ULaw alumna and Trainee Solicitor Tabitha Lee studied the LLB and LPC LLM with us at our Guildford campus. We caught up with Tabitha to discuss her time at ULaw and why she decided to stay on with us to complete her postgraduate studies.
I chose to study at ULaw because when I attended my first open day back in 2016 (1st year of college), I felt that the tutors really wanted to know more about me, my interests, hobbies etc. I felt as though I was a name and not a number. I loved how the new LLB course had been designed to include advocacy skills and that you were assessed in various mediums; this played on my public-speaking skills and coursework. For me, choosing a qualifying law degree was VERY important. Having had the goal of becoming a lawyer since the age of 11, I realised what better place to complete my studies than at The University of Law. The fact that all the tutors at the Guildford campus had trained and previously been solicitors or barristers really brought the practical feel to the course. It made lessons more enjoyable because the they could include examples of their time in practice, including difficult clients, court experiences, or under time pressure.
I chose to study at the Guildford campus because it is the most beautiful ULaw campus, set in the Surrey hills. The history of Braboeuf manor dates back to 1586 and, at school, I was very fond of history. The grounds cover 25 acres, so it is lovely to sit on the crochet court during the summer months, eat your lunch, and socialise with other students across different courses At Guildford, you really get the personal touch. During my four years, I built good friendly relationships with the student information team, facilities team, library team, canteen staff and even the Covid testing team towards the end of my studies. Everyone on campus is so friendly and always willing to help. In my first week, I completed a library session to learn the researching systems, and Ruth (Head of Library Team) was so helpful and would always respond to any questions I had quickly. During the pandemic, Ruth even organised a book to be delivered to my house from the Chester campus, at the University’s expense.
The buildings at Guildford are amble size, very comfortable and warm. In the Denning Building, we have a new common room, which is modern, fresh and a great location to network and socialise with other students. It offers places to study, eat and complete video calls. Guildford has a modern LRC, which has loads of independent and group study spaces, you can always get a seat and these rooms are warm and cosy.
We also have a canteen on site, which is very spacious and offers a great selection of hot and cold food. The staff are amazing.
The beauty of Guildford is that it has a free car park; this was very important to me as I commuted to campus for lessons. This meant I could also stay later at class and bring any extra books or folders that I required for lessons.
ULaw offers the LPC LLM, which is the qualifying course to become a solicitor. I chose to remain at ULaw because, throughout my 3 years, I had built long lasting relationships with the teachers and support staff. If I ever had a problem/question, I knew exactly who to ask. Additionally, ULaw has previously trained so many lawyers since 1876; ULaw is a reputable provider and well known within the legal profession.
I also took advantage of my Alumni discount of £500 for the LPC LLM, and I plan to use the discount for the Profession Development courses.
I used the ULaw Employability Service all the time. During my induction week, we met the team and I got to know them very well. I created and edited my CV with advisors every few months and I completed training contract applications and mock training contract interviews with staff. The team offer a wide variety of pro-bono and volunteering opportunities; for example, I volunteered at Victim Support for three years, attending court as a Court Marshall and hosted talks for heads of big legal departments. These are all helpful extra things to add to your CV.
I also registered with the employability portal, which displays job opportunities, talks, webinars and seminars. The ability to search for jobs that other candidates couldn’t was an amazing resource. I also had job notifications sent to my University email, which was very useful, and can make the mammoth task of job seeking a lot easier.
ULaw offers a very practical sense of teaching from the start of the LLB. We were taught about remedies and the process of advising a client. You are taught in practical terms; write a letter, write a memorandum, conduct a presentation. These are exactly the type of tasks you complete as a Trainee Solicitor. This teaching style makes the LPC ten times easier. The LLB course is almost designed to mirror the LPC. Your core modules on the LPC are Real Estate, Dispute Resolution and Business Law, which are modules you study on the LLB. The course content is very similar, so many LLB students who further their studies with ULaw will find the LPC a bit easier.
The tutors are invited to include their past experiences at large groups meetings and workshops; this makes lessons more exciting and engaging. But most of all, the tutors know what they are talking about. They have practiced law, so they have first-hand experience of legal practice. Honestly, this is the best type of tutor anyone could ask for, in my opinion.
I am so glad I came to ULaw; I was offered so many amazing opportunities during my 4 years. With the Student Association, I became class representative and vice-president for the Guildford campus. With the Student Recruitment team, I became a student ambassador, an online representative for Unibuddy and The Student Room, and hosted virtual and face-to-face talks on behalf of the University. With our local junior lawyer’s division, I became the student representative.
I really feel that I would not have achieved a first class degree if I hadn’t studied at ULaw. I cannot thank the University enough for the help, support and opportunities they have given me during my four years there. As a young woman, I have developed immensely; now I can talk in front of thousands of people, network with people of all ages and have gained skills in sales and marketing.
Over the next two years at the end of my training contract with GBH Law, I am hoping to qualify into property law. I wish to continue my work with GBH Law, as the team here are very friendly, approachable and are lovely people to work with. I would also love to become more involved in community/charity projects for local organisations. Thinking 10 years down the line, I would like to head up my own team and manage others. I would also like to take on my own trainee and assist students with work experience opportunities. I have even considered the possibility of becoming a law lecturer/teacher, as I thoroughly enjoyed education and the best way to give back is to transfer my knowledge to the next generation of lawyers.
I am proud of achieving first class honour in my LLB and a Distinction in my LPC LLM. Similarly, I am proud of becoming the vice-president for my campus and attending Student Parliament. I advocated for a new common room to be installed on campus, which was successful. The new common room is a great social area for students and was a much-needed upgrade to the campus.
My advice to anyone joining ULaw would be to make sure you are organised. A law degree is not only about being academically minded, but it is also about managing your time correctly. Students who manage their time and allocate time for preparatory work, reading and extracurricular activities will achieve far more at degree level. I would also recommend consolidating each week, do not leave this until the last minute as this will get on top of you. As a tip, I found making colourful A3 sheets & mind-maps extremely useful. I would then block book a whiteboard room at University and blurt these on the whiteboards to cement the law and cases in my head, ready for the exam. Creating exam structures is very useful too; the tutors will suggest these to you during lessons, so definitely make a note of these and use them in your exams. I am a dyslexic student, so having these stored in my mind was so useful to help with writing advice tasks during assessments.
My last top tip for students would be to be proactive; get involved in everything. Make the most out of your time at university and grab any opportunities you can. I am so glad that I did this and I hope that prospective students will do this too.
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