Careers and Employability Introduction 2020-21
This year we have an expanded team working on our employability work to develop the support that we can offer you in relation to criminology and law related careers, professional skills and mooting. You will hear more on this throughout the year.
Students can apply to volunteer with the School’s pro bono schemes Freelaw, MJRC and CommLaw and our external partner organisations at the beginning this semester. Our Freelaw and CommLaw clinics will run virtually this year to protect our students, clients and staff’s safety. This year we are asking all students who wish to volunteer in our Freelaw, MJRC and CommLaw schemes, including students who have volunteered in previous years (other than student managers and group leaders) to apply or re-apply. Students can only volunteer with one scheme at a time. You will receive an email on Wednesday 30 September with details of the schemes and how to apply.
Applications open on Wednesday and close on Thursday 8 September at midday.
Other volunteering opportunities and part time jobs
The University Part Time Jobs and Volunteering Fair is running online now. More details here.
Remote Paralegal work: the F-Lex website puts students in touch with paid paralegal opportunities.
Mooting and Negotiation
Mooting and negotiation competitions give valuable experience to any student so consider the ESI mooting certificate and student society moots and negotiation competitions (more details).
A good place to start is the Careers Service ‘Need a starting point?‘ page You can get one to one careers support from the Careers Service and they can help you research your options with a law degree, carry out an audit of your skills and help you prepare a CV and application form answers. You can access all their services from here.
If you would like to consider roles related to your degree, take a look at these options. You’re not limited to law or criminology degree-related careers; you can look more broadly at understanding your ambitions and your options by taking the Choose a Career You Love short online course. It’s a good idea to take the course before making an appointment with a University Careers Adviser so you can discuss your results and next steps.
Prospects is a website with a wealth of job information, where you can view job profiles for various different jobs to find out more about what they involve.
We also recommend that you look at the Careers sections on the Law School Community website to give you some ideas about what to do and when. Do take a look.
Find out more about opportunities
Find the Law School’s Employability and Skills Initiative events on the Law Community website.
The Faculty of Social Sciences is running a new career insight series giving you a chance to meet employers from a whole host of sectors including international development, frontline workers including those in the criminal justices system, and government and consultancy.
The University-wide Fairs week will take place in the week starting 26 October and there will be the chance to connect remotely with a wide range of law, criminal justice and non-law employers. Take advantage of the online format to explore widely.
You can apply for e-mentoring by a professional working in a career that is of interest. Applications are now open and close on 16 October.
These starting points can help you to reflect on your options, make individual choices and plan what you need to do to put that into action.
- Whether you want to work internationally or are an international student looking for work in the UK you’ll find information on international options on the University’s Career Service pages.
- Many UK-based graduate employers, including law firms, are international organisations so one way to work internationally is to train in the UK with a view to gaining international experience with that employer.
- International organisations offering internships that are of particular interest to law and criminology students include:
- Other international agencies such as Interpol.
- Global Careers Programme – The University has a programme of employers from around the world, delivering a mixture of workshops and presentations throughout the academic year. Sign up here.
- Going Global includes guides for 40 countries around the world.
Build your experience
There is information on career pathways on the Law Student Community website. Some initial tips:
First year: Your focus this year is on exploring your options. Many employers in a variety of sectors offer insight experiences which you can apply for later this year. For legal careers, Allaboutlaw is a good place to start – here.
Penultimate year onwards (L2 and FY UG, MA Law, LLM):
- We strongly encourage you to apply this Autumn for work experience if there is a career path that might interest you. Sometimes students regret that they didn’t apply during their time at University because they weren’t sure what they wanted to do. This is exactly what these schemes can help you to decide – if you are unsure you can see them as part of your exploration that we hope you will continue this year.
- The Careers Service has opportunities to connect with a vast range of employers from many different sectors. You can sign up for their events here.
- For those of you who are considering the legal profession, many solicitors firms recruit for vacation schemes and training contracts from year two onwards. Some of these opportunities at the larger firms are open now and others will open up this Autumn. Even with the disruptions of the last summer, they remain the most popular way for many law firms to recruit, even if they do take place online. You can find information on deadlines here. Amongst the larger firms, recruitment is for 2023, though some firms will recruit nearer to the time. The long lead times associated with hiring solicitors may allow for some flexibility in this sector despite current economic uncertainty though this will be dependent on many factors. In the ESI Law Employer Engagement certificate there will be opportunities to hear from and network with law firms.
- Those of you interested in the Bar can apply for mini pupillages and, from your final year, for the graduate pupillage training. We have advice on the Bar in our ESI mooting certificate. If you are a final year UG, MA Law or LLM student interested in the Bar see the further information below for actions to take this year.
Final year students
There are a number of actions you should consider taking this year:
- Careers Service and University events for final year students – whatever your ambitions keep an eye out for extra events and support aimed at final year students during this year. We will also publicise them in the employability newsletter.
