Open days are a great opportunity to get to know firms and lawyers in their natural habitat - how do you bag a place?
Applying - top tips
Apply early - it's a given that these events are very popular, fill up fast and are often allocated on a rolling basis. Don't delay.
Use your cover letter to full effect. The point of an open day is for you to learn about the firm, meet people working there, ask questions and increase your practical understanding of what it means to be a lawyer. Your cover letter should reflect that - emphasise your desire to learn more about the firm/a particular practice area, and do mention what you know about the firm / what makes you want to apply there.
Don't crib a training contract cover letter. This isn't about your suitability to do the job; it's about you asking for an opportunity to learn more about the firm.
On the day
Take notes. If you go on to apply to this firm for a vacation scheme or training contract, details of what you did on the day, who you spoke to (by name), and what feedback you received, if any, will greatly enhance your application. Jot down these details when you can - don't rely on your memory holding up.
Ask questions when appropriate. You'll typically have the chance to speak to a range of staff on the day, from partners and HR/graduate recruitment through current trainee solicitors. If you have any questions about the firm, seat choices, secondment opportunities or anything else, do ask. If nothing else, asking a junior lawyer or trainee what a typical day is like for them / what they have in store for the rest of the day, can give you a real insight into how the firm allocates work to its junior staff.
Follow up. After the event, if you're interested in the firm, send a short note to the organiser to say thank you, mentioning what you learnt during Discussion A or Activity B - you'll be remembered for all the right reasons when you make your training contract application.
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