As a final-year non-law student you should take every opportunity available to meet with law firms and find out all you can about being a commercial lawyer. If you haven’t yet secured a Training Contract, now is the time to do it. Combined with your finals, making applications can be time consuming. But if you take the time to do them well it will be worth it. So attend any workshops on application skills, and be sure to visit any open days and networking events where you can speak to recruiters. As a general rule, you should find out as much as you can about firms before making your application.
A number of firms offer Vacation Schemes for final-year non-law students, while others will offer Open Days. You should do your research around the opportunities available to you and whether you’re eligible to apply. Baker McKenzie offers a two-week scheme for final-year students during the spring.
Baker McKenzie also offers a series of Open Days and final-year non-law students are eligible to apply. The day consists of presentations, workshops and opportunities to network with Trainee Solicitors, Associates, Partners and Graduate Recruiters. They’re a fantastic way to find out more about the work of a commercial lawyer and the culture of a global law firm. Your final year is also when you should be applying for Training Contracts and preparing yourself for interviews and Assessment Days.
Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)
If you’ve decided to pursue a career as a commercial lawyer, you’ll need to complete one extra year of study after your undergraduate degree, through a conversion course called the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) before going on to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC).
You can apply for a place on the GDL in your final year if you want to start the course the following year. It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to start the GDL immediately after your degree and you may want to take a gap year if you’re funding the course yourself. One of the many benefits of securing a Training Contract at a top City firm like Baker McKenzie is that we’ll pay your GDL course fees and provide a maintenance grant towards living expenses. We encourage all of our future Trainee Solicitors to attend BPP Law School, in any of their locations. Please note however that the route to qualifying as a Solicitor is changing with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). We will publish what this means for our future trainees in due course.