Work Experience in Northern Ireland

Despite legal work experience being traditionally difficult to obtain - especially if you have no connections to the legal profession - a wealth of programmes exist to provide work experience for aspiring lawyers from less advantaged backgrounds. The majority of these programmes recognise that unpaid work placements are simply not possible for some students, and so come with a salary. However, for the sake of completeness, this page includes paid, unpaid and voluntary work experience opportunities. 

If you have not had any legal work experience or are struggling to succeed with your applications, do not underestimate the importance of non-legal work experience! It provides you with a wide variety of transferable skills and life experience which law firms value. 

 

Please note that many law firms - especially high street firms - accept speculative applications. If there is a firm you are particularly interested in, just e-mail or hand in your CV with a cover letter!

Click on the buttons below to find information relevant to you.

 

 Prospective Law Students

PRIME
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PRIME is a collection of leading law firms who have undertaken a commitment to promote social mobility in the legal profession by offering work experience to young people in Years 3 to 4, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth. These placements generally last around one week and involve shadowing a lawyer, attending meetings and assisting with research tasks.

 

There are criteria which must be met, including:

  • Attending a state school 

  • First generation to attend University 

  • You have been or are: in receipt of free school meals or Education Maintenance Allowance; a full or part time carer; in the UK as a refugee or asylum seeker; attending a school with below average Higher attainment or with a low rate of progression to higher education 

 

More information: https://primecommitment.co.uk/for-students

Civil Service Placements
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A range of opportunities are available for school students across the 9 Government Departments. These include placements in administrative, management, scientific, technological, professional, legal, medical, engineering and IT related areas.

 

More information:

https://irecruit-ext.hrconnect.nigov.net/Default.aspx

Virtual Work Experience
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The following law firms offer virtual work experience through InsideSherpa:

More information:

https://www.insidesherpa.com/

Pinsent Masons
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Pinsent Masons offers a week of work experience to school pupils which not only provides an insight into life as a lawyer, but also enhances your CV. The week involves support from a supervisor, shadowing lawyers and attending presentations.

The firm cannot cover travel or accommodation costs.

 

More information: 

https://graduate.pinsentmasons.com/your-route-into-law/work-experience/united-kingdom/

Cleaver Fulton Rankin
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Cleaver Fulton Rankin offers school students the opportunity to attend a one-week work placement at the firm. This provides an insight into working at a commercial law firm, as well as first-hand experience of the court environment.

 

More information:

https://cleaverfultonrankin.co.uk/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/careers-brochure.pdf

Mock Trial Competition

In the Bar National Mock Trial Competition, school students take on the roles of barristers and witnesses and present their case against teams from other schools. First they have to become familiar with the case. Then they have to battle it out in real courtrooms, in front of real judges, providing young people from schools across Northern Ireland with advocacy experience and an insight into the law and the legal system.

 

The Northern Ireland Regional heat is held in the Royal Courts of Justice in November every year with students from across Northern Ireland competing for a place in the National Final.

 

Students are coached by barristers who volunteer their time to attend schools throughout Northern Ireland on a weekly basis. Barristers meet with the students and their teachers to coach them at school, bring them to visit the courts, and help them to prepare for the competition.

 

More information:

https://www.barofni.com/page/helping-the-community

 

 Undergraduate Law Students

Open Days

For current law students, many law firms run Insight Days, Networking Brunches and Open Days to provide you with a brief insight into the firm. These are run throughout the year, and generally require a small application form to be submitted. This is a great way to get noticed by a firm, experience their culture and decide if you would like to work with them in the future. 

These opportunities are usually advertised on a law firm's social media channels so keep an eye out!

Vacation Schemes & Mini Pupillages

Aimed primarily at law students in their third year of study, vacation schemes are the main way law firms recruit future trainee solicitors. The scheme usually takes place in the summer and can have a duration of between two and eight weeks. Most placements are paid at a competitive rate, but check this before applying. 

