Making The Most of Your First Year!
OSHANA BENOTMANE | LEGAL JARGON WRITER Welcome! First of all, let me introduce myself: I’m Oshana. I grew up in Bali, Indonesia (so if anyone is planning a vacation there, I am more than happy to share all the islands secrets). I just finished my first year at Queen Mary University of London doing a Law and Politics LLB degree.
Now, first-year for me was daunting. I did really well academically, but I feel I have missed out on so many opportunities that essentially would’ve built up my career, just because I didn’t know they existed. Yes, I could have done more googling and research but between adjusting to university, catching up with readings and making friends these things just flew by me. Thus, I wanted to write this article to help others like me and give them guidance on how to make the most of first year. So, what exactly do you need to do in first year?
1. Relax! This is just your first year of university. You do not need to be hustling 24/7, you are supposed to be enjoying your time, making friends, adjusting to law and finding your routine. So, it’s okay if you don’t apply for everything or attend every event, but with that said, you should still strive to perform your best academically and take up any opportunity you find interesting.
2. Create a LinkedIn profile. Forget Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. LinkedIn is your new best friend! Make sure you update any exciting positions you’ve taken up recently, any awards you’ve received and add a professional profile picture to finish off your profile. LinkedIn is the best platform for networking, so connect with your peers and students from different institutions, scope their profiles for anything interesting and leave them a message. It is also a great platform to connect with firms and keep up to date with what they’re doing.
3. Become a Brand Ambassador. Being a brand ambassador for firms or other companies such as Bright Network, Legal Cheek or Legal Jargon will give you a big advantage on your CV. It will allow you to network with firms, show off your work ethic and skills and make tons of new friends. Look out for university advertisement or websites like Sanctuary Graduate for Brand Ambassador opportunities. 4. Join Societies and Law Fairs. Make sure to sign up to societies at your university as they often organise many useful events with other firms/institutions. Common societies include:
• Law Society • Lawyers without Borders Society • Elsa Society • Commercial Awareness Society • Mooting Society • And many more! Also, make sure you make the most of the law fair. Although this event isn’t necessarily crucial for first years, it is an excellent way to practice networking, firm research and fundamentally understand how law fairs work. Make the most of your law fair by researching attendees, preparing innovative questions and introducing your name/brand to firms at an early stage. Example question: What is one unique business strategy that gives your firm a competitive advantage in the marketplace over other competitors? 5. Firm Events. Firms often hold events and presentations open to all students, so make sure to keep an eye out for those. Here are some popular events you may consider applying for: • Firm Open Days/Insight days • First-year schemes (e.g. Making Link Scholars, Pathway to Law, Spark) • First-year workshop with Herbert Smith Freehills
Also consider other platforms such as: • AS Aspire, Aspiring Solicitors • Rare • Grow Mentoring • Bright Network • Legal Cheek • Legal Jargon Hopefully, this will help you make the most of first year and encourage you to start your career early. Just remember this is not an exhaustive list and you do not need to have done everything to ace first year. This is meant as a guide to ensure you are aware of some first-year opportunities and make the most of events that could interest you. Oshana Benotmane Oshana Benotmane is a second year law student at Queen Mary University of London. Outside her studies, Oshana is also involved with the Commercial Awareness Society and QMLAC. She is aspiring towards a career in corporate law in the fields of M&A and FinTech. 👨💻Want to share feedback? Did we miss something important? Let us know! We would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply just comment below!