Professional Skills Officer:
Hello and welcome to The Grey Society's Employability Page! On this page you will find a variety of employability resources including assistance for choosing your legal route, information on upcoming events, tools to equip your CV and so much more!
Legal Careers Officer:
Here at The Grey Society we provide a diverse range of employability opportunities from CV workshops to our Annual Networking Event. We look forward to helping you build your career.
Every fortnight we make an employability newsletter just for you! These include job opportunities, webinars, commercial awareness resources, etc.
A 2 minute read to keep you up to date with the latest opportunities.
THE SOLICITOR ROUTE
THE LEGAL PRACTICE COURSE
The Legal Practice Course (LPC) is the penultimate phase for a career as a solicitor. Usually the LPC is taken after the completion of the Law degree or the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). However, some institutions such as Northumbria University integrate the LPC into the MLaw degree meaning you can complete the LPC alongside your degree. In order to begin a training contract with a firm, you must completed the LPC.
A Vacation Scheme is a period of work experience provided by Law firms to students. This usually takes place during the summer months. During this period, the student will be given the opportunity to work within the firm on real work that the particular firm conduct. This provides the student with real life experience in preparation for their Training contract. Many firms integrate a two week Vacation Scheme into their application process for a Training Contract. A Vacation scheme is available for both Law and Non-Law students at any stage of their degree.
A Training Contract is a two year placement at a firm of your choice which takes place once the LPC has been completed. This is the final stage before you can qualify as a solicitor. During the training contract the individual will work within different departments of that specific firm. This will provide them with the knowledge and insight into that department. The individual will then qualify into the department they are best suited too.
THE BARRISTER ROUTE
THE BAR PRACTICE COURSE
The Bar Practice Course is the vocational stage of training to become a barrister. You are required to pass the course in order to progress to the final stage of training; pupillage. There are several bar course providers across the country, including Northumbria University. Northumbria University offers a part-time Bar Practice Course in which you can complete alongside your MLaw studies.
Mini pupillages are experiences you can gain with barrister chambers. It consists of usually several days spent with a barrister trailing them around courts, and living the everyday life of a barrister. Mini-pupillages may be assessed, in which prepares you in good stead if you wish to further apply for pupillage with that Chamber.
Pupillage is the final step before attaining an offer of tenancy at a chambers. Usually completed in Chambers under the supervision of barristers, however, can be provided by a larger organisation such as the Crown Prosecution Service. Pupillage usually lasts 1 year divided into a non-practising period and a practising period. However, those wishing to attain pupillage must do so within 5 years of completing the Bar Course.
LAW FOR NON - LAW
A law degree can open the door for a variety of career choices which go beyond the traditional legal sector. A law degree equips you with highly demanded skills such reasoning, critical judgement, and research abilities which can serve as a solid foundation to build any career from.
Commercial awareness is the buzzword of your law degree, you will hear this all the time and it can be a frightening thought that this could make or break your career, but we are here to clear up some things about your new legal best friend.
WHAT IS COMMERCIAL AWARENESS?
Commercial awareness is the current events that impact the legal sector, this cam range from politics, business, recent changes to the law. There are so many things that influence the legal sector so it is important to understand them. For example, commercial law firms will want to pay close attention to the world of business, not only to better understand their client's needs but also comprehend developments that may impact the firm.
WHERE DO I GO TO STAY UPDATED?
There are loads of resources to stay commercially aware, you can start from reading/watching the news. However, there are so many resources tailored just for students. For example, our partners at The Student Lawyer produce a weekly commercial awareness update giving you the low down in one easy 5-minute read. But the resources do not stop there, there are loads of resources such as blogs, newsletters, Youtube, etc. So find one that fits your style.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KEEP TRACK?
Don't be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of news, you are not expected to remember everything that has happened! But our key advice is to integrate commercial awareness into your everyday life, make it into a habit. There are plenty of resources to keep up to date, so pick a style that integrates into your daily life whether it be a podcast you can listen to when walking to university or a 5-minute read you can scan through whilst in bed. Use your judgement on which events will impact the sector the most, or the area of law which you have a particular interest in.
EVERYTHING IS BORING, DO I HAVE TO?
