Leeds Law School

Studying Law: Changing career in your forties

After serving nearly 17 years in the army as an officer, Ros Kearney decided to change her career path by starting a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at Leeds Law School. Read her story below.

Image of Ros Brearley

"My first career was in the army as an officer in the Royal Logistic Corps. I spent nearly 17 years in the British Army and reached the rank of Major.

I did tours of Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. When I left, my children were still very young, so I spent a few years being a full-time mum until last year when I decided it was time for a change.

I am also married to a soldier, which meant I struggled to get meaningful employment. I would get to a final interview, only to be told that despite being the best candidate, I couldn’t have the job as I could not guarantee staying long enough. This really frustrated me, so I decided to use some remaining education funding I had from the Army to part-fund my GDL at Leeds Beckett.

Ros meeting the career during her army career

Ros during her army career

Distance learning really suits me.  I can do it around the family (my husband is away a lot and I have the children to manage too). I also work part-time at a gym, which helps fund the remainder of the GDL. I have all the support I need and recently set up a remote social group with other law students, so we can socialise and support each other remotely. We share our frustrations, tips, advice and random GIFs to keep each other motivated and on track. It has helped us all a great deal, especially at the more pressured times around exams and assessment deadlines.  We even meet up for social zooms to ‘decompress’ after exams, which has been a lot of fun.  I truly feel like I’ve made some fabulous friends from all over the world since starting the course at Leeds Beckett.

The team at the Law School are always on hand through MS Teams to answer any questions. The lectures are all pre-recorded so we can listen to them at any time (such as cooking supper or walking the dog), and there are interactive activities that we receive feedback on too. The timetables are set out clearly in advance so there are no surprises along the way. It is a very stress-free way of studying, which fits in neatly around other commitments.

Whilst I am only really at the start of my law career journey, and there are many more hurdles to jump over, I am confident that the teaching and support I am receiving from the team at Leeds Beckett will stand me in great stead when I embark on the next stages of my journey, hopefully to become a solicitor."

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