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University College Dublin has a global reputation as a top university. Having recently hired a UCD history graduate for our 2013 trainee solicitor scheme, we decided to visit UCD’s recent law fair to explain what we offer and see if more students there might be interested in applying to join us.
Compared with some other Irish universities, UCD law students have an advantage as they graduate with a qualifying law degree for England & Wales. This obviously gives them more options on where to pursue a training contract.
Arriving at the UCD law fair, it was a lot more intimate than some of the law fairs in the UK. While Nottingham, or Oxford, for example have rooms of exhibitors, UCD managed to fit us all into one room in their Student Union building, which really helped to attract students to the event.
As you might expect, there were lots of Irish firms at the fair, along with some of the top international firms. This gave us a fantastic opportunity to have a look at the freebies offered in Ireland, not just the UK for a change!
The students at UCD had certainly prepared for the event. All arrived with clear questions in mind, and with the objective of collecting information, rather than just the freebies. Many of the students were torn between training at the large firms in Ireland, or moving to London for the international opportunities that a lot of the City firms offer. Their questions, therefore, centred on the international opportunities, and comparing the work they could expect to see in London, against the work they would see in Dublin. Many of the students were not just considering this for their training contracts, but for their future careers.
Following the main law fair, we ran a workshop about writing covering letters and interview techniques to give the students a taste of what they could expect when applying for training contracts. Feedback from those who attended showed that they had little or no experience of writing covering letters, and found it hard to know what the content should be, so found the session useful in guiding them on how to prepare and structure the letters. Similarly, the interview session helped the students to understand the type of questions they may be asked at interview and how best to prepare answers for these questions.
The law fair and workshop which followed showed that there are plenty of graduates potentially interested in a move to London for the right role. By giving the students the information they require, they can make an informed decision about the best place to train and develop. We will certainly be going back to UCD, and look forward to hiring more Irish graduates in the future.