“WHAT is a set of chambers?” was one of a barrage of questions fired at exhibitors at the Graduate Law Fair by enthusiastic lawyers-to-be.
More than 4,000 students interested in the law flocked to the fair, which was held at the Barbican and organised by The Lawyer.
Some were so keen to get an edge on their rivals – or were so desperate to see Cherie Booth QC open the event – that they were spotted queueing at 7am in preparation for the opening.
Exhibitors, who included law firms, chambers and colleges, said they were overwhelmed by the number of graduates, aged anywhere between 14 and 72, seeking career advice and information.
“Here is my CV, when can I do a mini-pupillage?” enquired one optimist.
Another, clearly a pessimist, asked: “At 38, am I too old to consider a career in law?”.
The Lawyer spoke to some of the students.
Naveeda Ramzan, a second-year law student at the University of East London, said: “I originally wanted to be a barrister. Being a barrister is appealing because of the status surrounding the profession.
“But I am keeping my options open, and will probably do the legal practice course.”
Jonathan O'Meara, a fourth-year law student on a sandwich course at Brunel University, said: “I chose law because I have an interest in solving problems and protecting individual rights.
“I have already had two placements at a legal aid firm in South London and an employment law firm because you have to have experience – a good degree is no longer enough. The solicitors' side of the profession appeals because of the teamwork involved.”
Neil Bennett, a second-year law student at Northampton University, said: “I have always been interested in doing law. I was a policeman for seven years and ideally I would like to practise at the criminal Bar, having had relevant experience and worked in the courts.”
Florence Folami is on the Legal Practice Course at London Guildhall University.
She is applying for traineeships and said: “I opted for law because I think I have the relevant skills, such as the ability to solve problems and attention to detail. I would like to be a solicitor – anywhere.”
Rebecca McLeod, a third-year law student at Anglia Polytechnic University, said: “I chose to do law after sitting in on a lecture during my A levels. My preference is to be a solicitor, possibly in a regional firm.
“I want to speak to law firms to find out about what they do, what they are looking for and what they want from us.”