Simmons LLP • Westgate Chambers Buddies are current and ex-students who are either at the firm/set or have been successful in securing a training contract/pupillage with the firm/set, and have volunteered to help YOU with your next interview. Ask for details at the Careers Service. Had a successful interview?? Ask at the Careers Service about how YOU can become a Buddy and help other students!

Eight tips on how to behave during your vacation scheme 1) Be professional: Remember that your personality, skills, ability to interact with people and enthusiasm for the work will be constantly on display and scrutinised by the HR department, associates and partners. The vacation scheme is essentially one very, very long job interview. Even when you’re having a casual lunch with trainees or associates, remember not to say anything that you wouldn’t say during an interview. Turn up on time or early for work. Switch off your mobile phone while you’re at work, or keep it on silent (non-vibrating) mode. Don’t make critical comments about anybody or anything in the office. Don’t send personal emails from your work email address. Avoid making personal phone calls, checking your personal email or Facebook or Twitter when you’re in the office. Check the firm’s dress code beforehand and dress appropriately. Ensure that your lunch breaks are not too long. 2) Observe and take everything in: This is the time for you to find out the reality of the firm’s culture, how the employees interact with each other, the differences between working in the various departments, whether these fit in with your expectations and ambitions, and whether you have the stamina and temperament to work the hours that you see the trainees work, and at the pace that they work. Be aware of the social structures, the hierarchies, the similarities between the personalities of the employees, and the core values that people share (if any). 3) Be enthusiastic and ask questions: Show an active interest in the work that you’re instructed to do, and an active interest in the work other employees are doing. Read up on the different practice areas you will be experiencing beforehand, so that you’re able to ask your supervisors intelligent questions about their work. The road to success is paved with intelligent and enthusiastic questions, but remember not to ask so many to the point of becoming irritating. Make sure your questions are well-timed. In addition, if you’re unsure about any of the assignment instructions that you have been given, definitely ask as soon as possible. It will be much better to clarify things at the outset than to guess by yourself. Any trainee / associate / partner would prefer to take the time to re-explain a task to you, rather than to have to pick up the pieces later on. 4) Show your initiative and seek out work: Be a good colleague – remember that the people that you are working for may be under a great deal of pressure. Try to relieve their work burden. In addition, seeking out work displays your enthusiasm, your diligence, and your willingness to commit your time and energy to the firm. It will also help raise your profile above other vac schemers who may simply carry out the assignments they are given and sit around doing nothing in between. Be aware, though, that seeking out work without becoming a nuisance to trainees and associates (and partners) is a fine line to walk. It is important to strike the right balance – every law student at the end of the summer has a story about other over-enthusiastic (and annoying) vac schemers! 5) Build good relationships: Be friendly and receptive to everyone, from partners to the security staff, but do not be pushy. Remember to be a team player. Don’t be over-assertive, but definitely don’t fade into the background either. During team exercises or group meetings, you should ask your peers what their opinions are. In addition, many people fail to maximise the networking possibilities provided by a vacation scheme. Even if you do not actually intend to apply for a training contract with that firm, you never know when someone you have met / worked for on your vacation scheme may be useful to you in your future employment search, so you should cultivate good working and social relationships with everyone you come into contact with. page 2 of 6

Popular legal vacancy websites

6) Keep track of the tasks you’ve done and the skills you’ve gained:

This is because you’ll need to give concrete examples of your responsibilities and the skills learned in your future training contract application with this firm, or with other firms. Each of your skills will need to be illustrated with practical examples. Your vacation scheme will have provided you with many examples, but if you don’t record them in detail at the time, you won’t be able to remember sufficient information about them in order to sell yourself to employers on future application forms or at future interviews.

7) Participate in the social activities:

It is important to participate in the social activities that the firm organises, including the after-hours gatherings. Turning down invitations to social events will make the firm feel that you lack strong interaction skills, and therefore will not be able to fit into their culture or build good relationships with clients. Secondly, during all social gatherings, always be conscious of your alcohol consumption. If you know that you tend to get drunk after a small amount of alcohol, it is better to play it safe and stick to non-alcoholic drinks all night. Even while drinking, all employees are still judging you from a recruitment point of view, so your behaviour needs to be beyond reproach.

8) Be yourself:

Besides making sure that you fit into the firm and have a smooth and successful vacation scheme, you also need to find out if the firm fits in with YOUR personality, expectations and ambitions. Thus, you should try to be yourself as much as possible. If you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, you’ve missed an opportunity to find out if that firm is a good fit for you; and furthermore, you will not be able to maintain that pretence if you do end up working for that firm for several years.

Legal internships Following on from last month’s article on the benefits of paralegal work, it’s important to stress that in this competitive market not everyone will gain paralegal work straight away. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic - there’s still plenty of useful experience that you can gain over the summer. FindLaw: Extensive employer directory of several hundred law firms. Also has some useful information on internships. Search the job vacancies for ‘interns’. The Law Society: It is also possible to search for internship opportunities via The Law Society, International practice section. On the left take the ‘Opportunities’ link listed in the International Division section, and internship and pro bono opportunities are listed under the Pro Bono section. The American Society of International Law: ( Has a detailed list of internships available and pro bono opportunities. Choose the Resources tab, then take the career development link on the left, then take the link ‘International Law Career Links’ on the right. Human Rights Lawyers Association: ( Offers bursaries to do human rights internships. Usually around 5 internships are awarded at around £1,000. The work must be relevant to Human Rights in the UK, but the work need not be carried out in the UK as long as the relevance can be justified.

