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1,000 student associates!

17 April 17

Launched only in September 2016, the Society’s student associate membership scheme recently signed up its 1,000th member. What does it have to offer? We hear some student feedback

by Olivia Parker

When we launched our student associates scheme last September, our initial goal was to sign up 400 students within the academic year. While we were excited about what we could offer our new associate members, we saw that goal as a fairly challenging target. So we were beyond thrilled when, after just six short months, we welcomed student associate number 1,000 on board.

The reasons to sign up are not rocket science. If you are an LLB or Diploma student/graduate, simply complete the application form to receive a whole range of benefits tailored to your needs and circumstances, totally free of charge:

  • login to the members’ section of our website to access targeted content, such as how to write a great CV and blogs on what employers want from trainees, or what a speculative application should look like; a monthly news bulletin tailored specifically for students;
  • opportunities to get involved in outreach initiatives and become a Street Law trainer, a Donald Dewar debate judge or a careers ambassador: great opportunities to build your CV but also to develop a network of contacts in the profession;
  • access to one-to-one support from a member of our careers team; employability events, launching in October 2017, tailored to getting you that all-important traineeship.

As a student associate you can help to develop the scheme for future students. We have lots of ideas about how to grow and evolve the programme; with your feedback, we can do more.

It would be pointless to pore over the development of a support package tailored to LLB and Diploma students in Scotland, if we had no effective way of telling them about it. One of our key reasons for setting up student associates was to establish a clear and effective channel through which to talk with our students. We hope that, going forward, the scheme will speak for itself in encouraging students to sign up, so we can continue to generate more tailored content and offer more support for our next generation of solicitors. 

Two who signed up

Ryan McLaughlin, a Diploma student at Glasgow University, signed up to the scheme on day 1. So far he has become involved in the Society's Street Law programme, which involves going into schools and teaching the pupils about the law and how it affects them: “It's an incredibly rewarding experience and the pupils I have taught have all responded really well.”

What has been his best student associate experience? “Probably the student career days, which give prospective law students the chance to put questions to a panel of solicitors and current law students. The feedback from these sessions is always positive and the audience seem to get a good understanding of both studying and working in law.”

Asked why he could recommend the scheme, he replies that it has a lot to offer. “It gets students involved with the Society at an early stage and provides access to a broad range of support and information. I suspect that the resources on the Society's website are underused by students.”

McLaughlin instances the “huge number of blogs and articles” by students, practising solicitors and Society representatives. “Not only is the content engaging and interesting to read, but the variety of perspectives and subjects covered have helped to stretch my breadth of understanding. Much of the Society's work is aimed at helping students, so it is very much in any student’s interest to sign up as a student associate and reap the benefits.”

Megan O’Raw, a third year LLB student also at Glasgow, became the 1,000th student associate. She comments: “There are several things I hope to get out of the scheme. I am looking forward to meeting new people, whether they are students, trainees or solicitors, and being able to draw on their different experiences and knowledge. I also hope the monthly bulletin will help me to become more commercially aware, and intend to take advantage of some of the different opportunities on offer to learn new skills.”

O'Raw particularly values the ability to take part in activities such as Street Law and careers events, helping students to step outside their comfort zones, learn new skills and improve their confidence. “Through my experience of Street Law, I have gained many new skills and I look forward to getting involved in other volunteering opportunities as a student associate.”

She adds: “Although academia is a fundamental part of a university education, I think it is beneficial to get involved in a wide range of activities so as to graduate as a well-rounded individual fit for a career in the legal profession.”

If you have any questions or suggestions about the scheme, contact oliviaparker@lawscot.org.uk

Olivia Parker is a careers and outreach executive at the Law Society of Scotland

 

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