Outside of daily studying, it is important for any law student to become involved in different activities in order to develop both personally and professionally. Involvement in a law society can be a great way to practice your legal skills, get to know more of your peers, and have a lot of fun. It also looks great on your CV, especially if you can get a committee position on one of the societies. Here are a few of the best legal extra-curricular activities to get involved in.
Mooting is your chance to live out your dreams as a practising lawyer, in the safe confines of law school. During a moot, you get the opportunity to pit your wits against opposing law students, just like in a real case. Students get to prepare bundles on a problem, orally present their submissions before a judge and answer any questions that get thrown their way. For any aspiring barristers, mooting is essential practice, and can also be a lot of fun.
Do you have a burning passion for justice? Then the innocence project may be for you. Students involved in the innocence project are involved in real life cases, supervised by members of their faculties. The project aims to overturn the convictions of clients that they believe are innocent and have suffered from a miscarriage of justice. Students work in small teams to manage cases, review reports, and write applications on behalf of clients. Innocence project cases are very serious, often involving harrowing situations and damaged clients. However, it is an immensely rewarding experience and provides students with insight, experience, and the chance to provide justice.
In a similar manner, FreeLaw allows students to give real life legal advice to clients. Students work in a clinic alongside a supervising solicitor, providing advice on diverse matters from employment law to contract law. Again, this represents a rewarding experience and gives law students the experience of life after law school. It is further a great chance to gain an understanding of the type of law in which you would like to work later.
If neither the Innocence Project nor FreeLaw suits your tastes, other legal volunteering can be a great way to give something to your local community. There are a wealth of volunteering opportunities out there, in diverse fields from refugee work, to victim participation in the judicial system. Legal volunteering outside of the university framework can be a fantastic way to get out of your comfort zone and see how the real legal system works. It also shows great initiative, something that is sure to go down well with future employers.
European Law Students Association
ELSA is a pan-European law student run organisation, providing a wealth of opportunities across the continent. Joining your local society is a good way to broaden your horizons, and meet students from diverse backgrounds. ELSA societies often give members the opportunity to join them on a number of activities such as trips, talks and even international competitions. Moreover, ELSA members get discounted access to the organisation’s famous summer schools all over Europe. For the internationally minded student, ELSA could be the gateway to global opportunities.
Finally, if none of these activities interests you, then you can always just start your own society with some friends. This would allow you to tailor the activity to your personal tastes, and would look great on your CV!