Absolutely yes! One of the top skills employers are looking for is commercial awareness, and if you genuinely hate reading the news this may be an indication of whether law is right for you. But before you give up completely we suggest try reading other areas of law first, maybe corporate banking isn't your thing so try reading a variety of resources and you may just find your cup of tea.
TOP CV TIPS
1. TAILOR YOUR CV
Every CV should be different for every position in which you apply for. Understand what any job application is asking for and make sure your CV satisfies their requirements. For example, if a job is looking for someone with great teamwork skills, draw particular attention to your experience in working in teams.
2. LESS IS MORE
Keep it concise. Your CV should ideally be no longer than two pages of A4. As mentioned previously every CV is different and if you cannot fit all of your CV onto 2 pages then you have put irrelevant information into it.
3. REMOVE THE ERRORS
A quick way to guarantee your CV will be rejected is if it has spelling or grammatical errors. It always pays to double-check, and have a third party read through to help prevent simple errors.
5. PRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT
No one wishes to read a cluttered piece of work, in which it is difficult to read fluidly so make sure there are clear sections with appropriate font size and style, we suggest size 11-12 font, and either Arial or Times New Roman it helps to keep your CV clear to read.
6. There is no need to provide a headshot, age, date of birth.
7. HOBBIES & INTERESTS
It is important that your potential employer gets to know your personality and this is can be through your hobbies and interests. However, try to avoid using generic hobbies and explanations in order to fill the space. University has a diverse range of societies to engage with which will provide some fantastic experiences in which you can explain in your CV.
8. KEEP IT UP TO DATE
Whilst we are very happy that you are proud of your Year 7 school council position, employers won’t necessarily see it as relevant. We suggest sticking to a 5-year rule when it comes to achievements, it helps potential employers understand the current you much better.
9. INCLUDE DATES
When listing achievements, employment history, work experience etc provide dates in which they happened, we suggest only using the month and the year. Also, place them in reverse chronological order.
4. PERSONAL PROFILES AREN'T ALWAYS NECESSARY
Whilst Personal profiles may feel like a nice introduction, it sometimes wastes essential space on your CV in which you can fill with much more important information about yourself. Moreover, more often than not Cover Letters serve the purpose of appropriately introducing yourself.
TOP INTERVIEW TIPS
1. KNOW YOUR INTERVIEWERS
Potential employers often disclose who will be on the interviewing panel, use this information to your advantage and research your interviewers, they may specialise in an area in which you have a particular interest in, or have recently achieved something for the business in which you can discuss in the interview.
3. DON'T BE LATE
Lateness demonstrates disorganisation and a disregard for the interviewers time. We suggest arriving at least 10 minutes early which gives you a chance to settle and gather your nerves before the interview itself.
4. TAKE YOUR CV
Taking a copy of your CV is a great way to demonstrate your organisation but also can be a fantastic resource to refer back to during the interview.
5. KEEP UP TO DATE WITH CURRENT AFFAIRS
Commercial awareness is key. Popular interview questions often include a discussion of current affairs not only of the world but also of the business you are applying for. Stay up to date with the news and use your commercial awareness resources to be well equipped for any such questions.
6. PREPARE FOR COMMON QUESTIONS
A simple google will provide you with a list of common interview questions, make sure to have these basics perfected to have a good foundation for the rest of the interview.
2. USE THE STAR APPROACH
When answering questions relating to past experience and your approach to resolve tasks.
Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.
7. DON'T BE AFRAID TO PAUSE
When we get nervous we tend to rush through things, an interview should definitely not be one of those times. Answers should be well-thought through and delivered with clarity. Do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to rephrase the question if it does not make sense, or to ask for a moment to think if you have a mind blank, it demonstrates you are conscientious of your answers and often means you deliver a much higher quality response.
8. DON'T FAIL TO FOLLOW UP
After the interview, it is common courtesy to thank the interviewers for their time, but make sure you follow up with the company expressing your gratitude. Even though you may not get the position this time they may keep you in mind for the next position if you demonstrate your passion for their business.
9. BE CONFIDENT, BE YOURSELF
You have made it this far in the application process, now the potential employer just wants to understand who YOU are. So have confidence in your abilities, you’ve got this!