What other courses were you considering when applying to university?
For me there was really no other course that appealed to me on the level that a law degree did; no course offered the same combination of academic rigor and practical application as well as the opportunity to join such a renowned industry.
I do believe however, it is only when you have experienced an industry for what it is truly worth that you can make such a decision, so I therefore strongly encourage any potential undergraduate who is thinking of taking the plunge to really sit back and consider what they are looking for in not only a degree, but a career and look at obtaining work experience in that area prior to applying for university.
Did an open day experience influence or swing your decision to study law? If yes, then how?
As I previously mentioned I was sure that a law degree was right for me, and this became an absolute certainty having attending the University of Derby open day. The Law School immediately struck me as one that took great pride in its facilities and lecturing staff, something which filled me with immense confidence knowing that my future prospects as a lawyer were in safe hands. The lecturers were extremely welcoming and at times quite satirical, which helped break the ice.
How important do you think attending open days are, particularly for students who are undecided on what they want to study?
I would highly recommend attending an open day because, until you do, you will not be able to fully appreciate what can be offered and how far the University of Derby (or any university) can stretch your potential!
Detail any legal work experience you may have undertaken.
It was pointed out to me from a very early stage that in today’s competitive market, a law degree on its own would not suffice when applying for the top firms. The University recognised this and adapted the course to cater for the employers’ need for practical work experience; for example providing mooting competitions, an in house legal advice clinic and University negotiation competitions.
The universal goal, I found, amongst lecturing staff was to bring in character and nurture potential; they invest countless hours into your academics and your career. They appreciate the need for practical experience and encourage all students to find as much as possible whilst at University.
I am currently interning at one of the UK’s leading Criminal Defence law firms, Cartwright King Solicitors, and I can whole heartedly say that this would not be without the persistent help and encouragement from the Law School. Although they expect hard work and determination, you will be rewarded with the efforts of the lecturers and careers team to help find you work experience and endorse your career.
What are your career aspirations for the future?
Becoming a solicitor has always been my career aspiration, however it is the area in which to practice which has changed somewhat over the years. The diversity offered in a career in law is vast and the type of work a solicitor can do varies greatly across areas of law; from contentious to non-contentious, personal to commercial, the practice areas are endless, making a decision somewhat of a struggle. Only after 66 weeks of cumulative work experience across numerous areas of law, have I identified the areas where wish to practice.
The business legal stream which encompasses most commercial areas of law (e.g. commercial property, banking and finance and corporate law) is the stream I wish to practice in. I have recently been invited to undertake a vacation scheme with Irwin Mitchell, with the opportunity of training contract upon completion. My career is on track, and none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the support and commitment of the University of Derby Law school.
Want to follow in Jake’s footsteps? Book your place at the University of Derby’s next open day, which takes place on Saturday 6 June.