by Zofia Szkaluba, LLB Business Law Student (Final Year)
My name is Zofia and I am now a final year student at Coventry University, undertaking the LLB Business Law course. Throughout my degree I wanted to get as much work experience as possible – I volunteered with the Witness Service at local courts and I was a part of the advocacy clinic at university. However, I soon realised that getting a year-long experience in a law firm would definitely help my future career and it would give me a real insight into working in the legal environment.
Undoubtedly, the application process was quite challenging. Filling out a number of lengthy applications as well as going through the interviews and assessment centres seemed like a full-time job itself. What would I say to the second-year students who are thinking about a placement, but are anxious about applying? Don’t get discouraged, it will be worth the effort! You learn a lot just through the application process itself. We all will have to face the competitive job market at some point, so why not to get a head start?
If I said that the whole year was easy and enjoyable – it wasn’t. I believe it is important for any second year student considering this option to know that it might not be exactly what they imagine, and they might struggle at times. But it is only when we are out of our comfort zone that we learn and grow. Personally, I found the initial transition period – from living a student life to working 9-5 in the office the most difficult. It was at that time when I realised how much freedom and time I had as a student.
During my placement I was lucky to work with a team of wonderful colleagues who were always there to help. Shoosmiths made sure that I received all the necessary training and support throughout the year. I had a chance to improve a lot of my skills e.g. communication, research and time management. Through working directly with the clients, courts and other law firms I have learned a great deal about various legal proceedings and how they work in practice. Even though I was fairly new to the firm and I was there only for a limited time, I was given a lot of responsibilities – communicating with clients, drafting legal documents, commencing legal action – just to name a few.
If you are thinking about undertaking a placement – make sure to do your research to find a law firm which specialises in an area you’re interested in – and APPLY! For me, it was an invaluable experience and it will be very helpful in making career choices after graduation. Not to mention that having a year of experience working in a law firm before even finishing your studies will put a graduate at an advantage among other applicants.
Interested in studying law with us? Our LLB Law course offers you the opportunity to gain practical legal skills, develop your global experience, and get career ready, with expert staff and employment support. Current student? You can find out more about placement opportunities by speaking to the Talent Team.