”The students who perform best are those who are confident enough to make a strong point but also able to accept when they’re wrong.”
Name: Axel-Charles Monin Nylund
A-levels: International Baccalaureate, Economics, English and Music Higher Level
Degree: Law LLB (3-year course)
University: Queen Mary, University of London
Hobbies: Music, writing, comedy, technology, sports
Why did you want to study law at university?
As a Swedish student with an IB-diploma, I felt compelled to do my studies abroad. The choice to study law in London was motivated by a desire to challenge myself outside my comfort zone. Knowing that I wanted to do something in business and project management, I knew that a law degree would equip me with the skills necessary to do well in any line of work that would be of interest to me.
What is the most difficult aspect of studying law?
The obvious answer would be the many pages of reading due each week for tutorials and lectures, but what is really required to do well in law is to find the perfect technique for picking out important information and compiling a good set of notes. Spending time to discover the best way to take notes and organising them in a way which suits you will prove extremely important come exam time, when you are required to go over all the information you have learned during the year.
What is the best part of studying law?
What I am most happy to have gained from studying law is the ability to pick things up quickly, argue efficiently and apply information to novel situations. The research, reading and arguing that dominates law enables you to read articles and journals with ease and look at them critically. Then you can apply that information to anything else of interest. In this way, law does not restrict you. On the contrary, it allows you to explore other subjects and learn new things much more easily. This may sound quite abstract, but it’s one of those skills you acquire naturally and incrementally. Once you do, you’ll find yourself in many different conversations exploring topics where before you may not have had a lot to say.
What do you know now about pursuing a career in law that you wish you knew when you were doing your A-levels?
Experience is very important. Not only does it allow you to network and meet the right people, but you also find out if this is the right line of work for you. Law is not for everyone, so you should make sure that you’ve considered your choice thoroughly. I regret not taking a year off to try different things and learn more about the English legal system. I would have been more prepared and confident in my studies.
What are your career goals?
Nothing is written in the stars, but qualifying as a solicitor is I think the first port of call. Besides that, I would like to pursue more studies in a more niche area of law or economics. Patents, intellectual property, technology and cyberspace are areas of interest to me, but after having worked with an NGO and the pro bono society at my school I’ve become a lot more interested in human rights and charity work. The various opportunities that studying law has given me makes it really difficult to decide on one thing!
What work experience have you gained in recent years and what have you learnt from it?
Gaining a leadership position within the Queen Mary Pro Bono Society has enabled me to go on work placements and learn more about networking with professionals in order to establish new relationships. On a purely social level, it has brought me a lot of confidence which I did not have entering the law course. I have given several public speeches, hosted guest lecturers and liaised with leaders of different charitable organisations. I think that establishing new relationships and bringing projects through to a finish is a skill only learned through experience. This is precisely what I was looking for when applying for the law course and I was very lucky to reach a position where I could truly learn by practice.
What tips would you give to someone who is planning to pursue a career in law?
Make sure that this is the course for you, and don’t let others make any decisions for you. There’s no shame in taking a year off to find out what you are interested in. Even if you are interested in a different subject, law can still be a good way to develop new skills that you can use in whichever career you eventually pursue.
What is the biggest misconception about the legal profession?
“Law is just about arguing.” Arguing is a tool for learning. The students who perform best are those who are confident enough to make a strong point but are also able to accept when they are wrong. Lawyers already know what they think – they ask questions because they want to find out what others think. Law is about developing new ideas and solutions for the society in which we live. Being innovative is vital.