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Law students - using your vacations to gain experience
www.law.ed.ac.uk/careers www.careers.ed.ac.uk Law students - using your vacations to gain experience. Legal Vacation Work in Scotland Overview Legal vacation work has many advantages, from letting you put your legal theory into practice, giving you insight into different practice areas, sampling the culture of different firms, to the law firms having an extended opportunity to see you in action. Most advertised legal vacation work opportunities are aimed at penultimate year students. Opportunities available include the following: Larger Scottish law firms. Many these have structured vacation work schemes which you’ll find advertised via the Careers Service vacancy database SAGE, www.careers.ed.ac.uk/SAGE , on their websites and on notice boards by the undergraduate office (near LT 183) in the Law School. Success in one of these placements can lead to you being fast-tracked to traineeship interview and offer. Closing dates for vacation placements with larger firms tend to be at the end of Semester 1 or near the start of Semester 2. Smaller law firms may not actively recruit for vacation work. You will need to identify firms you are interested in via the websites and directories listed below, and apply speculatively via a well-targeted CV and cover letter. Legal departments. You can also target organisations with a legal department, such as the banks, company head offices etc in this way. Public sector. Work in the public sector is also possible – through the Government Legal Service for Scotland, the Crown Office and local councils. England and Wales. You may also wish to explore opportunities for legal work experience in England and Wales. However, there are not enough opportunities for legal work experience for everyone who would like it. Work experience in other areas can give you valuable experience and help to develop transferable skills. Ideas on how to explore all of the above are listed below. Researching Legal Vacation Work in Scotland Check out the information and advice on gaining experience on the Law School careers web pages www.law.ed.ac.uk/careers > gaining experience Check legal vacation work on SAGE – www.careers.ed.ac.uk/SAGE Larger Firms – check individual law firms’ websites for details and use the Scots Law Fair in the Law School in September to find out more. University of Edinburgh Careers Service, 33 Buccleuch Place 650 4670 www.careers.ed.ac.uk Smaller Firms - check the surveys of smaller firms in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness via the Careers Service website www.careers.ed.ac.uk/STUDENTS/Careers/K1.html Also use - White book (directory of Scottish law firms and organisations) and the websites below to identify firms and organisations you are interested in. o www.legal500.com/books/l500 (legal 500 online - identify the top law firms in the different areas of law, and different geographical areas) o www.lawscot.org.uk/find (Law Society of Scotland – searchable database of legal firms in Scotland) o www.slab.org.uk/getting_legal_help/findingsolicitor.html - Scottish Legal Aid Board website, for firms doing legal aid work. o www.careers.ed.ac.uk/STUDENTS/Careers/websites.html - Legal Services section. This portal of links on Careers Service website brings together all the above links, and many more. Other opportunities? Search Law Society of Scotland website – use the ‘find a solicitor’ database to identify organisations which employ solicitors, and apply speculatively (see Speculative Applications section below.) Collect your copy of the publication Target Law Scotland from the September Law Fair, or the Careers Service, for more ideas for vacation work. Vacation Placements in English Law Firms Check legal vacation work on SAGE – www.careers.ed.ac.uk/SAGE Useful websites for finding vacation placements o www.lawcareers.net o www.chambersandpartners.com/chambersstudent o http://targetjobs.co.uk/law-solicitors o www.prospects.ac.uk/links/focuslaw o www.careers.ed.ac.uk/STUDENTS/Careers/websites.html - Legal Services section – a portal of legal-related links bringing together all the above links – and many more. Publications for researching opportunities– available to take away in the Careers Service whilst stocks last GTI Target Work Experience – law Training Contract and Pupillages handbook Directories –e.g. Chambers & Partners Student Guide Prospects Focus on Law Also use Chambers and Partners directory of legal firms or the website www.solicitors-online.com to identify firms you are interested in and make speculative applications via targeted CV and cover letter. Other organisations where you may be able to gain relevant experience. Not everyone will be able to obtain vacation work in a law firm. To gain relevant skills and experience in specialist areas of law which interest you, you may want to consider the options listed below. Under each law specialism are ideas for the types of organisation where you may