I was recently asked why it’s important to attend a firm’s Open Day or Insight Evening prior to applying to the firm’s Vacation Scheme or Training Contract. Here’s my answer –
1 – Culture
You may be able to find out about a firm’s culture and values on their website. However, you cannot fully experience and appreciate a firm’s culture and values until you actually visit and meet them. It is like a vibe and you can feel yourself clicking with certain firms straight away whilst not clicking with others. Until you attend firms’ events you won’t know which firms you like and which ones to apply to.
For example, a firm may have a pizza making event to demonstrate their open and creative culture. At these events, you will usually get to meet a wide range of different people within the firm, all of whom can offer different insights into the firm. This is incredibly useful in gaining an insight into the firm’s working environment.
You cannot experience and learn about a firm’s culture unless you experience it first-hand!
2 – Current works
Depending on the type of event (this tends to be the more formal ones) you may be presented with a case study of some of the work the firm is currently carrying out. Whilst you may gain some information about a firm’s current clients and work on their website, these events tend to offer a more detailed insight, with the opportunity to also ask questions.
This is particularly advantageous in developing knowledge of the firm, sector knowledge, and general commercial awareness. It can also be used to demonstrate a more in-depth understanding of the firm’s work in your application for a Vacation Scheme or Training Contract.
3 – Application tips
You will be able to find information about the firm’s application process at law fairs and their website. However, in my experience, these events typically include some application hints and tips specific to the firm. You will also have the chance to directly ask questions to members of the graduate recruitment team and clarify any issues you may have with the process.
Remember, firms tend to have different application processes so it is always useful to find out more about specific applications.
4 – Networking
Finally, a crucial aspect of these events is the opportunity to network. You will generally have the chance to meet partners, solicitors, trainees, and the recruitment team and this is an invaluable experience to build up your professional network. View the event as a chance to ‘get your foot in the door’. You may well be working alongside these people in the future.
Never underestimate the power of networking!
Top tip – Always ask if you can connect with the people you’ve spoken to on LinkedIn, so that you can keep in contact with them.
So, now that you’re convinced to start attending Open Day and Insight Evenings, you may have to go through an application process as spaces at the event may be limited. Check out this blog on writing Open Day applications to get started!