Maximising Career Growth: Exploring Different Types of Law Work Experience

Law work experience allows you to really see if it’s the right path for you before committing fully. You can get a taste of different areas like corporate law, criminal defence, family law and see what appeals to you. Avoiding a rude career awakening down the road is priceless.

In my humble opinion, getting out there and logging quality experience in the law field is pretty much mandatory if you’re aiming for a career in it. The advantages are numerous!

For starters, it allows you to actually apply what you’re learning in the classroom to real-world situations. You get hands-on training that simply can’t be replicated by reading textbooks. It’s like finally getting to play the video game after watching all the walkthroughs.

It also lets you start making connections and networking with legal professionals.

Having that face time could end up being invaluable when it comes to finding internships or even scoring your first job down the line. It’s all about getting your name and work ethic out there.

As for routes to take, don’t be afraid to cast a wide net. Larger law firms, smaller practices, corporate legal departments, government legal aid—immerse yourself in as many environments as you can handle. That diverse exposure will make you such a well-rounded prospect.

The key is being proactive about seeking out opportunities and not being afraid to start small. Even something like shadowing a lawyer for a week could open up future doors.

The Advantages of Law Work Experience

Getting practical, real-world experience is pretty much fundamental if you want to thrive in the legal field. It’s pretty much a requisite these days if you want to get your foot solidly in that door after graduating. The head start and exposure you gain is invaluable.


I think one of the biggest benefits is simply getting a realistic glimpse into what a career in law actually entails day-to-day. You can read all the textbooks you want, but there’s no substitute for being in the trenches and seeing the ins-and-outs firsthand. It’s like getting to test drive your dream car before signing the papers.

Gain familiarity with things

Work experience also lets you start building up familiarity with things like legal terminology, documentation, court proceedings—stuff that can be pretty dry when you’re just learning about it in class. But seeing it applied in the real world makes it much more tangible and meaningful.

Soft skills

From a skills’ perspective, these sorts of hands-on opportunities allow you to start developing critical abilities like client communication, file management, attention to detail—soft skills that can really set you apart once you’re looking for jobs down the line. You start getting socialised into the culture and cadence of legal practice. Work experience also forces you to start developing some professional etiquette and conduct that they just can’t teach in a classroom.

Making connections

Plus, and this is huge, work experience is pretty much THE best way to start networking and making connections in the legal world. You never know, when rubbing elbows with a firm’s attorneys today could pay dividends with an internship or job opportunity down the road.

Stronger resume

And of course, having relevant experience on your resume instantly makes you a much stronger candidate in such a competitive field. It shows future employers that you’ve got the drive, skills, and commitment to back up your education.

Specific areas of legal practice

Another major plus is that it allows you to start homing in on specific areas of legal practice that really pique your interest. The field of law is just so vast—you’ve got corporate litigation, family law, criminal defence, real estate law, and about a million other specialties to explore. 

By sampling different environments through internships, clerkships, shadowing opportunities and the like, you can get a true taste of what each niche is like before fully committing. It’s like being a free agent, getting to try out for all the teams!

That first-hand exposure could help you discover a surprising passion for something you hadn’t previously considered. Or prevent you from heading down a path that turns out to not be a good fit at all. Better to realise that sooner than later, you know?

More prepared coming out 

It’s almost like getting a head start on your career while still in school. You’ll start building competencies that will make you dramatically more prepared coming out of the gate as a newly-minted lawyer. Talk about a leg up on the competition!


Speaking of competition, having substantive work experience also makes you stand out tremendously when it comes to scoring internships, clerkships, and ultimately longed-for job opportunities. Firms and practices are going to eat up those applied skills and proven commitment to the legal grind.

Just Do It, as much as possible

Basically, you’re doing yourself a huge favour by front-loading as much practical experience as humanly possible. Every little bit helps stoke your passion for the field while allowing you to refine your focus and separate yourself from the pack.

It’s a total win-win! Immersing yourself in the real-life ops of law practices will transform you into a stronger, more marketable candidate. And it’ll give you the insights to ensure you’re funnelling your energy into the area that genuinely excites you. 

Law Firm Open Days

Law firm open days are honestly an excellent way to start getting your feet wet and gathering that invaluable experience! I’m all for using every opportunity available to start making connections and learning about different practices.

Those open house events let you go beyond just reading about a firm online or in brochures. You get to see the inner workings up close, interact with the attorneys and staff, and get a much better sense of whether a particular firm’s culture and focus areas are really a good fit for you.

I always recommend treating them as a chance to start developing relationships, too. Be that eager beaver asking insightful questions, showing off your enthusiasm and hitting attorneys with that Puppy Dog Energy™. A great first impression can easily parlay into future internship opportunities if you play your cards right.

Judge Marshaling and Court Visit Experience

With marshalling, you essentially get to go behind the curtain and see all the backstage choreography that goes into court proceedings running smoothly. You’re getting exposed to the strategy and preparation that stellar litigators put into every case they bring before the court. It’s like getting to be a fly on the wall for the whole pre-game process.

From there, you can take those insights and apply them when you attend actual court sessions and hearings. With fresh marshalling experiences, you’ll have a much deeper appreciation for all the meticulous manoeuvres attorneys make—the subtle objections, calculated lines of questioning, masterful witness coaching. It’s a grand theatre, but with very purposeful, high-stakes performances.

Seeing that level of advocacy and persuasion on display live is incredibly impactful. You start getting a feel for identifying strengths, weaknesses and potential pivots in each side’s case as it dynamically unfolds. It’s like watching a master magician’s show and trying to anticipate and reverse-engineer all their sleight of hand tricks.

The insights you’d gain from marshalling and observing would be exponentially more valuable than just reading case studies in a textbook. It’s practical learning and mentorship of the highest degree.

You’d also get exposure to a variety of different judges’ temperaments, communication styles and courtroom policies too. Knowing how to deftly adapt and cater your approach based on those individual quirks is pretty much the cheat code to effective lawyering.