Guide for first year undergraduates
Manage your workload
While this may seem fairly obvious, make sure that you keep on top of your workload and manage your time effectively. Firms will ask for your first year grades when making an application. So although these grades may not count towards your final degree result, they will count towards your career.
Ashurst’s top tip: Look ahead and know what university contact time, exams and other deadlines you have scheduled. This will get you in the habit of planning your time – a useful skill for when you are attending interviews and assessment days.
Get involved with university life as much as possible. Societies and other clubs are a great way to develop your skills, while meeting new people and broadening your network. Firms are looking for well-rounded candidates that have something to say outside of their studies.
Ashurst’s top tip: If you can hold a position of responsibility in any society or club you join, this will help enhance your application, demonstrating your team work and communication skills.
Do your research
Research different law firms and find out which ones you are most interested in applying to in the future and, more importantly, why. Once you have made your shortlist, focus on meeting them when they are on campus and at any open days they may be hosting in their offices. The best way to identify the right law firm for you is to meet their people and experience their culture.
Ashurst’s top tip: Our essential guide to researching law firms provides you with a list of useful questions you could be asking and where to start with finding the answer.
Know what to apply for and when
Law firms typically target their vacancies towards students at certain stages in their studies. Check firm websites for information about application deadlines and what you are eligible to apply for.
Ashurst’s top tip: While they may differ from year to year, look at different firm’s application forms to familiarise yourself with the types of questions they ask.
Although you may not yet be eligible to apply for a vacation scheme or training contract, network as much as you can at this stage. As mentioned above, meeting firm representatives are a good place to start. It may also be beneficial to explore any connections your university may have – there are often mentoring schemes in place with alumni.
Ashurst’s top tip: Law societies are a good source of useful career information. Members who are further along in their studies may be able to pass on knowledge from their own applications.
Develop your commercial awareness
Firstly, ensure that you understand what the term ‘commercial awareness’ means. Once you are confident with this, focus on developing your own commercial knowledge. An understanding of the wider commercial world is a key competency firms look for when reviewing application forms and during interviews.
Ashurst’s top tip: Subscribing to relevant magazines or emails is a great way to receive up to date information on a regular basis.
We will be recruiting for ahead with ashurst, our first year spring vacation scheme, between 1 september 2016 – 8 January 2017. Please visit our website for more information.