LITM Q&A Series | Isobel Wright

In this post on my LITM Q&A series, Isobel Wright talks about her experiences of studying law and being an in-house trainee.

What made you decide to study law? 

I have wanted to become a solicitor since before I can remember. So, I always knew I would study law at university. I have never considered anything else.

Where did you study law? Where did you study the LPC?

I have a joint honours degree in Law and French from Swansea University. I studied the harmonisation of international laws at the University of Geneva and International Environmental Law at the Graduate Institute of Geneva. I studied the LPC at the University of Law Guildford and have so far completed the core modules of the PSC at BPP.

What was your favourite module to study, and why?

I would say employment law (not that it’s what I do now!). My lecturer for the llb had many years of experience and was incredibly knowledgeable. She always gave detailed examples of situations she had experienced during her career and her lectures were engrossing. I later volunteered at the GERALD clinic at UoL and my role was to speak to the clients and find out the background details. I found the cases so interesting and people were so honest about their situations. It was gripping!

What, if any, extra-curricular activities did you get involved in whilst studying law?

I didn’t participate in many group activities or organised groups post college. I got really into the gym and lifting weights (nothing impressive) and I took part in some classes with the dance society. I also attended quite a few French related groups and events. At the UoL I volunteered at the GERALD clinic, had the opportunity to shadow a judge, took part in charity events/fund raising. In Geneva (ERASMUS year) I was part of some ex-pat groups.

You are doing your Training Contract in-house, what made you want to go in-house?

It actually happened by happy accident! I have previous experience in-house and I love the environment. Two years ago I was headhunted for a temp position as a legal assistant. I was honest in my interview about my goals and wanting to find a training contract, which I was aware could not be done at this company (they weren’t a training contract provider at the time) but even still, after my initial interview, I was offered a permanent role. I love the job and quickly became a part of the team. After a few months my boss asked me to look into how the company could become a training contract provider and offered me a TC! 

How have you found your Training Contract so far?

It’s been very busy. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to do my TC in-house. The sales team don’t see me as a trainee and the work is spread out evenly. We’re a close team and I can ask anyone anything at anytime. So, I have a lot of responsibility but I’m also incredibly supported.

What area of law do you hope to qualify into?

At the moment I would say IT Law but I’m not entirely certain yet.

What are your future plans? Legal related? Long term? Short term?

Short term: finish my TC and become a fully qualified solicitor!
Long term: To be a solicitor! Compared to a lot of other professions, there’s not often a lot of room for upwards progression in-house (I’m not sure if that’s the case everywhere but it has been in my experience in several in-house teams). At the moment I’m happy where I am and I can only imagine being here. There’s still so much to learn and I want to grow as much as possible and gain as much experience as I can. I love my team and since joining I have had constant opportunities to learn and improve. Both legally and in other areas (I have been able to create my own software and I am learning to code). So, it’s an exciting place to be!

If you could give one piece of advice to people considering studying law, what would it be?

Just do it! If you’re already set on a career in law – go for it. Do not doubt yourself.
If you’re not sure what you want to do in the future, there are so many doors that will open for you when you have a law degree. It will stand you in good stead for the future regardless of what you decide to do. I know many people who have a law degree and have subsequently pursued a different and successful career. Once I graduated I was inundated with calls from recruiters inviting me to interviews for all sorts of jobs!

LITM Q&A Series | Saira Shani

In this post on the LITM Q&A Series Saira Shani shares her experiences.

What do you study, where and what year?

I am a final year law student at BPP Manchester.

What made you decide to study law?

I originally applied on UCAS for Children’s Nursing, however my grades were higher than I expected so I went through adjustment and found that my grades met the entry requirements for law at BPP Law School. I never had the self-belief that I could study law but two years later, I am embarking on my final year having been predicted a 2:1.

What has been your favourite module to study so far, and why?

My favourite module so far, is one I am currently studying, that is Company Law. I have found that the intrinsic nature of company law and how it impacts us on a day to day basis, is so fascinating. I would highly encourage other student who are considering module options to consider Company Law, as it is the foundations for so many other areas of law such as Commercial, Banking and Finance Law.

