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Law Work Experience for Year 12 Students in the UK – The Ultimate Guide 2022

by Charles Nwabueze
Reading Time: 6 minutes

In the past decades, the UK legal job market has kept a consistent characteristic: a steady increase in competition for roles in various law firms. Law firms expect that each person that seeks to work in their organization in a legal capacity will display passion and commitment to the legal sector. One of the main expectations is that prospective staffs have some experience in the industry. Every work experience in the legal sector can help you think like a professional and prepare for future employment.

Year 12 law work experiences are usually programs spent in a law firm or a legal organisation offering students insight into the life of a lawyer. These programs may last between a day and two weeks. While a Year 12 student will not be generally expected to have law work experience when there’s the opportunity to take part in one it should be grabbed. The reason for this is that a Year 12 work experience allows students to have a peek into the lives of a law firm. In the next paragraph, we shall discuss the importance of Year 12 work experience.

Why Year 12 Work Experience is Important?

Help you decide what you want to study or the career path you want

At year 12, it is normal for Year 12 students not to be thinking of what they want to do with their life but hopefully, this article inspires a mind change for those who might be reading. Gaining a Year 12 work experience in law is worth your time, as it will give you the chance to find out whether a career in law is something you’d like. If it is, will it be something that you can sustain? A Year 12 work experience helps you along to a profitable decision by exposing you to what a lawyer does daily. By getting the chance to talk to lawyers you can even decide that though you want a career in law, you do not want to arrive at the destination through the traditional route.

Improve your Cover Letter/Applications

Having a Year 12 work experience listed on any of your applications will make you more appealing to potential employers. To a recruiter reading your application – through such work experience – you will be arguing that you’re extraordinary and dedicated to succeeding. It further proves that you can also take the initiative and have the ability to successfully work in the field of law. Furthermore, it is also possible that as a result of your experience at the firm if you applied for a vacation scheme or training contract (graduate position) later on the firm might look more favourably at your application.

Insight into Reality

Working in a law firm under a Year 12 experience initiative will impart invaluable knowledge about the culture prevalent in the industry (at least a tip). To a certain extent, you will be given exposure to the company’s administrative processes, as well as how the law firm operates.

Good for Your UCAS Personal Statement

Completing work experience can provide you with interesting experiences to reflect on in your statement when you write it in Year 13. You could discuss aspects of the work experience you found challenging or inspiring.

Requirements for Year 12 Work Experience

While the requirements will vary dependent on the firm that you are applying to there are requirements generally expected of applicants. The obvious one is that the applicant is in Year 12. Secondly, a display of interest in a law career will also get you far. Thirdly, there might be a particular GCSE grade required. Considering that law firms offering year 12 work experience would have committed certain resources to ensure the smooth running of the program they might further require certain things from their applicants. It is appealing when you come to the experience with a willingness to learn and positivity. Further, displaying that you will be punctual and smartly dressed will take you a long way in enjoying the year 12 experience programmes.

Quite a few law firms offer Year 12 work experience under their diversity and inclusion scheme, if your Year 12 experience happens to come under this scheme, you should expect to encounter additional requirements.

Law Firms offering Year 12 Work Experience

Slaughter and May

The law firm offers a program known as the Excellerator programme which involves a week of work experience at the firm’s office during the Easter holidays, followed by a week on the Social Mobility Business Partnership’s Insight Programme during the summer

Allen & Overy

Their Smart Start programme provides young people with quality work experience which includes gaining law skills.


The Access Ashurst programme sounds fun with its offer of a two-week work experience. One week is spent at their London office while a day each of the remaining weeks is spent with five different organisations

Stephenson Harwood

The firm runs its Bright Sparks programme that provides insight into the work of a solicitor

Taylor Wessing

The Tomorrow’s Talent program is a two-week work shadowing scheme for students aged 16 – 19 from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Known as the Career Kick Start programme, the initiative comprises two weeks and offers Year 12 students from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity of gaining a real insight into what lawyers do daily via work shadowing.

Blacks Solicitors

This firm has offices in London and Leeds and offers week-long placements all year round to school students looking to gain work experience in their firm.

Eversheds Sutherland

The firm hosts its Unlocked work placement programme over three days for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Pinsent Masons

The firm provides a four-day-long programme that provides you with employability tips alongside the legal experience.

Thomson Snell & Passmore

The firm provides week-long placements with every summer.

Womble Bond Dickinson

Might not be the most popular law firm but this international law firm offer a variety of different work placements to students seeking to pursue a career in law.

Chambers offering Year 12 Work Experience

Matrix Chambers

The chambers provide a work placement that is centred around completing legal and administrative tasks. The firm takes two work-experience students, who are undertaking GCSEs and/or A-Levels or equivalent every other week.

Exchange Chambers

Located in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, and offers a two-day work placement during the summer holidays to students who are in sixth form (year 12 or 13) or have completed GCSE.

Old Square Chambers

The chambers offer a work placement that offers an insight into barristers’ work.

Gatehouse Chambers

Formerly known as Hardwicke is a barristers’ chambers in London that offer both a taster day and a week’s work experience to 16-18-year-olds.

Online (Virtual) Work Experience for Year 12 students

Students who are interested in engaging in a virtual work experience programme regardless of the level of education they are in should try out Forage. Forage is an open-access platform designed to unlock exciting careers for students by connecting them with various endorsed Virtual Work Experience Programs. The endorsed programmes also include Year 12 Law work experience programmes. Among the numerous benefits that are associated with getting a virtual work experience at Forage is that at the end of each programme, you’ll be given a personalized completion certificate which you can display on your CV One of the programmes they are currently offering includes ‘Prime’s virtual legal work experience programme’ which is free for students. If you register for the programme you will be taught what it means to be a lawyer and be helped to develop the necessary skills fundamental to a career in law.

Another programme which you should consider is the Legal Cheek virtual law fairs and pupillage fairs hosted by Legal Cheek. The fairs are free and open to all (but with limited spaces), and the online event gives students from across the UK the opportunity to meet the nation’s leading law firms from their laptops. Students based overseas who intend to qualify as solicitors and barristers are eligible to work in the UK and are also encouraged to attend. Last year, the Fair featured 70 exhibitors, including Magic Circle and leading US firms’ London offices, international firms, and national firms across the UK. Some of the firms included Akin Gump, Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clyde & Co, CMS, Burges Salmon and Fried Frank. The next Fair will run in September, October, November and December 2023.

How to make the most of your Year 12 Law Work Experience

Participants are expected to complete basic legal exercises, conduct legal research and write legal reports. You will also be allowed to learn about the roles of the staff team of the law firm. You might also be asked to help book travel arrangements, and if you are participating in one of the schemes held by a chambers your tasks may include taking barristers’ papers to court and observing them in action. Further, it is not out of place for students to help set up events and deal with other administrative duties that may arise. To enjoy your experience, it is best to approach the programme with an open and enthusiastic mind that is willing to soak as much knowledge as possible.

As a participant, you will benefit from a variety of workshops, a CV clinic, a mock interview and a group project with other students on the programme. The firm will usually provide lunch and pay reasonable travel expenses.


Charles is a writer, practising lawyer and personal trainer who loves learning and developing himself. He graduated from Middlesex University, London with eight first-class grades in the second and third years of his law degree, and received a postgraduate offer from Cambridge University. He loves strength training, boxing and encouraging people to succeed in their pursuits (legal ones)
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