My co-op experience as a law student

In this Blog, Sonya gives her advice to prepare for the co-op work experience. With this programme UL gives its students the chance to get practical experience working in their chosen field.

My Experience

Like most students, I was excited to go on Co-op during my third year. I was very well prepared and had my mind set on securing a placement in one of the law firms. However, having failed the first interview, I was devastated. It was one of those global law firms that many of us law students would hope to work in and gain valuable experience from. I kept my hopes up and continued to work hard in preparing for my other interviews. I also attended 2 mock interviews with 2 very experienced and helpful Coop Officers. After 3 failed attempts, I started to panic as the supposed commencement date of my Coop was getting closer. Besides, most of my peers were getting their placement and here I was questioning what I did wrong. My Coop officer assured me that my CV was being picked up by a few other employers and that sometimes it wasn’t what I did wrong, but some employers may decide after the interviews that they didn’t want to take on any Coop students at all.

Finally, I was offered a place in the Courts Service. To be honest, I was still hoping that I had a chance in a law firm instead. I kept an inquisitive mind nonetheless as I started my placement. After 6 months of being in this office, I must say that I would not have enjoyed the same hands-on court experience if I were to work in a solicitor’s office. I had the liberty to be exposed to the various legal sector rather than a narrow area of law. From criminal to civil and family law, I saw how cases were initiated from the start to finish. I witnessed interesting jury trials and dealt with people of various backgrounds such as the judges, gardai, lawyers and members of the public. I especially enjoyed all the workshops that the Courts Service had arranged for their interns. Networking with my peers could not have been easier that way.

My Advice

  1. Avail of the support available!

Take the initiative to book an appointment for a mock interview and be prepared for it.

  • Keep an open mind.

The thing about Coop is that there is no guarantee that you will get what you wish for, and this applies to all life events. However, some things may be a blessing in disguise and some opportunities arise when you least expect them.

  • Rejections happen.

We often celebrate successes but are not always taught about how to deal with failures and rejections. Failure is inevitable and sometimes it is not entirely our fault. So, there is no need to beat ourselves up for it. We can always reflect on our performances, take the necessary actions to improve and learn to move on.

  • Discuss with your Coop Officer.

Reach out to your Coop Officer to discuss any doubts or queries that you might have. I cannot emphasise how supportive these officers were, and they might give you a better sense of direction when you think you’re losing the plot!


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