My three years flew by…
The Law School has so many opportunities not only to enhance your CV, but to enjoy your time on the course. I’d like to share a few of the highlights of my degree at Leeds Law School.
First, there are lots of modules to choose from at the Law School; there’s something for everyone. The final year is made-up completely of electives and so you have a free hand in your third year to pursue the areas of law that interest you the most.
Two of my modules were the Law Clinic module and the Day-Release Placement module. The Law Clinic involves interviewing clients under the supervision of qualified solicitors and writing letters giving legal advice. This helped me develop my interpersonal skills as well as my professional writing skills and it’s a great way of learning how to work with different groups of people. You never know what legal problem you will have to deal with until the day, making the experience even more rewarding.
The Day-Release Placement module gives you the chance to work almost anywhere you want for one day per week for a semester. You do have to organise the placement yourself, but the Law School has great connections and they will point you in the right direction. I was fortunate enough to secure a placement with a barrister who was a Queens Counsel (QC), meaning I spent one day each week in court attending murder trials.
Mooting is another highlight. Mooting consists of mock court cases, where you pretend to be at the Court of Appeal arguing over points of law. The University hosts an internal competition, where tutors take their own time to judge and run the moots. I was fortunate enough to make the team to compete in the external competition against other universities around the country. Apart from providing work experience, this is a great way to get some useful experience as an advocate and practice your written and oral skills. It’s not just something to throw on the CV but can in fact make you stand out against other law students. The Law School even provide wigs and gowns and have a mock courtroom facility making the experience as realistic as possible.
Whilst mooting is an extra-curricular activity, the Law School also offers an advocacy module. This was a particular highlight for me, and I spent each seminar, bar one, up on my feet performing as an advocate. I would really encourage prospective students to take this module, as it not only gives you experience as an advocate but is genuinely really great fun. You could be doing anything from a bail application to cross-examination. I remember learning how to do a plea in mitigation, where you try to persuade a judge to pass a lesser sentence; this came in handy when I was given 40 minutes to prepare one for my interview for the Bar Practice Course!
The student Law Society has also helped me enjoy my time at the Law School. Run by students, it was a great way of socialising with everyone on the course outside of the classroom. The Law Society Ball is a popular event attended by well over 150 students and tutors each year. It’s always a really great night and has such a reputation that even non-law students attend each year.
Another opportunity made available was the Access to the Bar Award, which I was given on behalf of Middle Temple (one of the four Inns of Court in London). The award aims to improve access to the bar for students who come from non-traditional backgrounds. Each university can select up to two students and I was fortunate enough to be one of them. This year, 80 students were interviewed, and I was lucky enough to be one of the 25 who won an award that consists of a two-week placement and £500. I also received a Chancery Bar Association award, meaning I will spend a week with a judge and a week with a barrister in London. I really benefitted from the support offered by the tutors and careers advisors who helped improve my CV and my interview skills.
In July, I will be interviewed for an Inns of Court Scholarship to fund my studies next year. These interviews can be robust, but thanks to the Law School I am feeling prepared. The Law School’s Dean, along with an expert from London, gave students a mock scholarship interview, which is another excellent opportunity we are all so grateful for.
Overall, tutor support on the course is unmatchable. I didn’t find the jump from college to university easy and was so used to the college environment that I found the independent learning challenging at first. However, with support from tutors, I was able to achieve above and beyond what I thought I would. I have been able to get on with tutors at Leeds Law School so well, on both a professional and personal level. I am extremely grateful for their care and encouragement throughout.
Victoria Greenhalgh, Level 6 LLB student