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Why are internships abroad useful? An internship abroad can give you experience of what it’s like to work in another country and culture. It also can provide experience of another jurisdiction, depending on what your long term career goals are. Employers often recognise the value of work experience gained abroad as this can show pro-activity, commitment and drive. However, you must consider if an internship abroad would appeal to the type of firm or organisation that you’re targeting in the long term. Think about the skills required for paralegal work, and try and identify those which you may need to improve and provide stronger evidence for on your CV when considering possible internships/ opportunities. If you can find paid work, then so much the better, but there are lots of opportunities to undertake internships abroad on a voluntary basis. Experience abroad can also help your applications stand out, particularly if you are seeking work with a firm that deals with international work. Undertaking legal work abroad will not only improve your legal skills such as drafting, proof-reading and researching, but will also give you an insight into culture and businesses practices employed by international firms, which can help you to stand out in your applications and at interview. If you undertake paralegal work abroad, paralegal agencies in the UK may be more willing to sign you up, especially if they have lots of international firms, and firms that use language skills, on their books.

Fee-paying websites offering internships Global Experiences: This website offers internships in several countries around the world. Global Experiences charges students for these placements, but provides language courses if necessary. A wide variety of internships in many sectors are offered. Best Programs: This website offers internships in Europe and in several sectors, including law. Internships are relatively expensive depending on city and duration, but last for a minimum of two months. A language course is also included. Travellers Worldwide: The company offers work experience and internships in several sectors. For the legal sector, destinations are available in Australia, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Argentina. Internships can range from four to twelve weeks. Projects Abroad: Law and human rights voluntary work placements offered to legal practitioners, those who have completed the conversion course, and law graduates. Placements offered in Cambodia, Ghana, Mongolia, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Togo.

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Quick Queries: Normally Monday to Friday at either: 11am -12pm and 2pm – 3pm or 12pm -1pm and 3pm – 4pm (these times are subject to change, so please check on Elite or with the Careers Service if Quick Queries are running, and for the times that day) Quick Queries are short 10-15 minute drop-in sessions for you to speak with a Careers Adviser face-to-face or by telephone. Sign up for these 5 minutes before the start of the session (unless you are a part-time student – in this case you can just sign up on the day). These are provided on a first-come first-served basis. Don’t forget that each term you can have up to: 3 x long appointments 3 x Interview Preparation sessions 3 x Confidence Coaching sessions And each week: 1 x Quick Query appointment 1 x email check

Case study Brogan Solomon: LPC Student 2011-12 Training contract with Prettys When starting the LPC at the College of Law, I was in a state of despair about not yet having secured a training contract. Fees were weighing heavy on my mind and feelings of panic were setting in. However I decided that I just had to keep at it and this time I would be as prepared as early as possible in doing my applications. I made an appointment with the careers service to start by getting my CV in really good form. Although I had help with this at university, I found the service here much more useful. The people in careers are focused on the legal profession and knew exactly what my CV needed. I used a quick 15 minute session to get advice and templates, and then built upon this at home. Once I had finished, I emailed it back to careers who suggested some final tidying up points, and I was ready to go. My next step (October 2011) was to book a longer session on applications. However, I was lucky enough to be invited to an assessment day for a training contract which I had applied for earlier in the year. As we had passed the September 1st announcement day, I hadn’t expected to hear anything. Part of my assessment was an interview and a presentation. I booked two longer sessions with careers to help prepare for this. My mock interview was great help. My adviser asked if I wanted to do a start to finish interview, or questions and feedback. I opted for the questions and feed back. We even discussed any common or tricky questions that I really wanted help with. My presentation meeting was a chance for me to present to the adviser and get feedback on my style. The points were so useful and I felt more confident as a result. I was successful at the assessment centre and have been offered a 2013 training contract with the firm. I would have not been able to do it without the help of the advisers. Although my CV hasn’t been used, I know it will be a great help this summer when looking for paralegal work. Since securing a training contract, the careers service has still been invaluable. They email over details on workshops for people with training contracts who need further advice, and have often emailed me opportunities forwarded to them for paralegal work. My best advice to present/future students would be to stay positive, keep persevering and believe you can do it. Get organised straight away and really go for it. The careers department are invaluable so make sure you use them! Good luck!

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June’s careers workshops and employer talks Please go to Elite > My Employability > Central Careers Information > London Bloomsbury > Events & Sign-up for further details and instructions on how to sign up. Event Type

Name of Event

Fri 22nd

External Workshop

Craig Robinson: How to make a positive and lasting impact developing your commercial/ 10.00 - 12.00 professional awareness as an employee

Fri 22nd


Leavers’ Fair 2012


13.00 - 16.00

The College of Law 14 Store Street, London, WC1E 7DE. 0800 289997 page 6 of 6



Careers Newsletter - June 2012  

College of Law Careers Service Bloomsbury Newsletter - June 2012