Ida’s amazing tips on what to do and learn in your second year at university.


It’s hard being a second year law student. From every direction we get bombarded with emails about what we have to do and how to do it, invitations to countless amazing events and other incredible options for involvement. But how to find the time to do it all? With all these amazing opportunities for career prospects and skill expansion it’s hard to pick the best ones. It’s important to note here, that I hate any kind of adages and maxims. The top of the list is graced by “having too many irons in the fire”. I have, consistently throughout my life refused to believe that there is such a thing as having too many things to do. With regards to all the amazing opportunities at uni I wasn’t going to change, so I marched to the nearest Ryman and got a fancy Moleskine calendar. If I was to squeeze the most out of all the possibilities I would have to learn how to organise my time very efficiently, almost to the second. And surprise surprise, I was able to attend all the events I wanted, get all my work on time and even fit in some leisure time. The advice is, if life gives you lemons make a hell load of lemonade. 



1. One of the best/worst things about being in your second year, is having to apply for vacation schemes and mini pupillage. Don’t underestimate the time and energy each application will take, this is really important. Open your Moleskine, which you should already have, and organise your time. I would suggest taking a few preparatory steps to get yourself ready:

2. Go down to the reception and get yourself one of those golden little books of miracles of all City Firms and Chambers. 

3. Read it. I mean it. Very thoroughly. You’ll get a good idea of the entry requirements, types of firms, sponsorship opportunities and virtually everything you want and need to know before you put pen to paper. 

4. Take out your highlighter and highlight all the firms you want to apply to. Don’t be too picky, each firm gets hundreds of applications. The bigger the firm the bigger the competition. Don’t limit yourself to a handful of firms. But certainly don’t apply everywhere either, you won’t be able to do it, and you’ll end up with a stash of bad applications which won’t get you anywhere. Decide on a fair amount of firms. I would suggest no more than 12. 

5. Research every firm thoroughly. The most handy part of their website, is the Graduate Recruitment bit. Some firms even provide a pdf which will tell you everything you will need to know in order to apply, including core skills they will be looking for in applications. It’s spoon-feeding you success and guidance on how to write your application. Make notes on every firm you research. Get one of those mini notebooks that policeman have in mystery movies, make condensed notes, which you’ll use later on when applying. 

6. Go online, and research how to write good applications. The internet is amazing, it will show you questions, helpful tips and tricks. Be prepared. Preparation and concentration are key.

7. Write your applications. You will be spending lots of time on this. Speaking from experience, each application will take you about a week. The process will get faster by the end, because many firms use the same service which will remember your basic details, like names, schools etc. This will save you lots of time. Look at the question, dissect it: what are they looking for? how are you going to demonstrate they you have all they qualities they are looking for? My advice: be a very confident, balancing on the verge of a little cocky. They want you and you know it. Make sure you tell them why you’re the best there is out there. Make sure you reference the firm a lot, show that you know the firm, and done your research. It looks impressive and you will come across as a decisive and determined candidate. NOTE! Some questions would be repeated, DO NOT be tempted to copy paste the answer you gave another firm, it’s very obvious when you do it. 

8. Once you’ve written your applications, give them to you mum, nana, friend of a friendly Tesco cashier. Anyone who can read it, and tell you if it’s objectively good. 

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