Preparing law graduates for the future
City University London has introduced a compulsory Graduate Market and Employability module for all LLB Law first year students.
The module was developed to bridge the gap between the protective educational environment and the demands of professional life. It is designed to encourage students to engage with careers planning and improve their ability to learn independently.
Margaret Carran, Director of the LLB Programme at City University London, commented:
"It is necessary for law degrees to equip students, not only with the skills required for the legal sector, but also for alternative professional careers. A strong academic qualification is now a pre-requisite for a successful job application; employers expect self-aware applicants who demonstrate the flexibility and resourcefulness needed for the continually changing global market".
The module draws on a combination of traditional career frameworks and a student-centred educational approach. It incorporates independent study units on Moodle, lectures from careers professionals, talks from practitioners and panel sessions with the City Law School alumni who have pursued careers within and outside the legal sector and are now working for organisations, such as Linklaters, Pump Court Chambers, Willis Re International and PwC Legal. Bespoke employers' workshops have been delivered by three law firms, Macfarlanes LLP, Freshfields and Allen & Overy LLP.
The combination of lectures, talks and self-directed units are designed to encourage students to engage in self-reflection and empowers them to manage their own careers. It was developed in conjunction with Senior Careers Consultant, Marlon Gray, Careers Consultants Laura Hooke and David Gilchrist and Employer Liaison Coordinator, Karolina Czarnecka from City University London.
Having graduated with an LLB Law degree from The City Law School herself, Karolina commented:
"I wish the Graduate Market and Employability module existed when I was in my first year. The LLB alumni I have spoken to in the last few months felt the same way! It is such a beneficial addition to the curriculum and would have helped me realise at an early stage of my studies just how many interesting career paths are open to law graduates, both in and outside of the legal sector."
Margaret, Marlon and Karolina presented a paper on the introduction of the module at the 2014 Socio-Legal Studies Association conference in April. Over the past 21 years, the annual SLSA conference has expanded to become one of the most prestigious international events in socio-legal studies.
The report presented thematic analysis of the findings from a small qualitative focus groups carried of LLB students. It showed the module had a positive impact on students' behaviour, perceptions and their own career management planning and their attitudes towards and satisfaction with the overall programme.