“Is there any work experience, other than within law, that would benefit an aspiring solicitor who is eventually hoping to bag a training contract?”
The simple answer is yes. Saying that, the type of experience that is best for you will depend on the area(s) of law you want to specialise in and your preferred employers. Many organisations offering training contracts value experience gained in non-legal roles as much as that obtained in a legal setting because you’re still likely to develop skills that are easily transferable to law. You’re also more likely to spend longer in such roles compared with the typical two-week legal placement / vacation scheme. Where possible, aim to target sectors or employers that are relevant to the area(s) of law you’re most interested in. For commercial and corporate firms, roles in accounting, banking or finance are most useful / relevant. Most legal employers will also value customer services experience and any ‘office-based’ jobs that help you to develop team working, organisation and time management skills as well as resilience. Finally, don’t forget voluntary work can be just as valuable as paid placements and holiday jobs. After all, future employers are more interested in the skills and experience gained rather than the nature of the employer per se.
For more ideas and suggestions for alternatives to law-related placements check my blog: No vacation scheme? No problem.