Lizzie Fane, Feb 8th 2016, 15:20 Verified Guru
It is WONDERFUL to hear that you might consider becoming a lawyer-linguist - what an incredible career path! It is hard, hard work, but worth EVERY second, as you will see from these articles we have on the site about this career...
- EU careers insider: Working as a lawyer linguist for the EU Court of Justice
- Working as an English-Language Lawyer Linguist in Luxembourg
- Mary studied abroad in Geneva and Germersheim and is applying to be a Lawyer-Linguist at the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg
Everyone who tells you can't do what you want to do in life can stuff off. Honestly, what do they know?! I have seen even the most unlikely people do just the most incredible things. Truly.
I think your first mission should be to put your teacher who's in charge of Careers in touch with the amazing Duncan Piper who and runs The Unreasonables. It's a school leadership programme, and it's totally brilliant. Entrepreneurs come and speak about our interesting jobs alongside all of Duncan's AMAZING insights, and I reckon it's pretty inspirational in terms of realising what a BRILLIANT individual you are, and what you have to offer.
If you are the sort of person who is fired up when someone tells them they can't do something, it sounds like you would make an excellent lawyer! Channel all of that energy into doing things like related free online courses taught by reputable organisations/universities, e.g.
- How to succeed at writing applications
- How to succeed at interviews
- Net that job: How to write a CV online
- Global Systems Science and Policy: an introduction
- Why the European Union?: A brief history of European integration
- Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World
Do work experience in your summers, keep your German going by every means possible - definitely trips to stay with penpals in Germany or do immersion courses out there in summer schools - watch German films with/without subtitles, try the Google Chrome extension Mind the Word, ask students and grads for advice on our jobs boardTYAanswers.com, listen to Stephen Fry reading the unabridged Harry Potter books, while reading the unabridged German translations of the books (I did that in Italian, and it worked like a dream!), come to the next Language Show in London, subscribe to a German Word A Day to your inbox, and ENJOY your language. That's the main thing. The more you can be absorbed by the culture, the more you will enjoy a German language-related career path, and it will make all of the Law exams worth it.
You've certainly chosen the BEST language for getting a European Commission job, according to the interpreter and translator we heard speaking, so nice work there!
All that's left to say is that if you know what you want to do in life while you are still at school, you are SO MUCH more likely to get there (with some grit and determination!). That's how people become astronauts and doctors - they HAVE to know that's what they want to do SO early on, so that every stage of their CV screams out that they would make an excellent trainee. That's what you can do too! Hone everything you do towards your dream career, find people with your dream job and follow them on Twitter or read their blogs, research the application procedure and requirements - and do things to make your application stand out (like studying/working abroad), and then by the time you finish your degree you will be in the perfect position to apply, and head and shoulders above the other applicants because you've known what you want to do for so long.
Sabrina Louise, Feb 11th 2016, 15:36
Hello! I studied languages at school (French and German) and then carried on to study both at university. I've recently secured a training contract with a big international firm in London (commercial, but I reckon this will apply for EU too), and wish I had started thinking about these things a lot earlier! Thought I'd drop some pointers I picked up through the recruitment processes:
- Languages (and time spent abroad) always help set your application apart. If not because they want to make use of your languages, then at least out of curiosity as to how you found living in Paris/Berlin/etc., handy for interviews. And I always included on my CV that I speak French and German, as well as 'always keen to take on a new one'. A lot of employers like linguists because they can tackle new languages as well, which helps put you back on par with natively bilingual applicants.
- Try getting some work experience abroad (either legal/business/translation). On every application I did for a big law firm they asked: 'Why do you want to work in an *international* law firm?' or something along those lines, which will surely come up for lawyer-linguist roles. It was easy for me to answer as I've studied abroad, done a summer school abroad during university, and done some work experience abroad - as opposed to 'I like the idea of travelling...' And for law, get as much work experience as you possibly can - a week here and there from early on will do wonders for applications - I wish I'd figured out earlier that I wanted to do it!
- And just on a personal level, if you like languages - having one really helps conquer the rest! I've just started Arabic lessons and although it's pretty challenging with the new script etc., I don't feel half as lost with it as if I hadn't already learnt other languages!
Also remember with law that you really don't have to study law at university to pursue it. Most firms take about 50/50 law/non-law applicants. So if something else takes your fancy, don't be afraid to study that and convert (it only takes an extra year, funded by a firm if you apply at the right time). What's most important is that you study something you really enjoy, so that you'll commit to it - they don't really mind what you study, but they do want to see high grades in whatever it is! If you go that route just make sure to keep up to date with legal news/extracurricular activities during your degree, and you really won't be at a disadvantage!
Hope some of that helps - feel free to comment any specific questions :)