Researching Law Firms: Beyond Average

Researching Law Firms: Beyond Average

Researching Law Firms:
Beyond Average

Table of Contents

One of the key skills I mentioned in my previous post is that the ability of knowing yourself can be foundational to researching law firms more effectively. The advantage of this is that it allows you to focus your research and go beyond average in your applications.

Armed with a better idea of some of your own personal goals, areas of interests and strengths, I believe that the search for the right firm for you becomes easier. It is good to note here that bearing in mind your goals and strengths, you are trying to find out if this is a firm where you’d like to work and would fit in.

A question I often get is, apart from going to open days/evenings, how else can you get to know a firm as part of this research? This is totally understandable as not everyone can always attend or have access to such events.

Compared to when I first started there are now more ways than ever to do a deep dive into what a law firm is all about and help you in your decision making. In this post I discuss some of my sources and ways of going beyond average.

The Power of Professional Social Media

  • Linkedin

I would advise any aspiring young lawyers and professionals to not underestimate the value of a good LinkedIn presence. You never know who is looking/will come across your profile. For example, my first job weeks after graduation came because my then manager found me on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is also a good virtual store for business card connections during networking events. It provides you with a neat way (and excuse) to continue the conversation after these events. Thereby helping to keep you on the radar of whoever you’ve connected with. That being said, please don’t just hoard connections for the sake of it, do your research and cultivate relationships.

In terms of searching for a law firm, LinkedIn can also be a great place to find out about the thought leadership of the firm. Often lawyers will post articles on their areas of expertise. Reading such blogs can be a great way to signal that you’ve gone deeper. And if you’ve got a genuine interest and question, it might provide a conversation starter to message that particular author and ask them more about their views etc.

You can also use it as a way to find out who the recent trainees and offer holders are. Where possible reach out to them with well researched and targeted questions. Bear in mind people are often stretched for time, so don’t be disheartened if you get no response or someone can’t help at that time, there are plenty of opportunities to find that right person. Ideally find someone you might have something in common with e.g. went to the same university and use that as an in.

  • Instagram

Many graduate recruitment teams are now starting to participate in the legal blog community on the platform. This can be a great way to get to know the firm in a less formal but personal way that’s not intimidating. It’s a neat way of getting a better glimpse of the culture and people at the firm. Usually they organise Instagram takeovers where trainees and their lawyers talk about their journeys, experiences, and day to day job.

Also if you can’t get to an event, some graduate recruitment accounts often host Instagram Live events and Q&A sessions. The best part is that most of them do really make an effort to connect with their audience and provide you with the information you need. It can be a great way to get your name know among the graduate recruitment team. But also as a reminder make sure that your social media presence is sensible.

As well as that, there are also many individual accounts from current law students, aspiring lawyers to actual lawyers sharing their experiences too. I share mine @londonlawstudent.

  • Youtube

YouTube of course is another great resource to get the stories of recent law graduates, current trainees and content created by graduate recruitment teams.

Here you can hear about individual journeys and experiences and it often provides a more candid snapshot of what you might expect in your own journey. You can also follow mine at London Law Student.

Again, all of the information you might be able to gain from all of these sources can not only inform whether a firm is right for you, but it’s a great way to demonstrate that you’ve made an effort to connect to and get to know a firm.

Events: Outside of the Box

Lastly of course there’s always the route of attending events. However, not everyone can always get onto the open days/evenings. The good news is firms also put on other events that aren’t specifically targeted at graduate applicants.

Most firms put on breakfast meetings and industry specific events on trending topics in various specialist areas. Often these can be found under the events tab on their website, can be free and aren’t restricted to just lawyers or clients.

The plus side of being the only aspiring lawyer at such an event is that you’re not competing for attention because usually you are the only one. It can be a great way to get a different perspective that other candidates may not necessarily have.

As a rule of thumb at events, contrary to what the over keen candidate may make you feel, you don’t always have to be talking or trying to sound smart. People love talking about the work they do, so ask a good thought out question and actively listen. That can be far more valuable.

The legal industry is also a business of relationships. Don’t be afraid to leverage social media to begin building connections and touch-points as you begin your journey.

Beyond Average

Lastly, my personal favorite.

Firstly, I would do a deep dive into the news reports over the last 6 months – skimming this, try and spot what has been the main commercial awareness factor for that firm? What is impacting them? What are they worried about? Who are they watching? What is affecting their clients?

Second, firms often set out a vision or strategy over the long term. Try to find out when they last set out their last 5 year strategy or 10 year plan. Assess how does this line up with where they are now, are they meeting that goal? This is the kind of information you can signal in your application to show that you have really thought about why that firm, given those factors.

Lastly, think business. Search for their annual reports, their corporate social responsibility reports, their financial reports. At the end of the day firms are also a business, and like any business they often set out their goals, strategies and performance in such reports.

On their websites this can often be access via their footer menu or nested somewhere in their ‘About Us’ sections.

This is the kind of information I used to demonstrate a beyond average why law, why me and why this particular firm in my most successful applications.

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