Now you’ve done the hard work of securing your placement, whether that be an insight day or a week-long programme, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are fully prepared.
See below our top tips to make the most of the opportunity:
Get yourself in the mind-set
During this 'new normal' where the majority of the activities are held online, it's quite easy to fall out of a routine. Before you start your scheme, it's a good idea to start thinking about how you can ensure you are most efficient and productive when participating (yes, even if you're just turning up online)! Make sure you're in a regular schedule, having enough sleep, preparing food in advance and thinking about what clothes you're going to wear. This will help to build up your “work mode” psyche so that you're focussed, productive and disciplined throughout the week. Just because you’re working from home, it doesn’t mean that the ‘work rules’ doesn’t apply.
Do your research
You will get plenty of opportunity to ask questions of various employees and partners at the firm. You'll get more out of this if you have done some research beforehand - look at the social media channels for current news, careers pages and other sections of the website you're interested in learning more about. Are you staying up to date with the news and regularly read relevant business-related stories? Make sure your sources are as varied as possible which will allow for more insightful follow-up questions and discussions. This will certainly leave a good impression as you will come across as engaged and informed.
Check your environment
As you'll likely be logging in from home, consider what and where is the best environment with the least disruptions. Notify anyone in your household when you'll be 'logged-on' to minimise any distractions, including turning off your phone and preparing your work station with a notepad, pen, and anything else you think you’ll need. Check your tech in advance to see whether it's functioning beforehand, as that's often a common issue and can be disruptive to the session (this includes facilitators too)! If you happen to have bad connectivity - feel free to email the lead programme co-ordinator and they can send any slides or other materials in advance. Most video platforms will have a dial-in option too on your mobile which can be very helpful if the internet fails.
Think about what you want out of it
We want this experience to be beneficial to you. Read up, watch or engage with any material or sessions that we provide you with so you can fully absorb the content. We can't force anyone to turn on their cameras or speak up, but it will provide a better experience and engagement for you and everyone else in the webinar. Have you asked the questions that you want to be answered? It's likely that other students in the sessions would probably find it useful too, and there is no such thing as a stupid question. If you don’t get the opportunity to ask a question during the webinar, you can always follow-up with an email. Remember that these schemes are designed to help you have a broader understanding of how a law firm works and help you to make informed choices. The opportunities and tasks are there to get you to have an understanding of the world of work.
Make time for reflection
This experience will be very useful to add to your CV - we recommend you find the time after each day to fully reflect on what you learned and how you have developed. It is important to take notes throughout so you don't forget what activities you engaged with or what key information you took away. When you start applying for future opportunities, you would be thankful you did this when your recollection is fresh! Lastly, reflect on the whole experience - do you see yourself working in a law firm? Although the tasks do not wholly mimic what you'll be doing once you're on the job, it should give you a flavour of what the role entails and the culture. If it did confirm your career choice - great, but if not, we hope that it has allowed you to take a further step in finding the career path that is right for you.
Finally, be proud that you secured a placement as these opportunities are very competitive. And remember – if you’re nervous or worried about any of the above, the firm you have applied to will be on hand to answer your questions, so please do ask!