find a suitable placement. These are only suggestions to stimulate your University of Edinburgh Careers Service, 33 Buccleuch Place 650 4670 www.careers.ed.ac.uk thinking in your vacation placement search. If you need further help with finding relevant organisations and making applications call into the Careers Service, 33 Buccleuch Place. Banking/Corporate Finance: Building societies; banks; cash office of retail outlet; sales desk; council tax office; tax office; insurance companies; insurance agents; finance houses; investment companies Commercial Property/ Construction & Engineering: Estate agencies; facility management agents; property developers; civil engineering companies; engineering companies Crime: Police; law courts; citizens’ advice bureau; procurator fiscal service; victim support groups; rehabilitation of offender charities Commercial Litigation: Legal department of any retail outlet or company – mainly head office setting; (may be more difficult if no litigation pending); citizens’ advice bureau; procurator fiscal service; consumer associations Employment: Union head office or regional offices; personnel departments; TUC; ACAS; citizens’ advice bureau Environmental: Environment department of the Scottish Government; waste disposal companies; property developers; local authorities: energy companies. Family: Citizens’ advice bureau; welfare charities; social services; law centres; Intellectual Property: Legal departments of media houses; IT companies; publishing houses; patent agents Medical Litigation: Healthcare trusts; hospitals; medical insurance companies; NHS legal department; health authorities; medical related charities Shipping: Shipping Agents; Customs and Excise; Travel Companies; Freight Companies Other Vacation Work Vacation work in different areas of employment can help you to gain valuable insight, skills and experience. Use the resources below to help you identify opportunities. Careers Service website • SAGE - www.careers.ed.ac.uk/SAGE - vacation opportunities • Vacation work section of the website – www.careers.ed.ac.uk >jobhunting – the ‘working during vacations’ section contains useful advice and links to many relevant sites for researching opportunities in the UK and abroad Vacation work section of Careers Service, including • Reference files and books, UK and overseas • US internships Volunteering Volunteering can be combined with paid work over vacations to broaden your experience and skills. Within the University and the City of Edinburgh, or further afield, there are 1000s of opportunities to get involved and make a difference. Volunteer for advice work University of Edinburgh Careers Service, 33 Buccleuch Place 650 4670 www.careers.ed.ac.uk with Citizens Advice Bureau, support work with Witness Support at the courts, provide advocacy for disadvantaged people, get involved in projects abroad (though you often have to raise some initial funds to do this) – the list is endless. Use the SAGE database, Student Volunteer Bureau at Potterrow, and the Voluntary Work section of our website, www.careers.ed.ac.uk >student>alternatives, with links to searchable databases of opportunities, to find something which suits you. Speculative Applications Many smaller law firms, and the Fiscal Service, (and other career areas including the media, events management etc) do not advertise vacation opportunities. You will need to identify firms and organisations you are interested in and apply speculatively with a well- targeted CV and cover letter. Download a copy of the handout Effective Legal Applications from the download section of the Law School careers web pages www.law.ed.ac.uk/careers to help you construct your CV and cover letter. Tips for speculative applications • Telephone before you send a letter, so your application does not arrive 'cold' or on the wrong person's desk. Aim to track down the most relevant person and their job title (and make sure you spell their name correctly!). Send your application to a named person if possible, so you can follow it up later if necessary. • Clearly state what you are interested in. • Say why you have chosen to apply to that particular firm or organisation. Demonstrate that you know something about them, their area of law and services. • Tell the firm what you can offer them in return for experience – your administrative, research, organisational skills, enthusiasm for the work they do etc. The style and tone of your letter should be persuasive. • State when you are available for interview or discussion. You may need to follow your letter with a telephone call in a week or two, to demonstrate your commitment and enthusiasm. Outlined above are just some ideas to help you locate relevant vacation work. If you need any further help, please call into the Careers Service, 33 Buccleuch Place. We look forward to seeing you. Janet Forsyth, Careers Adviser, Sept 09 University of Edinburgh Careers Service, 33 Buccleuch Place 650 4670 www.careers.ed.ac.uk
"Law students - using your vacations to gain experience"