With many exciting groups and societies on offer at ULaw, it’s easy to meet new people and get stuck in to something new and exciting. Samara McDonald-Tavernier is currently studying the LLB at ULaw’s Bloomsbury campus. We caught up with her to learn how The University of Law is helping her on the path to reach her ambition of becoming a solicitor advocate.
I chose to study at ULaw for a few reasons. Firstly, because of its fantastic reputation as being one of the UK's longest established specialist providers of legal education, going back to its College of Law roots. All of the lecturers and teaching staff have been in practice or still are in part-time practice, and because of the brilliant employability service I have benefitted from a number of pro bono opportunities and careers appointments.
My ambition is to go into practice. I see myself taking the LPC and then going on to gain Higher Rights of Audience to practice as a solicitor-advocate.
There’s a number of people who have supported me during my studies, including:
Manveen, Employability Service — whose employability appointments are great. You can spend one-on-one time going through your CV and have a cover letter looked over by a fresh set of eyes. She has also been a great sounding board for university opportunities (such as pro bono, future career talks and any clubs or activities that may be of interest).
Salome Verrell, lecturer in European Union Law — a great lecturer and fellow chocolate enthusiast. Salome will happily answer any questions you have on the subject and provides great support and encouragement throughout your studies of European Union.
Christine Taylor, Personal Tutor — runs an open-door policy (like all other tutors) so you can pop in for a chat about everything and anything.
ULaw provide a plethora of pro bono opportunities. For example, I have participated in the student face-to-face legal advice clinic. It’s great because you’re dealing with a real client with a real legal issue; with the support of a supervising solicitor, you are enabled to provide that client with the legal advice they need, as you would as a lawyer in the working world.
Careers appointments are invaluable. People from the Employability Service can help with your CV and cover letters.
The Employability Service also run workshops which provide practical tips and advice about how to improve your employability. After my first employability workshop here at ULaw, Manveen followed up with me by sending over a detailed action plan about the extra things that I could be doing to improve my chances of success. The advice was all based on a feedback form that I had completed outlining my career aspirations and grey areas. This action plan is tailored and specific to your needs and invaluable if you follow through.
I’m currently on the Bar Society committee for this academic year and getting involved in lots of activities like mooting, client interviewing and pro bono (StreetLaw, CAB shadowing, Triage, County Court Runners and so much more). Participating in competitions such as client interviewing and mooting is a great way to meet new people, it’s not all about the winning. I’m currently on the Toastmasters International Speechcraft programme and I’ve met so many likeminded and amazing individuals by being a participant.
I’ll take away lots of skills from ULaw, especially increased public speaking and debating skills. Debates and presentations are frequently infused in to workshops. Providing that you’ve done the preparation, these are a great way of exercising your ability to think on your feet. Also, research skills — the summer Extended Research Essay in particular requires independent research on a topic within an area of law that hasn’t and won’t necessarily be taught as a module on your course. Commercial awareness too — newsletters that are sent on a weekly basis make an excellent train journey read.
My advice to new ULaw students would be make the use of every opportunity available right from the outset. Go to talks, take your CV into the employability department, sign up to pro bono. Keep in touch with your personal tutor but also establish a good study/work/life balance.
Find out more about what our Employability team can do to support you.