The Law Fair 2022 – prepare to meet employers

Law Fairs are a great opportunity to meet and network with legal recruiters and trainees. The Warwick Law Fair for Autumn 2022 is part of the Warwick Law Expo and will take place on campus on 25th October 2022. This in-person event will comprise three zones: Law Live is a series of presentations, workshops, skills sessions and CV advice; The Law Fair (around 40 exhibitors) provides the opportunity to talk directly to representatives from law firms/other legal employers; The Law Lounge is an informal support area supported by the careers team. Many law firms attend national Law Fairs hosted by organisations like Legal Cheek, LawCareersNet and AllAboutLaw. You’ll find details of all these events on the Law School’s Student Hub (Events). 

If you’ve not attended an event like this before the idea of talking to a stranger can be daunting.  Remember employers attend our events because they are interested in recruiting Warwick graduates.  They want to talk to you and will appreciate your being prepared. This is just another conversation – you can do this. Perhaps you attended events like this in the past but didn’t feel that you got what you wanted. Preparation is key and will enable you to present yourself positively and get the information you need.

You’ll all be at different stages so think about your progress so far and the questions you need answers to.  You might want to get a feel for different types of law firms and what it’s like to work there.  You could target trainees working at different types of firms (e.g. international, national, US, regional) to find out how the work and culture differs. Perhaps you know the type of law firm you want to work for and want to get a deeper insight into the work of the firm, how trainees are supported and involved and the specific deals and cases they’ve worked on.  

The next step is to find out who’s coming and decide who you want to talk to using the Warwick Law Expo event information. As well as targeting firms that already interest you it’s an opportunity to find out about firms you haven’t heard of before. There will be profiles on all the employers attending with brief details and a link to their website.  Review these, identify firms that you would like to talk to and think about the questions that you want answers to. Go for quality not quantity (researching a firm takes time) and use your research to draw up a shortlist (e.g. around 5).

If you’re stuck for questions to ask here are some ideas to help you. You could ask trainees/firm reps:

  • about their experience including role/projects involved in
  • the culture of the firm, what it is like to work there
  • areas of work/training
  • pro bono work and trainee involvement
  • approach to diversity and inclusion
  • secondments – international offices, client secondments
  • training contract process.

Other questions might focus on:

  • firm achievements, future trends and developments
  • major challenges for the firm
  • typical career path for a trainee
  • opportunities for personal development
  • how long the trainee/rep has worked there; what they like about working for the firm; how their career has developed
  • social activities & community engagement.

Dress smartly on the day. Decide how you will introduce yourself (keep it brief). Wait your turn and remember smiling goes a long way and helps build a connection with the person you are talking to. Your facial expression and tone of voice are important and will shape the impression you create so be professional, friendly and polite.

Make sure you have your questions noted down and refer to them if necessary. Remember to thank the person at the end of the conversation. Before you move on make a note of the firm, who you spoke and what you found out (you might want to refer to this later in applications and interviews). If they offer further support then thank them and make sure to follow up with them after the event.      

Valerie Matthews-Lane

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