how to start a career in law

Get Your Foot in the Door and Kick Start Your Career In Law

Looking for your next Paralegal job? Ready to start your career in law? In this article we share six tips on getting your foot in the door at a law firm.

1. Stand out from the crowd

You need to make sure your CV is up to date, precise, correctly formatted and professional in appearance with no spelling or grammar errors. This is your first impression to a potential employer.  There may be one particular aspect of your CV that has interested them, so be ready to elaborate on any point, especially with reference to the job description.  It’s important to remember that for an entry-level role you only have around 30 minutes to an hour to impress the people in front of you. So, make sure that you are dressed formally and speak clearly.

Law firms, in particular, can be quite intimidating places when you haven’t worked in one before, so it’s important that you prepare thoroughly and research the firm properly.

2. Gain experience

Right now, most employers are no longer wanting to pay for on the job training and have turned their preference towards those graduates who are entering “practice-ready”, with real-world experience behind them. It’s tough out there and it is up to you to do all you can to gain experience whether it be in the form of an internship, pro bono work, shadowing a lawyer, or any other sort of experiential learning.

3. Gain skills beyond the legal profession

Law firms are inundated with hundreds or sometimes thousands of applications so make sure you highlight your competencies beyond the legal field to show that you have something extra to offer. Remember, employers always look for those who will add value to their business.   

4. Be informed

Keep yourself informed with changes in your chosen sector in order to stay relevant and up to date. You need to understand the history of law and where it is heading and how you will make it work for you.  Keep up to date with the latest technological developments and be ready for questions around agile working, remote working, artificial intelligence (AI) and technological innovations on a global scale.

5. Make a plan

Try to focus on an area of law that you want to work in and research well in advance the job market, future prospects and the areas of law which have the best job prospects. You should talk to your tutors, network, try to find a mentor - you must identify your skills and brush up on those you lack.

6. Branch out and network!

It is important not to have only one strategy when it comes to looking for a job in the legal field. Take opportunities to network, traditional forms as well as online. Professional groups offer a lot of opportunities and connect with professors and colleagues in case they know of something you do not. Get proactive with learning about firms around you. Do not expect to get recruited and then be left stumbling when it does not happen. Try to attend networking events hosted through universities or through professional bodies like the Institute of Paralegals and make the most of them.  Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile and research recruiters within the profession.

Read our guide on becoming a Paralegal and view the latest Paralegal roles powered by Totally Legal.

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