The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is likely to have provided an unexpected change of pace to the lives of those studying and preparing to enter the legal profession. Here are our recommendations of the best things for law students and graduates to do during lockdown.
Around the world, people are being told to work and study from home due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. For usually busy students and graduates, this is likely to mean a dramatic and potentially jarring change of pace, but don’t fret: there are plenty of productive activities you can do at home that are conducive to successful studies and career development. Read on for our recommendations of some of the best things for law students and graduates to do during lockdown.
Undertake virtual work experience with a top law firm
Several highly rated law firms, including Pinsent Masons, White & Case, Linklaters and Latham & Watkins, are currently offering virtual work experience and internship placements that allow students and graduates to gain real insight into what it’s like to work in a fast-paced legal environment. Created by Partners and other leading legal professionals, these virtual placement opportunities are a productive way to spend some of your free time and will look great on CVs and vacation scheme applications. Open to all students regardless of discipline, these virtual work experiences don’t require an application, can be completed at your own pace and are entirely free of charge. What are you waiting for?
Apply for training contracts or vacation schemes
As you are no doubt aware, the spring and summer months of May through July are a hotspot for training contract deadlines. The application process can be complex and time consuming, so getting started while you have a bit of spare time on your hands is highly recommended. Application deadlines for vacation schemes - for later this year and 2021 - are also approaching, so get ahead of the competition and start applying for those too. Struggling with your applications? Our article of top tips should help you get going in the right direction.
Take part in a volunteer opportunity
There are plenty of opportunities for students and graduates to take part in volunteer work while still practising social distancing. Whether you want to provide vital support to vulnerable young people as a Digital Connector at The Mix, help blind people to navigate their daily lives with the Be My Eyes app or lend your bilingual abilities to a humanitarian cause with Translators Without Borders, there is a huge variety of ways that your free time can be used to benefit the lives of those less fortunate than yourself. Check out our recent article for more ideas for volunteering from home.
Enrol in a free online course
Some of the biggest providers of online courses - such as the Open University and FutureLearn - are currently offering many classes entirely free of charge. Whether you want to learn how to code, improve your negotiation skills, become better at communicating or even find out how to write a song, there’s a free online course out there to suit you. Either search the aforementioned sites for subjects or skills that interest you, or check out our recommendations of some of the best free online courses for legal professionals.
Prepare for your return to classes
It’s never too early to make a start on your reading for next term and never too late to organise your notes from past classes. Whether you’re a non-law degree holder set to commence the GDL conversion course, a student in the midst of your law degree or an LPC graduate ready to take on your training contract, take the time to get ahead in terms of preparation now and you’ll thank yourself when the time comes to return to your studies.
Learn a foreign language
Learning a language can be hugely beneficial to your professional development, opening up career opportunities for relocation and roles that involve international travel. In fact, the legal recruiters and hiring managers using our CV database to source talent often search for specific languages. Of course, being able to hold a conversation in German, Mandarin, Spanish or any other language can also come in useful for your future travels and holidays.
Indulge your academic side
To aid scholars, students and researchers, JSTOR, a digital library of more than 12 million academic journal articles, books and primary sources in 75 disciplines, is increasing the number of free articles its users can read from 6 to 100 per month until the end of June. If there’s a subject you want to learn more about - degree related or otherwise - simply sign up for a free account and get stuck in.
Get your finances in order for next term
With bars, clubs and restaurants shut and most people confined to their homes, you might find that a silver lining of lockdown is a little extra money in the bank. Take some time to look around for any better deals on your utilities bills or set up a savings account for any money that you would normally have spent on travelling or eating out.
Give your professional network some TLC
A solid professional network is a powerful tool in the arsenal of any legal professional, and there’s plenty you can do for yours without leaving home. From engaging with social media or writing a guest blog to planning for future conferences, our 5 ways to network from home article has some essential advice for nurturing your network during quarantine. Not yet got a professional network to speak of? Now is a great time to get started.
Start your own blog
If you’ve got a knack for writing and something interesting to talk about, why not start your own blog? Whether the content you publish is related to your studies or you write about one of your hobbies is up to you - either is a great way to get your name out there among like-minded individuals.
Indulge a hobby
Speaking of your hobbies, the lockdown provides a rare opportunity to spend some quality time doing something you love. You might want to do some painting, learn to cook new dishes, or maybe you’ve been thinking about picking up the dusty guitar in the corner of your room - whatever your passion, seize this rare opportunity to indulge it.
Visit virtual museums and galleries
New York’s MoMA, Florence’s Uffizi and The British Museum in London are just three of many world-famous museums and galleries that have opened their virtual doors for you to enjoy from your sofa. Alternatively, for those more interested in performance arts, the National Theatre is streaming free full-length plays on YouTube at the moment.
Check out a legal podcast
Why not fill some of your downtime with a specialist legal podcast like The Legal Room UK or this one from Legal Cheek? Not only are these shows entertaining, but you’ll probably learn a thing or two without having to try too hard.
As demonstrated in this article, there’s a huge variety of productive ways for students and graduates to spend their time in lockdown, but remember the importance of looking after your physical and mental health during this period. Sometimes, it’s perfectly okay to just relax and do nothing at all.