Leeds Law School

Reflections on my first two years as a mature Law School student

Hello, I’m Brad, age 23, studying the Law LLB here at Leeds Beckett and this is my story. In 2015, I finished my A-Levels and was given an apprenticeship as a Car Sales Executive. In this job I was subjected to some gruelling tasks but not a moment goes by that I am not thankful for the skills I gained. From customer care to showroom etiquette, I was taught the basics and beyond of a good salesperson.
Leeds Law School student Bradley Graves dressed in tux at law event.

One year later, I am now working for a national sales and lettings estate agency as a negotiator. The big change between my previous employment and this was the skill of, what’s called, 'Sales Progression'. This required me to be acutely organised and directly focused on maintaining the relationship amongst all parties (seller, purchaser and solicitors for both sides) and guiding the legal transaction through seamlessly. 

It was in this job that I realised I wanted to become a lawyer. I would visit the law firms my clients instructed and be captivated by this world of work. After three years in real estate, I decided to pursue my dream and apply to law school.

Before arriving at Leeds Beckett in September 2018, I did have some concerns. One being the fact I had been out of education for some time and was worried about adjusting back into student life, i.e. revising, exams and timetables. Another and more prevalent concern was the thought of leaving my professional career and making friends in a new city. These worries were imminently put to bed on my very first day in the Law School. Not only did we all get a friendly welcome from ‘Dev’ (the Dean of the Law school who insisted we address him as such), but also a warm welcome from the whole Law School teaching team who advised us that no matter what we did before; what we studied or where we worked, our development and learning started on day one of university and we were all in the same boat. 

I have now just finished my second year of study where I was also President of the Student Law Society; I would strongly encourage anyone who is studying law to join this student society. Not only is it a fantastic addition to your CV, but you meet friends and attend events that expose you to the outside legal world. During my term of office, I hosted an evening for aspiring solicitors with a speaker who is now an associate at Baker McKenzie, had barristers from three different chambers provide mentoring support and even had a sitting judge come speak to Law Society members about his career at Bradford Combined Courts. I was also lucky enough to secure a space of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple’s competitive Pegasus Access and Support Scheme, which will help me with my journey to becoming a barrister.  

Another highlight of my year was securing a place within the Law School’s professional mentoring scheme. The Law School pairs you up with a professional in practice where you meet your mentor outside of university and shadow them in their place of work. I was lucky enough to be paired with a fantastic employment law barrister, who is a Leeds Beckett alumna from Park Square Barristers in Leeds, where I would attend court and meet clients. I now regularly conduct legal research for her employment law blog and have even chosen to study Employment Law as one of my final year electives. 

My advice to any mature students looking to come to Leeds Beckett and study law is to think about everything I have mentioned in the blog above and look at the Leeds Law School blogs. You will find multiple accounts from a whole range of students saying the exact same thing…that attending Leeds Beckett is the best thing they’ve done and the support is second to none. 

If any mature students would like to reach out to me, I am more than happy to speak to you and you can find me on LinkedIn. 

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