Speaking to the right people, asking the right questions and making a Law Fair a worth-while investment of time can be tricky, so the Dentons Graduate Recruitment team have kindly agreed to answer some FAQ's about how to make the most of these opportunities.
What are the benefits of attending a Law Fair for the both of you?
Alex: Law fairs are our main opportunity to engage with as many students as possible at our target universities. That's when we can get real face time with the students and they have the opportunity to ask us any questions and meet both the graduate recruitment team and the trainees.
Alice: Exactly, it's great to meet the students and we also have the opportunity to get our name out there on campus, promote our brand and distribute our Dentons giveaways!
Why should the students attend – what are the benefits for them?
Alex: Well I think there are two ways to approach a law fair for students. The first, is to go there with no knowledge at all and find out as much as you can about these firms. Or, you can have a bit of a think in advance and decide, right, what am I interested in, what kind of firms do I want to be working at, what kind of practice areas do I want to be working in. Look up those firms, have some questions in mind that you would like to know (in addition to your own research) and actively seek out those firms.
Alice: I think it is helpful to the students if they do have a rough idea of which firms they want to approach as then they are able to be more strategic in navigating their way through the sea of law firms!
So who will actually be attending the law fairs from Dentons?
Alex: It will be someone from the small but perfectly formed Graduate Recruitment team (my favourite line) and two or three trainees from our London and Milton Keynes offices.
What are your top tips for students attending these law fairs?
Alice: Bring a canvas bag to collect as many brochures and information sheets and of course, freebies- it is a student fair after all!
Alex: Yes, there will be a lot of important promotional literature there. Things like the Chambers Student Guide and the Training Contract and Pupillage handbook- they will be your big resource of all the law firms who may not necessarily be attending the fairs. Go with an open mind I would say – you might find you are having a really exciting conversation with a firm that is in an area that you really just hadn't considered. And I guess try to talk to as many firms as possible. Don't be shy – they want you to come over and talk to them.
Alice: I would also say be prepared to network because those who do make an effort at the fair are the names we remember when the applications start flooding in.
How do you think students can make themselves stand out?
Alex: For me the students that stand out are the ones who have done a bit of research and are interested in Dentons specific things. So I'm happy to chat to students who haven't done that, but I think the ones that have thought in advance about the kind of practice areas they want to be involved in and have actively come to us with firm specific questions stand out to me.
What are the advantages of making yourself stand out at a law fair?
Alex: Well, for example with Dentons, we are going to be inviting people who we meet on campus to come into our office for our Christmas networking evening. So if you come and make yourselves known to us and let us have your contact details we can invite you and you can come and learn that little bit more about the firm and meet some of our interesting people.
Are there any questions that you would advise the students to avoid asking?
Alex: Things like 'what's in it for me?', 'what are you going to offer me?' To an extent, whilst it is a fact-finding mission, you are trying to make yourself seem like a person that that firm would want to have on board.
Alice: That’s the sort of information you will find in the firm brochure anyway…I would say keep it relevant and try to show a genuine interest in the work the law firm does. You can ask about their biggest departments, which sort of clients they work with, or any pro-bono causes they support .
What research should students do prior to attending?
Alex: The Careers Service will give students information on all the firms which are attending and a little write up of each firm prior to the fair, so I think it's a good idea to have a look through that, then have a think about the firms you would like to know more about. Perhaps do a bit of research on their website about the culture, their work, the people.
Alice: Just have a general idea about their best practices, what they are known for, for example we have a massive Banking & Finance practice… And locations, what kind of things they offer, opportunities for secondments, that sort of thing.
Alex: Exactly, so for those who are theoretically quite interested in the Banking & Finance area, use this opportunity to ask the trainees: what does it really look like to work there, what are you actually doing, what kind of work are you involved in… that's how you get the most out of the law fairs.
Which universities are you going to be visiting?
Alex: This year we are visiting Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Kings, Queen Marys, Durham, Exeter, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Warwick and Nottingham.
And what is our best freebie we are giving away this year?
Alice: The travel mug
Alex: Definitely. I've already taken it on holiday to Barbados…
Any other comments?
Alex: Make the most of the opportunity – this is your big chance to meet a wide range of law firms and really get a feel for what they are like, find out about them, and in effect bring to life what they are telling you in the directories and on the websites. Enjoy!
You can learn more about Dentons, and browse their available opportunities on their profile here.