Have you got involved with any extra-curricular law activities?

I have been involved with the Aspiring Solicitors network where I am a Campus Ambassador, they offer events and support for all students to pursue a career in law. My aim this year is to get involved in mooting and advocacy, which is something I have not yet experienced.

What work experience have you undertaken? Any that stood out as being a favourite?

I have had experience with solicitors and barristers, I have done two work placements at law firms in Cheshire and Manchester. I spent 3 months at 1 King’s Bench Walk, a specialist family chambers. I volunteer with the Personal Support Unit in the Manchester Civil Justice Centre. I think my volunteering as been my favourite, being able to assist on real cases and understanding that to practice law means so much more than just being able to regurgitate the law. I have sat in on many criminal cases at the Manchester Crown Court, I have witnessed murder and drugs trials. So I was able to see the Criminal Justice System and how its process differs from the Civil Courts.

How do you maintain a study/life balance?

A planner, I use my planner every single day. I put in assignment deadlines, application deadlines, appointments, meetings and revision time. I make sure that every hour in my day is accounted for, so that I am as productive as I can be.

What are your future plans? Legal related? Long term? Short term?

I have so many plans, that I don’t know which to do first. In terms of a legal career, I hope to pursue a career at the Chancery Bar. I am also interested in being an Investment Manager and in 10 years, I want to start my own investment management company.


If you could give one piece of advice to people considering studying law, what would it be?

You don’t have to have it all figured out. When studying law, the natural assumption is that you will either be a barrister or solicitor. However, the skills that you gain will make you a valuable asset in so many different industries from politics to human resources. Just enjoy your time at university, as some of the highly regarded practitioners at the Bar, came to the profession later in life having previously worked in other industries.

Netflix Haul – Autumn 2017

It is time for a Netflix Haul.

It seems everyone is always talking about the various TV programmes and documentaries on Netflix, so I thought I would share a few now.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the sorts of programmes Netflix has available, then it is films, documentaries, boxsets of all genre types.

In terms of law and crime related programmes, there is a mix of true stories and fiction.   Plus the perks of Netflix mean they also make available some old classics.  The list of older documentaries and crime related TV series is amazing, and some you probably haven’t seen in years.

So if you fancy whiling away Autumn evenings, being super cosy at home whilst watching something with a law or crime element to it then here are a few suggestions.  All of the titles below are clickable links incase you want to find out more.

Netflix Haul

Narcos

First up let’s talk Narcos.  A good friend of mine recommended it to me, and I am hooked.  There are three seasons already to view, so I have quite a lot of viewing time left.  It is a fictional series about a drug chemist in Chile, and the war against drugs etc.  If that is your kind of programme it is so worth a watch.

The Confession Tapes 

A Netflix Original, looking at confessions made by those who did not even commit the crimes.  This programme was always going to make it into my Netflix Haul. Americans have always loved a good crime drama and documentary, even a podcast, and that seems to have increased even more since Making A Murderer. The idea that you can sit at home and piece together the facts and hopefully come to the same conclusion as the police or lawyers is fascinating for some.

The Confession Tapes is a new series from journalist (and frequent documentary specialist) Kelly Loudenberg – and it is set to be the next binge-able crime obsession both here in the UK and abroad.

Simply, it is a seven-part indictment of the American criminal justice system, looking at the trust people put in law enforcement, the clear problems with assuming who is guilty and coercing people to confess – and the reasons why people confess to crimes they didn’t even commit.

Deadly Women

This TV programme explores both the mentality and motives of some of the world’s most deadly women, with the heading reminding everyone that it isn’t just men who commit heinous crimes.

How To Get Away With Murder

Now I have seen all of these already on Sky, and am up to date on the latest series.  But, if you are slightly behind the times, and haven’t yet watched How To Get Away With Murder, then watch Season 1 and 2 on Netflix now!  You won’t regret it.  I am forever watching the latest episode wishing law school was like that for me (minus the being involved in a few murders part).  I love the American style of learning and it was always on my list of places to study as a child (in the short term) and spending the day at various American law schools last year, only made me love it more.

