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Volunteering during your law degree

In an increasingly competitive job market, finding ways to stand out to firms is important during your law degree. Volunteering not only looks good on a resume but allows law students to give back to the community while studying. Let's take a look through the many benefits of taking the time to volunteer.

Practical Training

During a law degree, there are limited opportunities to put your knowledge into real life practice beyond what you learn in lectures. While this is all important, having the ability to apply your knowledge and build on it while getting valuable experience will make you a better law student, and ultimately a better job applicant and lawyer. This practical training is likely to teach you far more than what you learn in a textbook. So if you’re looking to take your legal education to the next level, volunteering is a great place to start.

Increased Employment Opportunities

It is easy for your resume to be lost among the hundreds of others that law firms get, it is important you can find a way to be memorable to increase your chance of employment. Finding a volunteer position that either builds on or establishes a new skill will give you another point on your resume, which can set you apart from another student applying for the same job or clerkship. Volunteers develop interpersonal and administrative skills, as well as communication skills that lawyers need when interacting with clients. Employers look favourable on these skills and simply the act of volunteering anywhere shows them a commitment to community and helping others.

Provide Assistance to Others

By volunteering you provide help and assistance to members of the community who might not get that help if it wasn’t for volunteers. The costs of legal assistance in our community can prevent people from seeking assistance with these matters and leaves them disadvantaged. By volunteering, you can make legal services more accessible and assist in the daily lives of everyday people, to ensure that they are not left behind in the legal system. Even something as simple as providing someone with advice can make a huge difference to an individual.

Find Areas of Law that Suit Your Interests

There are many areas of law and volunteer positions that are available to law students, so you can use volunteering to explore different practice areas. There are many organisations that allow volunteers in the early stages of their degrees, meaning that you can start to explore areas of the law right from the beginning of your degree. You may be able to find a position that is in an area of law that particularly interests or challenges you. Thinking about the types of law that you might want a career in once you finish your degree can be a good place to start when looking for a volunteer role.

With these benefits of volunteering in mind, we encourage you to volunteer your time, not only to make a huge difference to the people around you, but also for the personal gain you will receive.

For more information on finding volunteer roles, check out the DLSS’ Volunteer Handbook.

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