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CHOIX YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS!

Many thanks to Georgia Horrocks and Zara Khan, LLM LPC Students at the University of Law – Leeds for this guest blog post written following a workshop by the Choix team at the University of Law.

As law students, making an impression with a firm can be the stepping stone to a successful career, which is what the Choix Team emphasised at their recent workshop.

WHO ARE CHOIX?

Established to meet the specific needs of professionals within the sport, entertainment and media sectors, Choix is a unique concept that brings together a number of specialist, ‘best in class’ organisations providing a bespoke service delivering their expertise to a variety of leading figures in the entertainment, media and sports industry. Choix, delivered an insightful talk titled: ‘How to be Career Ready for a Life in Law!’ lead by Stephen Lownsbrough, Deborah Ogden and Andy Boyde for a range of students, which helped us prepare for a career in law.

WHICH LAW FIRM?

Stephen, who has been named in the Legal 500 for over 15 years for Sport, has worked within the sports industry for over 38 years and is well-known for his work in sports law, both regionally and nationally. He began the talk by emphasizing the important of researching the firms you apply to for a training contract. It is necessary to find out what areas they practice in – many of the larger firms rarely dip into private client work, so this can impact which type of firm you apply for.

The Legal 500 and Chambers guides give a good feel for the different law firms and what to expect from each one, but ultimately the best way to find out if a law firm is for you is to experience it for yourself.

Stephen touched on the importance of being in control of your reputation, a topic which all three speakers emphasized throughout the talk. People tend to buy into others they like, so it is important to be in control of situations in order to display your best self.

PERSONAL BRAND

Deborah Ogden highlighted and explained the importance of a ‘personal brand’ and how to make an impact. Deborah, a trained lawyer and previous College of Law student in York, has over 15 years’ experience working with top athletes and well known sporting clubs. Her role entailed aiding in the enhancement of the brand, and she stressed how important this was to us, as law students.

The first 5 seconds of meeting someone are crucial to making a good impression. You will be instantly judged and assessed by a person’s gut reaction, which is why it is so crucial. It can take up to a further 20 meetings to change a poor first impression, a worrying thought! A first impression includes a person’s appearance, how they sound and even their smell! Deborah also emphasized just how important a solid handshake is – a good handshake includes palm contact and direct eye contact. She spoke about how your body language can send out a message, so it is important to send the right one. Walk into a room with a purpose and act like you are meant to be there, as body language is an outer expression of what’s going on in the mind.

Deborah struck a chord with the students and emphasized the need to embrace our individuality. She shared a fun way for us all to express ourselves before an interview and that need every law student has to have a ‘power pose’. Standing strong for 2 minutes before an important meeting can subconsciously increase the positive receptors in the brain. She also suggested everyone should have a ‘smile file’, which is a small collection of positive messages you have received, whether that be comments on a piece of work, a tweet, an email, and so on. The file is a consolation for when you have a bad day, that can give you an extra boost to carry on.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Lastly, we heard from Andy Boyde, who is a former professional rugby player, and has used his specialism within the industry to qualify as a Solicitor.

Andy showed us the importance of being socially aware of what we post and the consequences of this. 4 out of 5 employers will check your online presence, and first impressions are often before you have even walked through the door. He emphasized the need for checking privacy settings, as everyone knows it isn’t just you who can add images or post comments on your profile.

A professional image needs to be carried across all social media platforms, not just LinkedIn. However, employers know we are all human and use many social media outlets, so we should not completely hide ourselves, but ensure pictures and statuses are not inappropriate. Andy went on to show us his profile, to demonstrate what he meant. He showed us how an old photo of him drinking and socializing with his friends can crop up unexpectedly. Contrast this with his current profile picture, a professional head shot, which makes him instantly look astute.

CONCLUSION

The workshop emphasized the need in doing research of each firm you apply to, as the firm you pick is as important to you as the trainee they pick to them. One of the best ways to put yourself in front of law firms is to network. Remember that there is no perfect moment to break the ice, be confident in yourself and you have nothing to fear. However, do your homework with the firm before approaching them, and ask interesting questions, in order to leave an impression with the representative you spoke to. With more competition than ever, it is absolutely necessary to stand out, by developing your personal brand.