First year ends – hard work awaits

The most distinctive factor affecting the life of a student is the stage they’re at in their degree. Having just finished my first year studying the LLB at Exeter University, I’m frequently reminded that the real hard work is about to begin

Securing a position on a vacation scheme, competing for a much prized training contract, and the continued graft to obtain a 2:1 or ideally a 1st– (the ambition to complete a Masters degree is also on the list).

So far, the average day has entailed lectures in the Amory Moot Room, and finishing off the workload in the Law Library. A healthy balance with the social and sporting side of university life is also important, meaning coffee at the Ram or a training session with the Law Netball team. Trips to the Imperial pub garden when the sun is out also makes for a nice afternoon away from work.

Student life has become more flexible over the years, for example all my lectures are recorded online, meaning I do not need to attend in person – something you become thankful for during the cold Winter months!

Fair to say that life has become easier for students, but there will always be a pile of work sitting on your desk awaiting some TLC or that text book on constitutional law that needs to be read – never underestimate the worth of a diary. You do need to do the hard work, but for the most part, my first year was an easy introduction to the world of law.

At my university, I’m a brand ambassador for Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), which is something I have been able to make time for because of the flexibility of university life. I can see now priorities change over the years for those who have embarked on the LLB or LPC. As a BLP brand ambassador I have access to those who are further along their legal career than I am, and so asked them to share with me their experiences…

Amelia Blair, trainee solicitor at BLP gives her account when at the College of Law, Moorgate (2011):

I found the course interesting and, now that I’m doing my training contract, extremely useful. Much of the knowledge that I acquired on the LPC is just assumed in the work place and so, in retrospect, it is amazing to realise the broad understanding and grounding in commercial law that the course gives you. The course is structured so that during the first half of the year you study compulsory modules which include Business, Property and Litigation and then, in the second half of the year, you can choose areas of study from a variety of options (i.e. Banking, Advanced Litigation and Public Markets). All in all, it is a thoroughly useful and practical course. It also provides a great opportunity to meet fellow colleagues and make friends in the legal world.”

James Parker, senior associate at BLP also recalls his time at BPP law school (2001):

I opted for the morning lectures on my course, thus leaving the afternoons free for preparatory work and reading. Much of my time was spent in the library, but more time was spent in tutorials – they were long and sometimes not that inspiring (‘accounting for solicitors’!).  Exams were a curious affair as we were permitted to take text books in, with as many handwritten notes in those books as we wanted, as long as they were on the pre-existing pages – thus the test of a good book was how much blank white space there was to write notes on!  We had one day a week off which I would use to work or to have a day out of the City. The course was a great learning experience and tried to bridge the gap between undergraduate study and working life, but inevitably anything short of full time work will always leave a gap.”

Although both accounts are over ten years apart, it seems one thing hasn’t changed – university life is centered around the desire to do well and achieve a respectable grade, whilst also appreciating the unique experience and the opportunities available to you – university life opens many doors but it is up to you to seize the opportunities. Furthermore, the advancement in online tools like lectures, is a most welcome improvement and is a great way to allow you to structure your time a little better.

The first year was an amazing experience but moving onto something new is all part of the enjoyment of the degree. Going forward, I’ll see less of the Impy and more Tort and land law books; that said like the students who went before me, I welcome the challenge.