Application deadlines are generally in December and January.

LawStart
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A&L Goodbody’s LawStart programme is designed to provide first and second year law students with an insight into the firm and to help students decide whether to pursue a career in corporate law.

 

Students will shadow a trainee solicitor, receive a tour of the office and an opportunity to network with current solicitors, and receive application and interview advice from the Graduate Recruitment team.

 

The programme lasts for one day, and the insight gained will assist students with their applications for Summer Intern or Summer Placement Programmes in the future.

 

More information:

https://www.algoodbody.com/careers/trainees-interns/trainee-intern-programmes-dublin

Law Centre

The Law Centre Northern Ireland offers legal advice and representation on: benefits law, employment rights, nursing home and long term care at home, mental health law, trafficking and labour exploitation. They work for progressive change in these areas and also support refugees through our policy work.  

 

By empowering frontline advisers in their advice work through specialist training and information, the Law Centre can help advise those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

 

The Law Centre Northern Ireland is currently seeking volunteers.

 

More information:

https://www.lawcentreni.org/careers

Virtual Work Experience

The following law firms offer virtual work experience through InsideSherpa:

More information:

https://www.insidesherpa.com/

Cleaver Fulton Rankin
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Cleaver Fulton Rankin offers university students the opportunity to attend a one-week work placement at the firm. This provides an insight into working at a commercial law firm, as well as first-hand experience of the court environment.

 

More information:

https://cleaverfultonrankin.co.uk/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/careers-brochure.pdf

Bar of Northern Ireland

The Bar of Northern Ireland seeks to match up law students with a barrister to gain work experience.

 

More information:

https://www.barofni.com/contact/form

Children's Law Centre

The Children’s Law Centre is a leading children’s charity in Northern Ireland which works to protect the rights of all children but particularly, those who are most disadvantaged. They provide free legal advice and representation for children and young people.

 

The Children’s Law Centre are happy to receive enquiries regarding current opportunities for volunteer positions.

 

More information:

https://www.childrenslawcentre.org.uk/index.php/members/volunteer-opportunities

Housing Rights

From helping to deliver advice services, to raising some money for Housing Rights, volunteers play a vital role in helping Housing Rights achieve their vision - when everyone has a home. Students can volunteer in a variety of areas including: legal; administration; delivering advice; and policy research.

 

More information:

https://www.housingrights.org.uk/volunteer

 

 Postgraduate Law Students

Bar of Northern Ireland

The Bar of Northern Ireland seeks to match up law students with a barrister to gain work experience.

 

More information:

https://www.barofni.com/contact/form

Children's Law Centre

The Children’s Law Centre is a leading children’s charity in Northern Ireland which works to protect the rights of all children but particularly, those who are most disadvantaged. They provide free legal advice and representation for children and young people.

 

The Children’s Law Centre are happy to receive enquiries regarding current opportunities for volunteer positions.

 

More information:

https://www.childrenslawcentre.org.uk/index.php/members/volunteer-opportunities

Virtual Work Experience

The following law firms offer virtual work experience through InsideSherpa:

More information:

https://www.insidesherpa.com/

Law Centre

The Law Centre Northern Ireland offers legal advice and representation on: benefits law, employment rights, nursing home and long term care at home, mental health law, trafficking and labour exploitation. They work for progressive change in these areas and also support refugees through our policy work.  

 

By empowering frontline advisers in their advice work through specialist training and information, the Law Centre can help advise those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

 

The Law Centre Northern Ireland is currently seeking volunteers.

 

More information:

https://www.lawcentreni.org/careers

Housing Rights
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From helping to deliver advice services, to raising some money for Housing Rights, volunteers play a vital role in helping Housing Rights achieve their vision - when everyone has a home. Students can volunteer in a variety of areas including: legal; administration; delivering advice; and policy research.

 

More information:

https://www.housingrights.org.uk/volunteer