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Student voice: An interview with Alex Lima

After a hugely successful Instagram Takeover, one of our students, Alexandra Lima, is here to tell you more about her experience at The University of Law. Alexandra is currently studying the LPC at our Moorgate Campus in London and has ambitions to work in commercial law.

ULaw’s reputation and the reviews I received from friends and alumni made me want to apply. The open day was also insightful and really helped me to be confident in my decision. The Moorgate campus itself is situated right in the centre of London and is surrounded by law firms and businesses. I felt it was the best place to take the final step before becoming a trainee.

The flexible options within the courses at ULaw also helped with my decision. There are a variety of course duration options such as full time accelerated, full time or part time. I opted for the full time course which has allowed me to complete the LPC within 1 year. Finally, the option to gain a further Master's degree whilst completing the course (at no extra cost) was an opportunity that I could not turn down.

I want to specialise in commercial law. Commercial law will allow me to apply my problem-solving abilities in order to advise companies on business-related issues. Furthermore, it will be a good opportunity to put in to practice my negotiation and project management skills.

I found the application to be straightforward on the CAB system. Here are some tips to help you with yours:

  • Before starting to sit down with your CV, ensure you have all of your work experience, grades etc. in one place so that the application can run smoothly.
  • Within the application you are guided to provide details for a suitable referee who is able to provide a reference to support the application. This could be a current or recent academic tutor for example. I would suggest emailing or speaking to individuals who you would like to be your referee in advance.
  • Spend time on your personal statement section- to take your time and type it out on a word document and then paste it into the application box, as it will be much easier to organise your thoughts and ensure you are happy with what you have written.

The first few weeks of the LPC were challenging but I adjusted to the new style of learning with enthusiasm. Content-wise, I didn’t feel that the LPC was much more difficult than LLB however the majority of the learning on the LPC is independent in nature. After you complete reading, watch lectures and complete practice questions, you attend workshops which further test your knowledge.

At postgraduate level you have to be driven and self-disciplined in terms of completing all of the work required. Organisation is also key. Workshops should be filed and organised weekly in order to best prepare yourself for exams. A ULaw postgraduate law degree is geared towards skills that you would need in practice, and builds upon the foundations of law that you would already have a sound knowledge on. Personally I have found the LPC more engaging than my LLB degree, it has made me feel prepared and excited for work as a trainee solicitor.

After completing the 4 compulsory modules in term 1, I chose 3 electives; Advanced Real Estate, Family Law and Commercial Law. These are some of the areas of law that I will be completing seats in during my Training Contract. You are usually advised by your firm to choose electives that will set you up well for when you start as a trainee. If you don’t already have a training contract, considering electives is a good time to research practice areas that you are genuinely interested in, which will help you to tailor any applications you may make.

The exam structure is an accurate representation of life as a solicitor. The LPC course at ULaw involves a number of open-book style exams which show what being a trainee solicitor will be like; after all, you wouldn’t be expected to remember every single rule and detail in practice.

During the course of the LPC you are assessed at different stages. In term one, there are some ‘practical’ exams such as interviewing and advocacy that take place within the first term as well as some Multiple Choice Exams which assess part of the module ‘Introduction to Legal Practice’.  At the end of the first term you sit open book and closed book exams on the ‘core’ modules. In your second term you complete the electives and are assessed on the elective content through File Management Tasks (50% of the assessment) which you complete and hand in and final exams (the remaining 50% of the assessment) at the end of the year. If you have chosen to study a masters option this will also be assessed through the second term and will involve a research report/presentation.

ULaw has a range of ‘profession focused’ and ‘practice related’ extracurricular activities. These activities can provide you with practical advocacy style skills as well as a real understanding of commercial decision making through the business activities. The careers and pro-bono service which is geared towards helping gain legal experience, include giving legal advice, shadowing, public legal education and providing external support units for partner organisations.

Be proactive and open-minded when searching for legal experience to strengthen your CV. Go to as many talks, conferences and networking events as you can. Any chance to listen to or speak to a legal professional should be taken, and further contact via sites such as LinkedIn are fundamental to future prospects. It is important to have a polished, professional and up-to-date LinkedIn profile which you can use to connect with those in the legal sector. Have confidence- do not be afraid to ask whether there are any potential opportunities for work experience within a firm or even to meet for a coffee and a chat.

My top tips on securing a training programme are:

  • Do thorough research into firms before applying, try to identify their key values and what they look for in employees
  • Look into the firm’s competitors or find a recent case they have been involved in
  • Be able to demonstrate how your transferable skills would make you the ideal candidate
  • Keep up to date with current affairs, work on building your commercial awareness as this will likely be of use for applications and/or interviews
  • Go to networking events and try to make contact with individuals from firms you want to apply to. Having a name to mention on an application is always an advantage
  • Know how to sell yourself- firms are looking to invest in you, so think of an application as a business pitch.

 

Discover more about studying the LPC with us and follow us on Instagram to see more of our student takeovers.