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Patrick is a postgraduate student at BU, studying Graduate Diploma in Law, who writes about preparing for the jobs market and taking a Law pathway after his first degree in English.

Choosing a career after university can seem like an impossible decision to make. What you may not realise is that many of the skills that you are learning during your degree are transferable to other professions. Here at Bournemouth the Graduate Diploma in Law offers a fast-track route into law that is designed for people who already have an undergraduate degree in another discipline. I started this course in September and have been surprised at how useful my English degree has been in equipping me for a career in Law.

It’s not just legal skills, but people and life skills that law firms now look for

I’ve been using the Careers Service at Bournemouth and they can give you plenty of advice and support to help tailor your future applications towards the career you are interested in. They can also point you towards plenty of great opportunities open to you during your undergraduate degree. Taking advantage of these will be valuable in gaining the experience you need on your CV.

One example is the Personal Support Unit (PSU), a charity that supports those facing court alone and always needs volunteers. This is a great opportunity to throw yourself into the ‘deep end’ and get a grasp of what it may be like dealing with clients. Many people arrive at the PSU with a lot of information they have received from the internet, which has made them feel more anxious than  necessary. With the support of the PSU, they can feel supported and closer to a resolution.

Volunteering to gain skills and experience

Volunteering at any legal charity will give you the opportunity to deal with a wide variety of clients and to demonstrate a willingness to take the necessary leaps to learn and develop. With the evolving challenges presenting to modern law firms through developing technology, these will be necessary traits to have.

Understanding the changing legal market

An easy way to see how law firms are changing, just look at twitter. Burges Salmon’s twitter feed, for example, is active and dynamic, frequently posting community initiatives and blog articles for followers to read. The tone is informal and friendly, and shows a more ‘human’ side to the firm.

Law firms will also want you to be outgoing and ready to throw yourself in at the ‘deep end’. Use your CV to show these skills can be utilised in your career. Darlingtons’ website, for example, includes video clips of clients and people describing the firm. This personal and informal approach is effective in encouraging trust and breaking down some of the formalities often associated with solicitor firms.

So think about what you’ve got to offer. Maybe you have got involved with videos on your media project, or a presentation in front of a big crowd. Seek out opportunities to develop your CV so the when it comes to applying for your ideal job you can show that you could have what it takes to be a lawyer in today’s market.

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