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Legal Work Experience for Year 12

by Charles Nwabueze
Reading Time: 5 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 to 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. Here’s why

Why you should do a Year 12 Work Experience?

Help you choose what you want to study or a career path

If you are a Year 12 student you are probably not thinking of what you want to do with your life but hopefully, this article inspires a mind change. Gaining a Year 12 work experience in law is very worthwhile, 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. 

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 you with 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 an 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.  

You can also expect to encounter additional requirements if the experience is under a diversity and inclusion scheme.

List of Law Work Experience Year 12 at Law Firm (including chambers) 

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. 

Ashurst: 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

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.

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. 

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.

Blacks Solicitors 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: Provides a four-day-long programme that provides you with employability tips alongside legal experience.

Thomson Snell & Passmore: The firm provides week-long placements in every summer.

Womble Bond Dickinson: This international law firm offers a variety of different work placements.

Old Square Chambers: Offers a work placement that offers an insight into barristers’ work.

The Duties and Experiences 

As a participant expect to complete basic legal exercises, conduct legal research and write legal reports. You will also be invited to learn about the roles of the staff team of the law firm. You can 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. 

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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