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We are living in worrying and unprecedented times. By this time of year, most of us would normally have summer internships lined up and would be getting ready for an exciting holiday abroad. Despite the international crisis we find ourselves in, there are plenty of ways you can show future employers you have persevered in difficult circumstances and have done everything you can to become more employable, even during a lockdown.
Even though your summer internship may have been cancelled, there are plenty of opportunities to gain valuable work experience online. Virtual internships created by leading international law firms will provide you will a first-hand experience of what it is like to work as a trainee. You will get a chance to look into finance and banking tasks, learn how to put together a well laid out and ordered transaction chart, work on fictitious deals and practise drafting e-mails or pitching clients – skills which will be of help to you in the legal industry in the future. All that for free, from the comfort of your home and with no tiresome applications necessary! Virtual internships are available on InsideSherpa and can be completed in one weekend or several weeks, depending on what works with your schedule.
Don’t focus only on law virtual internships! Finance, accounting and consulting companies also have remote opportunities on offer. Completing a remote placement in a non-legal field will allow you to show that you have researched other career paths and boost your commercial and sector awareness, which is invaluable for vacation scheme applications.
Your university term may have been cut short due to the pandemic but that does not mean you can’t take on fascinating courses from prestigious education providers online. Platforms such as Coursera and edX offer free online tuition in a variety of fields. They are a great way to show your commitment to bettering yourself and improving your employability even in the face of an international crisis. While there are plenty of law courses on offer, for example, Harvard University's Justice or the University of Chicago's Internet Giants: The Law and Economics of Media Platforms , try to think outside the box and look out for ways to work on your non-legal skills which will help you to stand out from the crowd. Perhaps learn the basics of coding with Harvard’s CS50, or pick up some Mandarin with Tsinghua University? Your effort will undoubtedly pay off when you can put the official certificate of completion on your CV and impress the interviewers at your next training contract assessment centre.
With most law and careers events cancelled, it is easy to lock ourselves in our homes and lose all motivation to work on our employability. After all, it is often conversations and meetings with inspiring successful lawyers that give us strength and the willingness to pursue our goals, no matter how unrealistic they might be. It seems that in the current situation we will have to wait for any conferences and interesting events to be held in person until at least autumn, if not longer. Fortunately, organisations such as Legal Cheek and The Lawyer Portal have adapted their services and are now running their events online.
The Lawyer Portal's Aspire, which takes place in September, will provide you with an inspiring insight into what a career in law really means. Legal Cheek's events can help answer some of the questions swirling around among future lawyers at the moment while giving you a chance to network with trainees and associates from leading global and national firms. Their Virtual Law Fair will make you feel like you’re back at uni already, with virtual booths for each firm and an opportunity to submit written questions in the live chats.
If you were planning to write all your vacation scheme or training contract applications this summer, now is still the perfect time to brush up on your commercial awareness and learn as much as you can about the firms you intend to apply to. This way, once you actually start filling in the application forms, you will have done your selection process and you will have plenty of reasons why you are interested in this particular firm and not another. Try using LexisLibrary News to find the most relevant articles and go beyond the firm’s website. You can even search the name of lawyers who might be interviewing you or who worked on specific cases or deals you have referred to in your applications.
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