Law is both an interesting and popular subject offered at university. Now you’re at the end of Year 12, it’s time to consider what to include in your personal statement to make you stand out to universities. Here are a few options you can consider to help boost it.
Three Law firms, Pinsent Masons, Linklaters and White and Case Law are all running virtual work experience through the platform Inside Sherpa. (View on Chrome if you are having difficulty accessing this). Each course lasts between 5 to 6 hours, so ensure you commit yourself! Yes, it will be out of your comfort zone but at least it’s giving you exposure to a legal environment that you can access from the comfort of your own home. There are other work experience opportunities available through Speakers for Schools – discuss these with a teacher first as some opportunities may require you to live in specific boroughs. Barclays Lifeskills are also offering virtual work experience at Freeformers, a Digital Transformation agency, although not a law firm, you can still consider and reflect upon the transferable skills gained, should you undertake this programme. It is worth creating a record of what you learn during these experiences, such as what you found interesting, what challenged and surprised you and to detail the kind of projects you got involved in, as doing so will make it easier for you when you write up your personal statement.
Contacting a Legal Professional
Not everyone will know a solicitor or other legal professional personally. It takes guts to pick up the phone and ask to interview one about their job. However, it is another way of gleaning information, which you can evidence as inspiration for studying Law. For a list of UK Law firms you could potentially contact, click here or try solicitors in your local area. It may be easier to make initial contact by email (it breaks the ice!) so see it as an opportunity to write a cover letter-style email and attach a CV. Introduce yourself, describe what you are currently studying, include your career aspirations and explain that you would like to talk to a legal professional by phone to find out more about their career path. Also, include a list of questions you would like to ask. For examples of CVs and cover letters, click here. If you do not get a response, follow it up with a telephone call. The worst they can do is say no, but don’t take it personally, they’re so busy with cases!
The summer break is the perfect time to start researching different legal cases, so use the internet to research publications, journals and other reading material such as the free online material from Gray’s Inn here.
Enrol on courses to get an understanding of the legal system such as the Introduction to English Common Law MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) offered by the University of London on the platform Coursera. You can also search for pre-recorded online lectures available through Gresham College such as Family Court in Lockdown or Women Lawyers: Equals at the Bar? Or keep up with what’s happening in the legal world by listening to The Radio 4 podcasts, Law in Action.
There are also plenty of free online courses available through the Open University and FutureLearn and documentaries such as The Briefs (Real Stories) will give an insight into Criminal Law. However, it’s worth remembering that Criminal Law is only one part of what you will learn whilst studying a Law degree. To practise as a legal professional, you should ensure that your chosen degree course is a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD), which will teach compulsory aspects of the Law. Therefore, as well as Criminal Law, your course must also cover subjects such as EU Law, Property Law, Trusts and Equity, Law of Obligations (Restitution, Tort and Contract Law), Procedural Law and Constitutional/Administrative Law (known as Public Law), so get a head start and start researching these over the summer!
Other activities and tips
Fancy being a judge and giving sentences? Have a go at some of these interactive activities and learn about different types of crime on You Be The Judge. You can access free online events through Eventbrite that will give you further insight into Law such as Careers in Law on 10th July and Get into Law School on 26th September. You may also want to start up your own debating club with friends in order to help you formulate, develop and deliver arguments – a highly useful skill for aspiring legal professionals. Joining youth forums are also a great way of getting your voice and opinion heard. For further information about some that are out there, try The British Youth Council. You could also start your own book club to evidence your enjoyment of reading, write a blog about your own interests or enter writing competitions as an extra-curricular activity, click here for further information on current opportunities.
All of the above will enhance your research skills, which for Law is an essential skill, so enjoy!
For further advice on your personal statement, email: firstname.lastname@example.org *Always be cautious and check any online forum or employer with your teacher or people at home first, as your safety is paramount!