Being a law student isn’t easy. The profession you are studying to enter into is tough and requires a combination of diligence, research and people skills.
In any industry, if you want to get working straight out of university you will more than just good grades to land the job. This is especially true in the highly competitive legal profession where recruiters give a high degree of preference to graduates who also have practical experience.
Let’s take a look at the top reasons why a law student needs to gain practical experience during their studies.
Creating a network
The legal professionals a student meets during their study often prove to be some of the most influential people in their early career. The work that these veterans do will inspire you and reaffirm your decision to study law.
The lawyers you meet during this time will influence you greatly in the tips and tricks you use during your fist days of professional practise. Skills from drafting letters to direct communication with clients all need to be learnt on the job and can’t simply be studied from a book.
The people you meet in a working firm will give you much needed perspective on what the day-to-day work in law looks like. Most importantly, this experience will give you access to a network of mentors you can call on for assistance when you need it.
The hardships of the clients you encounter during this time will help colour your view of the law and your place within the system. The lessons you learn through your experience will inform you of your pivotal values as a lawyer which are to seek justice on behalf of those who can’t find it on their own.
Exposure to these clients is essential to educating you on the real world impact of the work you are undertaking. This experience will give you a maturity regarding law that will be noticed by employers.
Developing a skillset
The most important part of any practical experience is the actual work experience you will get out of it. There is no better way to learn a job than to actually do it.
While your essay writing skills might impress professors, the actual work of being a lawyer doesn’t involve discussing the theory behind legal systems. You will need to have knowledge of legal procedures and how to conduct yourself in a range of scenarios from client interview to courtroom hearings.
Education is crucial to understanding the fundamentals of the law but your practical experience will be how you learn to apply it in a commercial context. After all, firms are looking for lawyers who can help them make money and your practical experience allows you to learn how to apply your knowledge to meet that end.