Katie Rich outlines her top ten points for students to consider:

  1. If you’re not planning on taking a gap year, apply for training contracts after receiving your penultimate year exam results. If you get a training contract with a firm that offers sponsorship, the LPC will cost you a lot less.
  2. Apply for vacation schemes at the beginning of your second year. The deadline is usually sometime in January.
  3. Think about which areas of law interest you when choosing optional subjects. If you’re thinking of applying for training contracts in the city or magic circle, its probably wise to choose corporate or commercial subjects to demonstrate your commitment to these areas from an early stage.
  4. If you’re thinking of funding the LPC yourself without a training contract, bear in mind that there are masses of LPC graduates competing with undergraduate students, mature students and people changing careers when it comes to obtaining a training contract. As if this wasn’t scary enough, a significant number of training contracts (especially in the city/magic circle) are snapped up by law undergraduates at the beginning of their final year and those who took part in vacation schemes.
  5. Be honest with yourself and make sure you’ll completely committed to a career as a solicitor before you undertake the LPC, especially if you’re not being sponsored.
  6. Whilst at university (preferably in the years before you apply for training contracts) enhance your CV, for example with a position of responsibility of some kind, part time work, sport or voluntary work to demonstrate teamwork and problem solving skills. These are two of the main skills firms are looking for evidence of in your application.
  7. Although this seems obvious, study hard for your exams. Without a 2:1 you’ll find it even more difficult to obtain a training contract.
  8. Undertake relevant work experience to demonstrate your commitment to a legal career. It doesn’t have to be a formal vacation placement and it gives you something to talk about in applications for training contracts or at interviews.
  9. Remember that the academic study of law is very different from law in practice. Just because you liked/hated a subject at university doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the same in practice.
  10. Lastly, know what you want from your career. For example, not everyone is cut out to be a corporate lawyer (although all the publicity would have us believe otherwise). Think about what interests you and try not to feel you have to do as your peers do. Think about what kind of work and lifestyle will make you happy.