Guest blog by LSE alumna Sam Shabbir (LLB, 2011-14), trainee at Hogan Lovells:
1. Focus on quality rather than quantity of applications
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of wanting to ‘cast your net’ to every law firm – but that’s not the right approach. Trying to apply to a large number of firms increases the likelihood of applicants ‘copy and pasting’ answers, rather than ensuring that each application is professionally drafted and specific to the firms they are applying to. Targeted applications are much more convincing than generic, recycled answers and increase your chances of success.
2. Research the firms you’re applying to very well
Don’t repeat back jargon and phrases which have been used in the marketing materials distributed by the firm. Use your research when completing your application form to make sure you highlight the skills, experience and culture which the firm likes to see.
3. Make sure that you be yourself
Be yourself both on the application forms and during the interviews. Trying to conform to what you think the firm wants to hear is unoriginal and boring (and also what you think the interviewer wants to hear is often wrong). Be yourself, be original, and draw on your genuine experiences when answering questions. Make sure that you take the opportunity to sell yourself – don’t worry about ‘showing off’.
4. Talk to graduate recruitment, trainees and other representatives from firms
There are loads of events held by LSE Careers where law firms come to campus. Take advantage of them! They are a great way for you to network with the firm’s representatives; often firms will remember students that make a positive impression. It also gives you a chance to experience the firm’s culture and learn more about the different types of work they do.
5. Focus on working hard and getting the grades you need during your time at LSE
A lot of law students decide during their second and third years that they will focus entirely on vacation scheme and training contract applications. This means that their work will undoubtedly suffer. Make sure you put preparing for your classes, lectures and exams first, as poor grades will reflect badly on your application and limit your chances of success.