After several years of working as a sound engineer and performing in a band, Aaron Kirsopp decided he wanted a more challenging career. He enrolled at our Bristol campus to study the LLB in 2018 but has not given up on his ambition of working in music. We caught up with Aaron to discuss his dream of becoming a solicitor within the entertainment industry and how we are supporting his ambition.
I chose to study at The University of Law because, compared to all of the Russell Group universities I had first set my focus on, its contemporary and commercial focus approach to the LLB was different from the traditional law degree I was familiar with. As well as being the top provider of law degrees in the country, ULaw’s innovative approach to the degree demonstrated that I could get a deep and practicable understanding of how a lawyer approaches work from the very beginning of the degree, rather than years later on the first day of my LPC or training contract.
My ambition is to qualify as a solicitor within the entertainment industry. I’d like to work for one of the leading industry firms in London or Manchester. Or perhaps qualify for the New York Bar and then work as an attorney in the United States. I aspire to work on artist contracts, multi-million record and publishing deals or work in negligence within live events.
When I think of ambition, I think of being relentless, disciplined and pro-active in the pursuit of an end goal, rather than motivated. Motivation is temporary, while discipline is habitual.
I have achieved one of my career ambitions already. Within my first year as a law student at The University of Law, the employability office helped me obtain pro bono experience at my local law centre. I volunteered there for a year as an Employment Support Allowance Caseworker. I learnt several core legal skills there which I am able to showcase with my transferable skills that I have obtained while working as a bartender and legal research associate in my spare time.
Before joining ULaw, my ambition was to continue playing with my band on the independent record label we were signed to in Bristol, build a following, create music and tour. On the side, I was also a sound engineer, working in studios and at festivals such as Modern World and Glastonbury. I planned to continue doing this while I was not performing or touring. However, upon finishing my Level 3 BTEC in Music Production, I realised that I wasn’t satisfied with the mental challenge and the stimulation I was getting. I wanted something much greater and intricate, while also being involved in the entertainment industry. During the summer, I went back to college for two years and took three A-levels (Law, Psychology and History) in order to apply for the LLB.
Although I am no longer in my band, I still perform occasionally and continue to attend many live shows and socialise with musicians at my local record shop. I couldn’t be happier with the way my ambitions have changed and how ULaw have provided me with the experience, pro bono work and education that will be attractive to many law firms in the industry I will look to go on to work for.
I am the President of the Commercial Awareness Society on the Bristol Campus; the purpose of this society is to promote an active engagement and critical analysis of today's commercial climate. This was a consequence of my ambition, it has allowed me to build on my communication and critical analysis skills with a small group of peers. By analysing hot commercial topics, I am building the skills that I’ll need to be a solicitor in the entertainment industry, and the legal profession as a whole.
I am also the Bristol campus Student Associate for LexisNexis, who specialise in legal research training for law students and faculty around the country. This role was another consequence of my ambition; it has helped me understand the nature of working for a large company that has a global reach and how such businesses are structured. This will apply to record labels, law firms and big institutions within the entertainment industry, which I now have a real life and personal understanding of thanks to this role.
I have not met someone with the exact same ambition as me at ULaw but I did meet my friend Andy who is two years above me. He is the Westlaw Student Associate and I met him when I first became the LexisNexis Student Associate. Since then we have built a very close friendship and he has helped me with many elements of my degree; with studying, networking, mental health and constructively criticising my approach to things when it’s needed. Andy’s advice and previous experience of going through the same degree at the same campus has been invaluable. I don’t believe I would be in such an advantageous and confident position with everything that I am doing without him.
In five years’ time, I see myself as a newly qualified solicitor at a leading law firm that specialises in the entertainment industry; this may be either in London, Birmingham or Manchester. I may also be studying for the New York bar exam at this stage too. I’d like to think I’d have found a band to play in during my spare time, though this seriously depends on the nature of my work and the work life balance. I’d most definitely find time to record music in my own home studio and release online, which I would invest in with the income from work.
The most important skills I am going to take from my time at ULaw is how to communicate my thoughts clearly and persuasively, how to manage my time and dealing with challenging situations. While studying full-time and striving to obtain the highest mark I deserve, I work long hours on the weekend as a bartender, run a society that requires a steady flow of communication with students and faculty members and provide legal research training on behalf of LexisNexis. I also portion my time up to socialise with friends and apply for legal experience. Although I have taken on all these extra activities voluntarily and this by no means reflects the average experience of a law student, I am grateful to have learnt these skills at such an influential time in my life. The advice from my lecturers, careers and welfare service have helped me maintain a healthy approach to all these obligations and to succeed in doing them.
I am also grateful to the University for their exceptional Employability Team, particularly Amanda, Chelsea and Sally at the Bristol campus. They have consistently provided me with professional tailored feedback to every single application I have sent them. They have aided me in demonstrating all of the lessons, skills and experiences I have on two pieces of paper which I can confidently provide a law firm when applying for a position.
I would advise any new students at ULaw to use all of the resources available and do not be passive. Get out there after your first two weeks and speak to your faculty. Volunteer for some legal experience and attend some networking events with firms who practise in areas that interest you. Your three years at ULaw are going to shape your career more than you may think and it’s what you do in those three years that you will be showcasing to that dream employer you’ve always wanted to work for. Getting a degree is not exclusive to the qualification, it’s the experiences and skills you acquire on the way. Although you should have systems in place that will help you study and get the grades you deserve, do not just focus on the books. Work hard, play hard and seize any opportunity to build relationships and network.
Discover how we can support your ambitions by booking a place on one of our virtual open days.