The subject of this latest interview is Alex Kerr, a second-year law student at Sussex University.
Alex talks about his legal journey so far and gives some good tips for others seeking to do the same.
1. Why did you decide to study law? When did you make the decision?
I decided to study law during my first year of reading Philosophy at Sussex University. I was considering a CPE course, but then decided that I couldn’t wait, so I transferred to Law.
2. At what stage of your legal education are you? What course(s) are you currently doing and which have you already completed?
I am now in my second year of the LLB at Sussex. In our first year we studied Contract, Tort, Public, and a course focusing on the structure of the legal system. This year we are studying Equity and Trusts, Criminal, EU, and Land law modules.
3. What academic grades have you achieved from A-Levels to date?
I achieved three A’s at A-level (Philosophy, English, Theatre Studies) and an A at AS (Biology).
4. What sort of career, and work, do you intend to pursue after your studies?
I am hoping to secure a training contract before leaving Sussex that would pay for my LPC course. My interests lie in commercial law, and I hope to become a commercial solicitor in an international firm based in London. I have a vacation scheme placement in the Summer with my ‘dream firm’, and I am very much hoping that I can secure a training contract there.
5. How are you funding your legal studies? Do you think you will be in debt at the end of them?
I am funding my studies through a maintenance grant, and by having a job (working 2-3 days per week, and full time throughout holiday periods). I am sure I will have some debt by the end of my legal studies but I hope it will be minimal.
6. Have you had any work experience within the legal profession? If so, what?
I have had work experience at a variety of different firms, with varying levels of enjoyment. One of the most beneficial aspects of work experience is discovering what areas of law you definitely do not want to work in (for me this was family law, despite thinking I was going to pursue this as a career). I have also sat with judges in Magistrates Courts.
7. What’s the best thing and the worst thing about studying law?
The best thing about studying law is you can’t help but feel different to all other students. I think this is because you have to be constantly bearing in mind your career prospects, and thinking about what areas you would like to specialise in. There is such breadth and diversity to law students, from those who want to pursue human rights on a pro bono basis, to those who want to represent FTSE 100 companies. The worst thing about studying law is not simply the workload, as it is surely expected that you have to work hard. The worst thing is that students on most other courses don’t appreciate the workload, and think that you are just a bit boring!
8. What advice would you give to someone considering studying to become a lawyer?
You really have to want to become a lawyer, do not just do it because you think it is a good degree to have. Too many people are starting law degrees with no real clue about what they want to do with their lives, and it is not the degree to discover this. It used to be the case that if you left a decent university with a law degree, then there would be a job waiting for you. This couldn’t be further from the truth anymore, as many of my friends have left the top 5 universities with law degrees but are not being offered jobs. You have to work your socks off, and take it seriously from the first minute.
9. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Make the most of every opportunity at university. If there is a speaker coming to talk about life at the bar, or as a solicitor, GO! Take part in all the law-related extra-curricular activities, such as Mooting, client interviewing, and negotiating. These help your CV tremendously. Finally, be a well-rounded individual by gaining work experience in a number of areas, playing a sport, or having a part-time job.
*If you are a law student, trainee solicitor or solicitor who would like to be interviewed for the Trainee Solicitor Surgery website please get in touch using the Contact Us form.
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