Transferable Skills of a Law Student

Finding your first legal job can be an arduous journey. Here, I share how you can use transferable skills to facilitate the process and land yourself a legal job.

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Law students are at the top of the chain when it comes to employability prospects. The reason for this being the transferable skills you gain during your studies. However, too often students and graduates sleep on the skills that they have worked so hard to harness! WAKE UP! It’s time you realise that your undergraduate degree and/ or post graduate qualifications equipped you with enough transferable skills for you to work in any field. This post will focus on some of the transferable skills that you gain from being a a law student. However, for those who did a non-law degree, this is equally applicable. Think wide! What did you do and learn on your degree? What skills did you have to use? Can those skills assist you in the legal role you want? If so, APPLY!

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills, otherwise known an ‘portable skills’ are the general skills and abilities that can be applied and adapted to a wide range of jobs and transferred between industries. They are developed through education as well as employment, volunteering, training, and just everyday life. Employer’s value transferable skills because of their versatility! Therefore, it is important you can identify which skills you possess and amplify them as your unique selling point.

Understanding the law

Obviously, having a law degree means that you have a good understanding of the law. This can be advantageous in the management and running of any business as the law will be the basis of any decision-making. Your understanding of the English legal system will mean that you can provide valuable advice on a wide array of topics, from contract law, company law, land law and many more. 

Even without practical working experience, you can show employers that you are right for the role by way of the transferable skills you possess. These skills demonstrate what you can bring to a role and show employers that you are capable based on your previous experiences.

Communication

Effective communication is an important asset in the transfer of information. Communication includes listening, clarifying, reflecting, negotiation and presenting. As a law student, you learn the effective use of different modes of communication. This includes verbal and written communication as well as physical mannerisms. These are developed by way of writing assignments, mooting and debating competitions, answering questions in class and making oral presentations.  All these skills which were developed and tuned during your legal studies makes you a greater asset in the work environment. For your future employer, these skills translate to you being able to write clearly, listen carefully, speak persuasively and convey information precisely.

Ability to work under pressure

Studying law can be extremely rewarding but equally challenging! Very quickly, you learn how to work under pressure; having strict deadlines, expected to digest a huge amount of information quickly and make decisions based upon that information. The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on academics. The Bar Standards Board (BSB) published a report that less students were completing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) since the pandemic. Considering the changing times, with students having to study remotely and take online exams, that pressure has been multiplied! If you have still managed to excel during these times, first, applaud yourself! Secondly, recognise that this is a skill that is invaluable to future employers. 

Research, analysis and evaluation

All three of these skills work hand-in-hand. As a law student you are required to research and gather information which you must then analyse, evaluate, and conclude, based on the facts and findings you were presented with.  How do these translate into transferable skills? Your ability to absorb information and make sound decisions and recommendations based on those understandings is going to be useful in any job. In law, you learn to make decisions and reach reasonable conclusions based on the evidence! These skills are an asset employers as it shows that you can be decisive and make judgement calls using logic. 

Apply your transferable skills for success

Standing out when applying for jobs is not always easy. However, recognising the transferable skills you have and being able to apply them efficiently, surely will go a long way in ensuring you are recognised and able to make advances in your chosen career path. Even without practical working experience, you can show employers that you are right for the role by way of the transferable skills you possess. These skills demonstrate what you can bring to a role and show employers that you are capable based on your previous experiences. You can purchase a Blessing at the Bar Skills Journal to help you keep track of all your skills here.

Importantly, do not forget that these tools are invaluable. You should as often as possible, exercise use of these skills to retain competency and gain further development. 

I hope this advice heightens your awareness of the key skills you possess and aids in making your job hunting process easier and successful. Read our post ‘Where to find legal jobs’, to assist in the next step of job hunting!

P.S. Become part of the Blessing at the Bar Community and receive our exclusive Bar Mail Newsletter. Also, subscribe for 10% off your first Shop B at The Bar order!

Nicole Taylor

Nicole Taylor

I am a future barrister and currently work as a paralegal as well as an editor at Blessing at the Bar. Although I have not reached my final destination, I am a firm believer in helping those behind me climb up the ladder. I hope that through innovative posts, I am able to motivate, inspire and educate you!

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