Hauwa Shehu

Stay focused so you consistently achieve high grades. Be prepared for rejection and do as many extracurricular activities as you can.

Hauwa Shehu

Hauwa Shehu

Degree: Law with Hispanic Law (LLB)

A-levels: Drama and Theatre Studies, English Literature, Spanish

University: University College London (UCL)

Hobbies: Reading, travelling, dance, music, theatre

Why do you want to become a barrister? I love the advocacy. For me, it’s when arguing a case that the law comes alive. I also love the human interest aspect of the criminal bar. I admire the attention to detail and scrutiny of evidence. I also find mooting and watching trials exciting. I want to do a job that excites me and keeps me on my toes. I also want to be able to make a difference to people’s lives, especially those who are ignorant of their rights or the relevant law.

What were the best parts of university life?

  • The People. UCL is a global university and I’ve made friends from all around the world. The people I’ve met are intelligent and fun, and I know we’ll be friends for life.
  • My Erasmus year. If you have the chance to go abroad as part of your degree you should. It gives an added dimension to your degree. By the time you come back you are ready to knuckle down and make the most of your final year. Also, being a year behind the friends you started your course with means you have more support when you return as they will have studied the subjects you are about to do.
  • Extracurricular activities, clubs and societies. Remember, there’s not much opportunity to pursue certain hobbies once you leave education. I’m sure that as lawyer I won’t get much chance to dance on stage, certainly not for free.

What are your career plans?To become a criminal barrister and, later in my career, practice public international law.

How do you intend to fund the BPTC? I plan to apply for a scholarship at an Inn of Court, and also from BPTC providers as some offer scholarships for extracurricular achievements.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law? Stay focused so you consistently achieve high grades. Be prepared for rejection and do as many extracurricular activities as you can. Also, get exposure to the profession. Go to open days and law fairs. You need to meet practitioners and learn about a variety of organisations to figure out where your niche is.

What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career? Doing things just for the sake of building up a CV, messing around in the first year because you think grades don’t count or you can make up for it later and forgetting to do work experience and getting stuck into student life.

What top tips would you give to someone who is thinking about applying to study a law degree?

  • Do work experience. Not only is it demonstrative of your commitment to the subject but it also gives you an idea as to whether you’re really interested in law or just the idea of it.
  • Study hard and ensure you get the best possible A-level grades.
  • Do your research about different law faculties, not just universities.
  • Go to court. It’s fun and shows you are truly interested.
  • Don’t listen to what your school tells you about which subjects universities like and dislike. Contact institutions’ admissions offices.
  • Read newspapers and keep up with current affairs. It’s boring at first (for some of us anyway), but it gets interesting and is relevant to an understanding of law in context.˚