Current ULaw student Jennifer Starkey joined our Chester campus in 2018 to study the LLB. Inspired by her family, her ambition is to become a barrister. We caught up with Jennifer to discuss her career ambitions, what areas of law she wants to focus on and how ULaw are supporting her every step of the way.
I chose to study at The University of Law because the lectures are very student orientated. It isn’t just a lecturer talking to students, everyone is involved. Also it is a private university, so you get smaller class sizes and the lecturers actually get to know you.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted everyone to get the justice they deserve as we were all created equal. I have always been interested in the criminal justice system; my interest was piqued further when I discovered my Grandma (Beryl Taylor) was a junior reporter involved in covering the Moors murders. Knowing a member of my family was extremely close to such an infamous case made me more determined to help justice prevail in our world.
When I hear the word ambition I think of wanting to succeed in life, whether that’s achieving small goals or big. Also, being the best version of yourself. My ambition is to become a successful prosecution barrister or solicitor. The ambitions I’ve already achieved are passing my exams, having a job I love and earning my own money. I currently work part-time for the jewellery company Pandora at the Cheshire Oaks designer outlet. I love this job because I genuinely admire and am attracted to the brand. I have grown up with it. The whole idea of having meaningful jewellery is such a lovely concept. I am always having to use my communication skills to ascertain from customers what it is they are looking for and bring out different products to demonstrate I have understood their needs. However; my main ambition is to always stay true to myself and I seem to be doing that well.
During my first week at ULaw there were so many activities to get involved in, lecturers to meet and books to read in the library. We concluded the week by conducting a mock trial, in which I was the head of prosecution. I was immediately intrigued and taken with being able to question the defendant, obtain the full picture and do my best to convince the jury that the defendant was guilty. Before I started University I knew I wanted to go into law but I was not sure in which area. All I knew was that I wanted to help people. It was the mock trial that made me realised that I wanted and needed to be a barrister. I am now in my third year and I am hopeful of going into prosecution but, since studying human rights, I am also keen to move into that area too. This wouldn’t necessarily be as a barrister in the court where human rights issues are heard but something in that area.
I’m part of the Student Association which helps to develop clubs at our campus, as there were a few ideas that I wanted to put forward. I signed up during my first week with some of my friends. I thought it would be a great way to make new friends but also to understand what really goes on within the student community. It is really good because you are always kept informed of student body elections and different activities.
My mum, dad, grandma and grandad have all inspired my ambitions. They've all had different careers but always been consistent with their work and making sure that they can provide for their families. That’s what I want to be able to do in the future.
One of the main skills I’ve learnt at ULaw and I’ll continue to us are my networking skills - it’s a great way to make contacts and friends. I’ve definitely met people that I’m going to be friends with for life.
In five years I hope to be a prosecution barrister in the criminal courts, with a house, husband and maybe little family of my own.
My advice to new students at ULaw is don't be scared or shy, everyone is in the same boat as you. Be confident in what you're saying and doing, nine times out of ten I’ve been right on an answer but not wanted to answer in case I was wrong – the lecturers are there for a reason, to help.
If I could give my younger self some advice, it would be don’t ever give up. It’s not an easy degree, you need to put the work in but don’t forget to relax as well.
Don’t let uncertainty hold you back, discover how ULaw can support your ambitions.