What You Need to Know to Make the Transition from Law Student to Lawyer

The ultimate goal for the vast majority of law students is to forge a long lasting and successful career as a lawyer. Besides, the countless years of hitting the books and getting to grips with the intricacies of the legal system shouldn’t go to waste, right?

Unfortunately, as many budding lawyers soon come to realise, pursuing a career as a lawyer isn’t always going to be straightforward. The transition from law student to lawyer is a big one to overcome and can take some people by surprise. That is if they haven’t taken the time to properly prepare themselves, of course.

There are plenty of different daily duties for lawyers that you may not be aware of as a student – such as attending solicitors disciplinary tribunal cases – which means a successful transition is extremely important. To learn more about what to expect, read on…

Top Tips for Making the Transition to Becoming a Lawyer

So, what can you do to make the transition from law student to lawyer as seamless as possible? Let’s take a closer look…

  • Make Early Strides While Still in Education

Just because you’re still in full-time education as a law student, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start. There are still plenty of steps you can take at this point that will help to make your transition much smoother and, ultimately, more successful.

Alongside your studies, you can seek out unpaid work experience or internship opportunities that will give you valuable insight into what working as a lawyer truly entails. This will also give you some networking opportunities that you can put to good use at a later stage.

  • Figure Out What Sort of Lawyer You Want to Be at an Early Stage

The legal industry is vast and, as a result, there are countless different types of law you can practise and different types of law firms you can go on to work for. So, it’s a good idea to have a clear idea which direction you want to steer your career during its infancy.

You’ll likely already have a favourite type of law to study, so it would be a good idea to take that into consideration when you’re deciding on what path to take. You may also want to take a closer look at a few more unique areas of law, like data breaches and cybercrime.

  • Try to Take a Unique Approach

When it comes to making applications for your first full time role in the legal industry, it’s always a good idea to try and stand out from the crowd. While that may seem like rather generic advice at first, there are some specific ways you can help you CV rise to the top of the pile. For example, If you’re not tied down with a family or home, you could consider looking for overseas work in order to get some intern or entry level experience and grow your network. Speaking to a relocation specialist such as Beacon Legal’s director, Alex Gotch, would be the best thing to do if this interests you, recruitment experts in the legal field can help you to find overseas work which still matches up with the areas of the law you want to specialise in. This will help you stand out from other candidates in the job market whilst maintaining a consistent theme of work that shows employers you care about the roles you take on.

Carefully consider the work and personal experiences that you’ve completed, as well as what you’ve learned during your time as law student to help you sell yourself with confidence. By carefully tailoring your CV this way, you’ll help yourself to get more clarity over what job opportunities truly appeal to you and are well suited to your abilities.

  • Seek Out Advice from Industry Experts

The beauty of living in the digital age is that it’s possible to reach out to just about anyone in the profession you want to explore. If you want to make a successful transition from law student to lawyer, then you’d be well advised to get some direct advice from industry experts and junior lawyers.

Hop on LinkedIn and send out some messages to people who work in a variety of positions to see if they’ll be willing to lend you some support. You’d be surprised how many responses you receive; every lawyer will have been in the same situation after all…

  • Balance Out Your Skillset

If you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, then that’s great. That said, it’s not going to be of use if you aren’t able to demonstrate any of the other skills that law firms look for when they are recruiting new lawyers.

Make sure that you’re a well-rounded individual with a balanced skillset, combining knowledge with tangible skills. This will show you’re able to deal with all of the extra tasks that come hand in hand with being a lawyer.

  • Be Patient

Nothing good ever comes easy, right? Well, as you might expect, becoming a lawyer isn’t always going to be a straightforward task, and you will likely face plenty of setbacks during your transition from being a law student.

So, be patient. Don’t hesitate to keep applying for jobs and make sure that you always keep all of your options open.

  • Expect to Start from the Bottom

Keeping your expectations realistic is one of the key ways you can make sure that you make a successful transition. When you step into your new role as a lawyer, you should be aware that you’re going to be starting on the bottom rung of the ladder – at least for the time being.

You should always keep in mind that everyone has to start somewhere and, thankfully, the only way from the bottom is up!

  • Don’t Stop Networking

If you’ve been lucky enough to land a job as a junior lawyer, then the work is only just beginning. It’s vital that you never stop networking with other professionals you meet in the industry, as you never know what life might have in store.

Are You Looking to Make the Transition from Law Student to Lawyer?

So, there you have it! There’s no denying that making the transition from law student to lawyer is a daunting one, but with the right preparation, it’s more than possible.

Have you got any more questions about becoming a lawyer? Or any extra tips to share? Feel free to leave a comment below!