Need help making my CV more appealing to law firms


Who am I?

  • 21 year old undergraduate at the University of York.
  • Next year will be my third and final year.
  • Studying for a BA in History and Politics. On course for at least a 2.i, possibly a 1st.
  • Have AAAA at A Level — Modern History, Law, Politics and Psychology. Also have an A grade A Level in General Studies.
  • I do some volunteer work at a local school helping kids with learning disabilities.
  • I am a member of my university Philosophy Society.
  • I play sport for my university college football and volleyball team.


  • I need to distinguish myself as a viable candidate for vacation placement schemes and training contracts at law firms. (I’m also considering magic circle).
  • My grades are fine, but my extra-curricular activities and work experience are lacking.

What do I need?

  • I want to know what would take my CV from ‘good but not outstanding’ to ‘definitely worth inviting for an interview’.
  • What extra-curricular activities and work experience would impress a graduate recruitment candidate? What would kick my current profile up a good few notches?

My worries?

  • I have left this too late. I’m going to be a third year non-law student — vacation schemes start recruiting in late Sept/early Oct and the magic circle firms all have representatives at my university in an October graduate fair, yet my CV is probably not good enough to make me an interesting candidate.
  • I need to improve it as a non-Oxbridge non-law candidate to get myself a look-in.
  • This isn’t something I definitely want to do. I’m just curious, though if I decide against it then at least my CV looks bloody good if I manage to improve it a load.


  • I am considering delaying the whole thing for a year and instead dedicating this final academic year and some time after graduation to building up my CV. Which of the following would be worthwhile?

Getting in touch with law firms and asking for work experience/opportunity to volunteer.
Non-law volunteer work.
Learning a new language/improving my Spanish (five years at GCSE, still remember most of it but obv not good enough for an international law firm).
Joining some more societies at University — Law Society, History Society?

  • Any other suggestions?



If you want a Training Contract you need legal work experience - it’s something almost all of the top firms look for on your CV. Languages are also massively important, but you need to be able to speak a foreign language to a very high standard - basic Spanish is not going to be good enough to really impress, although certainly worth putting on your CV. You also really need to make your applications early - e.g. now (September - January).

I noticed you wrote this post a while ago - how are things going?! :slight_smile:


I think as a non-law student the thing u really need on ut cv is legal work experience - otherwise every single firm will question your commitment to the career.

You’ve said you’re not sure it’s for you - to be honest if that’s the case, unless you’re a v good actor, any firm that does interview you will see that. Be prepared to be grilled on why you want a legal career - if you can’t give a genuine-sounding, well thought out response you won’t get v far.

Other that that, success in applications is more than just what you’ve done but also how you can put that across. How well can you write 200 words on a time when you worked in a team? You need to make sure your answers to questions are well thought out and well presented, otherwise you’ll fall at the first hurdle.

Any of the things you’ve said above may or may not help. I’d be focussing on getting the best result possible from your degree and building up experience - pro bono, in a law firm, etc.

Good luck