Law Fair 2011

Unlike a usual November afternoon, it was sunny. So although tinged with dry cold, it was a beautiful day. As I strolled towards the Great Hall, the walls of my mind were lined with the memory of the last Law Fair I attended in that Hall. It was in 2008 when I was studying for my law degree. I knew it was bound to be different – things are changing fast in today’s world, and often, the changes are for the better. Well, you can call me an optimist but I’m sure you’ll oblige my optimism in the end!

Once at the Aston Webb Building reception, I could feel the buzz. My fellow students were standing in groups, chatting and waiting to be allowed into the Great Hall. The employers were already inside the Hall getting their stalls ready. I looked around hoping to find someone to chat with. But soon my eyes started wondering from one outfit to another. The corporate attires of the students betrayed the serious nature of what could be regarded by the uninformed as a mere campus Fair. This was a Law careers Fair through which the University makes it possible for its students to interact with potential employers. Due to its clout, the University is able to bring the ‘heavy weight’ law firms amongst other medium and smaller ones. The need to dress the part for the Law Fair can therefore not be overemphasised. However, one does not need to rob a bank or even make any special purchase for the Fair, but it is worth presenting what I call an appealing ‘lawyer look’ – a neat and well ironed black or grey dress or suit. Suffice to say that such neat self presentation boosts self confidence and can also render one irresistible to the scouting representatives of the Law Firms at the Fair.

Dressing the part is just one aspect of the preparations to be made prior to attending a Law Fair. Indeed, it’s worth looking at the employer profiles. This will give one ideas for questions to ask the employers as an indication of interest in the Firm or even as an ice-breaker. Moreover, it will also help one to determine which Firms to look out for at the Fair unless one has got a whole day to give to the Fair. For example, a home student might have preference for certain regions of the UK or even practice areas. In the same vein, the key words for an international student might be ‘international or global presence’, as those firms would possibly hold more opportunities for an international student.

Indeed, though I anticipated changes to the nature of the Fair since the last time I attended, I was not looking forward to the great increase in the number of participating employers. In fact, there were so many employers that it was not possible to cover them all even if for the purposes of the many freebies (including memory sticks)! Once inside the Great Hall, I realised that my original plan to just start from the Firms at the entrance of the Hall needed to give way to a new plan. It was necessary that I scanned through the many stalls to identify the employers to interact with as I would not be able to cover all. My interest was on Firms with ‘international or global presence’. And, there were many of them. With some having opportunities in virtually all the continents! Those are the ‘global’. Then there were the ‘international’, with offices across Europe and one or more countries outside Europe.
In all, the turn out both on the sides of students and the employers was quite impressive. It would seem that the first thing to do is to work hard and make good grades. For whether you are a home student or an international student, opportunities abound across the regions of the United Kingdom and the world as long as one has performed well. May my initial optimism be obliged please?

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About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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