Covid-19: the impact on legal work experience and employment

2020-05-18T15:35:05+00:00May 18th, 2020|Employability, Student Support|

What do we know?

Solicitors:

Unfortunately, many Spring vacation schemes and open days have been affected.  We are now just starting to hear news of the summer schemes; some are moving to shorter, virtual offerings and others are being cancelled. In some cases students are being offered Training Contracts and others offered alternative later vacation schemes.   Useful lists of those who have so far confirmed the delay or cancellation of their schemes may be found on lawcareers.net and Chambers Student or on NextStepSupport

We are still to hear any concrete news on plans for the next recruitment cycle (2020/21).  It is still very early days for these decisions although the long lead times associated with hiring solicitors may allow for some flexibility in this sector.  From reading the news, it looks like many firms are taking action, much as they did in the last recession to maintain their businesses, such as delaying/cancelling partner dividends, reducing the working hours of associates and redeploying/furloughing other staff. We hope this will mean that they are in a better position to hire in due course but it will no doubt be a mixed picture when things resume, dependent on so many factors.

You may find the SRA’s Covid-19 Q&A section useful

Barristers:

With regard to the Bar, you may well have seen this report by the Bar Council.  It looks likely that we will see an impact on numbers of pupillages, especially in some areas of the Bar. Mini pupillages have already been affected.

Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) are aware that there may be students intending to start the Bar course this autumn who have not completed the BCAT.   They are working to find a solution to enable these students to commence their training and will publish details on their website once available.

You might find the Bar Standards Board’s and the Bar Council’s Q&A pages and the section on the Pupillage Gateway helpful.

How can we help students in the meantime?

Virtual work experience

In the face of cancelled work experience, many students may turn online to boost their employability and so here is a quick reminder about InsideSherpa, a free platform hosting virtual work experience for students from law firms including Pinsent Masons, White & Case, Baker McKenzie and Linklaters.    It originates in Australia but is open to and potentially valuable to all.

Building skills through online courses

As well as anything your university has to offer, the Government has also just launched this new platform for free digital skills courses https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/

You are also probably aware of Future Learn which has a variety of free courses

Volunteering /Temporary jobs/Remote Internships

The skills required for law can be built up beyond the legal sector!  It is highly likely that future employers will recognise that their incoming graduates may well have taken up jobs or done volunteering in places they might not have planned!

Researching the profession

There are very many sites that exist to help students navigate the legal sector – but this is a quick reminder that the LPTG have developed a  Resources Guide for Law:

LPTG Legal Resources Guide

In addition,  legal blogs offer a useful way to develop useful insights into the professions, and Chambers Student maintain a comprehensive list here.

Post Grad Professional Legal Study

If students are considering law as a career they can take part in a virtual open day with the School on 10 June about the Legal Practice Course (LPC).  Booking link here.

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 

There is also a useful summary of the Bar courses in April’s edition of Counsel

Application and Interview Support: As well as receiving application and interview support from  Careers Advisers students can also take advantage of free online sessions and videos provided by law firms and education providers.  Here are some examples from Shearman and Sterling’s blog and “Whiteboard Wednesday” videos but there are many others.