- Boardroom Masterclass Series: This year our alumni team held a Boardroom Masterclass series with our global alumni to inspire graduating students and this is anticipated to run again in summer 2021. In the meantime this year’s events are available here and in the WINS/CLASS Blackboard pages.
- Further study – Consider further study such as a Masters degree. Check out the Masters courses offered by the School of Law and the wider University. You may wish to consider Masters study abroad, in order to obtain international experience.
- Future Solicitor – Apply for the Legal Practice Course or new Solicitors Qualifying Exam. The School has a new partnership with the University of Law for the provision of professional postgraduate study and you can book an open day here. There is more information about the routes to qualification here. Application for all providers is via the lawcabs website.
- Future Barrister – those of you who are interested in the Bar have a busy year ahead with applications for Inn of Court Scholarships (deadline is the first Friday in November and we have an ESI Mooting Certificate event on 14 October), covering bar training courses, pupillage, Inn of Court membership and the BCAT. We are lucky to have dedicated alumni who give support later in the year to our students going for scholarship interviews.
- Apply for an Inn of Court Scholarship for the Bar Training Course (BTC). The closing date is the first Friday in November each year but different Inns have different time deadlines so watch this carefully. The Inns have large scholarship funds and our students have done well in achieving scholarships so do apply. See websites for Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple
- Apply for a Bar training course (BTC). Places are competitive and it is vital that you apply in good time in the Autumn. There is no longer a single, centralised form of application as there has been in previous years. Information is available on the Bar Standards Board’s website (link) including a list of approved course providers (here). There are now a variety of approved courses on offer ranging from what would have been a traditional classroom based taught course to part online and part classroom based teaching, though, as with all education provision, the mode of delivery will now need to comply with applicable government health requirements. More details about the courses offered by these organisations, including how to apply, can be found on their websites. The Inns of Court School of Advocacy have also produced a new document to help students understand the changes happening to Bar courses and to support them in evaluating which one might suit best. You can access this document from their website. See our E&SI events on applying for the BTC and Pupillage.
- Apply for pupillage. Pupillage is the term for the one year workplace training that you require in order to practise as a barrister. All pupillage vacancies must be listed on the Pupillage Gateway but chambers can choose to recruit on or off Gateway. You can apply to as many chambers who recruit off-Gateway as you wish but may only apply to up to 20 chambers through the Gateway. The Gateway opens for browsing from November and for applications from the following January – February. Check the dates carefully as no extensions are permitted.
- Apply to become a member of an Inn of Court. You MUST be a member of an Inn in order to take up your place on the BTC. Applications should be submitted to the Inn that you have chosen at least 12 weeks prior to the commencement of the vocational part of your Bar Course. Applicants declaring convictions, cautions, academic or professional misconduct or bankruptcy/individual voluntary agreements/director’s disqualification should apply well in advance of this deadline to ensure they have enough time to get through the admissions process.
- Take the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT). You MUST pass this in order to take up your place on the BTC. Places for the test tend to book up quickly so book early. At present exams are taking place online rather than in a Pearson VUE test centre (details).
Building skills through online courses
The Government has launched a new platform for free digital skills courses https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/
You may also be aware of Future Learn that has a variety of free courses, some with the University of Sheffield.
Virtual work experience
This year, many students have turned online to boost their employability and so here is a reminder about InsideSherpa, a free platform hosting virtual work experience for students. It is open to all students. Programmes include law firms Pinsent Masons, White & Case, Baker McKenzie and Linklaters and other industries including consulting, entrepreneurship and branding. It originates in Australia but is open to and potentially valuable to all.
International law firm Clifford Chance have a vast 50 event open access offering that you can access here.
Leeds law firm Walker Morris are offering 30 minute appointments for students to speak to members of their Graduate Team. Students will be able to use the 30 minutes to ask any questions they like regarding training contracts, vacation schemes, life at the Firm, application tips etc, and their staff will help as much as they possibly can. There are various dates available during the Autumn and they are expected to book up fast; details here.
Researching the legal profession
There are very many sites that exist to help students navigate the legal sector – but this is a quick reminder that the AGCAS Legal Profession Task Group have developed a Resources Guide for Law:
In addition, legal blogs offer a useful way to develop useful insights into the professions such as Shearman and Sterling’s blog and “Whiteboard Wednesday” videos. Chambers Student maintain a comprehensive list here.
Advice and Support available to you
The University’s Careers Service offers a wealth of information and support for all students during their degree and for up to three years following graduation. They offer 1:1 careers appointments where you can receive advice and guidance on applications, interviews, assessment centres and psychometric tests. You can have draft job applications or CVs reviewed by a qualified careers adviser. All appointments are currently held online and are bookable through Career Connect.
In addition to the service offered by the Careers Service, the School’s academic lead on employability, Louise Glover, a solicitor, offers a limited number of 1:1 appointments for final year students interested in the legal professions. These are suitable only as a final step once you have already met with the Careers Service. It is in the Careers service that you will find trained careers advisers and professionals, what Louise can add on top is to review your completed application with the eye of a solicitor. Appointments can be booked here.