Tips on how to impress on Work Experience

(12 Posts)
zeit Fri 22-Mar-19 10:02:12

DD is a first year law student and has recently nabbed herself a couple of days work experience at a major city law firm. She had to apply and interview, with online exams to get this spot, so it’s pretty hard to get.

How does she go about making the most of this experience? How does she impress whilst there?

The scheme is apparently very much a case of sussing out students before they can apply for vac schemes/=training contracts the year after.

OP’s posts: |
PurplePiePete Fri 22-Mar-19 10:24:53

Is it a vac scheme? a few days seems unusually short?
get a very dull dark suit and a couple of blouses / shirts to go under. It doesn't need to be expensive but it does need to be ultra conservative - skirt knee length or trousers. Next probably the cheapest. Plain dark logo free handbag.
Keep a notebook and pen on her at all times and write down instructions; ask at the time for clarification if necessary - "just to check, what you are asking is xyz?" rather than trying to figure it out and going back 4 hours later.
They will be watching like a hawk how she interacts with the other interns and trainees so play nicely and turn up to every "optional" event. Not sure if it's changed, but alcohol likely to feature highly. One drink and one drink only, thereafter hold one but don't feel the need to get pissed.

PurplePiePete Fri 22-Mar-19 10:25:41

ah yes - attention to detail is clearly important and you've already answered my first question! Unlikely to be organised boozeathons in that case.

zeit Fri 22-Mar-19 10:36:42

Thanks for the advice so far, she can borrow my plain black handbag grin
She already has some very conservative outfits lined up, but may treat her to a new blouse from reiss.

There is one booze event, and I’ve already warned her to keep tight on that drink. A friend of hers did a similar first year scheme last year and got rejected from another application.... although he admits to getting sloshed at one of the dinners...

OP’s posts: |
Xenia Fri 22-Mar-19 11:34:08

Be early. Allow 30 minutes for train delays too and if necessary sit in a cafe nearly by for 30 mins if very early. Don't be late.

Don't leave in the evening until they tell you to go.

Smile. Don't disagree with people.
Wear the right clothes and have a note baook to take notes- see post above.

ideally don't look at your mobile once during the day. Keep it hidden. Take no photos at all.

Remember basic manners - looking people in the eye, saying thank you etc.

If asked to produce something in writing make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors in it.

Get on with everyone not just the people whom you think you should impress. Yes, that includes the cleaners if you see them and reception staff.

Read the papers eg Financial Times and mainstream news (eg R4 Today programme) for a week or so before hand in case she is asked about some current affairs issue.

Don't express a political view - left or right, Brexit or Remain. Be diplomatic.

May be take a sandwich in your bag just in case she is busy and no time to get any lunch.

BubblesBuddy Fri 22-Mar-19 15:06:54

Well as it’s just a couple of days (no doubt because she’s first year) and she doesn’t need to dress ultra conservative. She’s not expected to be court ready! My local young trainee solicitor wears smart cigarette pants and a shirt and sometimes a fitted knit. A top from Reid’s is perfect. DD wore LKBennett suit with cigarette pants for rounds of barrister selection interviews and tests and no-one thought that was inappropriate. Classy shoes help too! Quality and comfortable work clothes are better than cheap business suit at this stage. You really don’t have to look like you are Court ready at 18/19 years old!

Having said that, all Xenia says. Look neat, tidy and engaged. Don’t do piercings, ultra whacky hair or nails.

Have something to talk about! They often won’t talk law or politics all day. DD did 2 weeks with a regional solicitor and they chatted about career aspirations, her hobbies, the work, and seemed to want to know she was intelligent, had an enquiring mind, and had a rounded personality with the confidence to talk to clients. She chose to be a barrister but the mini pupillages were more or less the same. They don’t want robots. She’ll gave a great couple of days.

BubblesBuddy Fri 22-Mar-19 15:07:38

Reid’s - Reiss! Perfect!


Ragwort Fri 22-Mar-19 16:39:59

Exactly as Xenia says, and be chatty & confident .... don’t be like a WE student I had years ago, it was an admin role (which she knew before she arrived), she acted as though she was bored stiff the whole time, refused to answer the phone, didn’t engage with anyone at all, had an extremely aloof manner & at her ‘de-brief’ when we chatted about what her aspirations were she told me she wanted to be a brain surgeon or barrister grin. Contrast her to the bright, sparky 16 year old who was the next WE student, not much chance of getting many GCSEs but so enthusiastic & positive, we actually created a paid Saturday job for her smile.

OKBobble Fri 22-Mar-19 19:05:43

Ask questions, don't get sloshed, be interested in what people are doing.

As well as the academic and work side of things my DH and his colleagues always use the "would we want to go to the pub with them after work" test too.

zeit Fri 22-Mar-19 22:11:02

Great thank you. Will pass all the advice on to her!

OP’s posts: |
zeit Sat 23-Mar-19 12:02:13


Does your view that they’ll be watching them like hawks go for first year schemes, or just vac schemes?

OP’s posts: |
Xenia Sun 24-Mar-19 09:31:35

I suspect none of us know about the watching them like hawks for the short year 1 thing rather than a week's vacation placement in year 2. Best to assume they will otherwise why would they bother to have someone come for the day I suppose. I agree with the comments above about having something to say. The would you like to be stuck at an airport in a remote part of Russia with this person for 16 hours - are they interesting, clever etc or boring.

Also don't worry about it too much. It's only first year. My daughter only got her law firm sponsorhip for law school just after she started it (not that I recommend leaving it that late!)

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