Babies Behind Bars

Babies Behind Bars was released back in 2011, so I imagine that some of you will have already watched it when it first aired.   It follows the stories of a handful of inmates who deliver their babies behind bars.  They are then are allowed to stay with their newborns in a prison maternity wing.  I remember watching this a few years back, and it was quite emotional.

MindHunter

Another Netflix Original, this 2017 fictional TV Series looks at two FBI Agents in the 1970s who explore criminal science by delving into the psychology of murders! Plus they get up close and personal to the murders. This has received amazing reviews so far and looks like a series you can really get into.

Amanda Knox

A 2016 Netflix Original, which delves into the twice acquitted of murder story of Amanda Knox.  One of the alleged crimes which had worldwide press coverage for many many years, this documentary sees her, and those closest to her talk about it all.

Lockup: Disturbing the Peace

A 2017 documentary series looking at life inside prisons, from both the inmates and guards perspective.  There are already lots of programmes on this topic already, both on mainstream TV/Sky based on UK and US prisons. I imagine this will be no different in terms of what is discovered/shared.    However, it is always nice to get the low down on life inside prisons.  There are 20 episodes in this particular documentary series. 

Time for a Netflix binge? Check out all things law, crime and punishment!… Click To Tweet

Have you watched any of the programmes above? There are just too many good things available to watch on Netflix, so I will do another Netflix Haul post soon.

Rebecca x

p.s. I can’t really mention Netflix and not refer to Making A Murderer can I? It still seems some people haven’t heard about it or watched it.  You can read a blog post about it here.  It really was a TV series that took the world by storm, looking at the police investigations into the murder of 

Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids

You know I love a good crime drama or documentary so when I saw an advert for ‘Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids’ I just had to share it with you.

If you have Sky, it is on the Crime & Punishment Channel on Sunday or Monday nights at 10pm.

What is Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids about?

Each episode of ‘Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids’ explores a different case.  She examines the case but also meets with experts (including criminologists and reports) and some of the people closest to the family or victim.  The experts help shed light on child behaviour in general, but also the psychology of the child in the case.  The people closest to the crimes help tell the tragic stories that unfolded and whether there were red flags in the years/months preceding the murders.

Jo Frost explores some of the following questions:

  • What is it that drives a child to kill?
  • Why do some people believe that there are those who are pure evil from birth?
  • When is a child criminally responsible for their acts?
  • Should a child of ten years old be convicted of murder

These questions are quite difficult and challenging for some to answer, or at least get their head around. Lots of people have their own views on criminal responsibility and children, when it should come into place, the types of crimes etc.

So who is Jo Frost?

You might recognise her name if you have watched mainstream UK TV over the last 10 years or so.  Jo Frost has over 26 years experience working with children, and she has headed up shows such as SuperNanny, SuperNanny US and many more.

It will be really interesting to hear Jo’s experience and knowledge come through when discussing such harrowing events.  It is very often hard to believe that children are capable of doing something like this, but sadly it does happen.

Episode 1

Episode 1 looks at the case of Daniel Bartlam, who killed his mother Jacqueline in 2011. Daniel was 14 at the time he committed the murder.  If you are wondering if you recognise the name, and there was a lot of press coverage at the time, it might be because he was obsessed with a hammer murder from Coronation Street.

Are some children just born evil? Do all of these children that commit such horrendous crimes have mental illnesses? Do they know the difference between fact and fiction? Are they aware of right and wrong?

I am really excited to see what this programme looks at and examines.  Will you be watching Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids? Let me know!

Are kids born evil? Watch Jo Frost on Britain's Killer Kids to find out… Click To Tweet

Rebecca x

If you liked this post, you might also like this 5 Must Watch Programmes of 2017 (Spring).

YouTube URL | Lawyer In The Making

So excited to say that I finally hit 100 subscribers on YouTube so I now have my own custom url.

https://www.youtube.com/c/LawyerInTheMaking

I am so pleased you all said you wanted more videos after my Q&A video, and whilst I had always considered filming more I was very anxious in case it wasn’t what you wanted… so thank you for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone.

I am planning on filming a lot more content in September again, so make sure you hit that subscribe button!

Rebecca x

p.s. a slight shameless plug but I am going to be sharing a lot more tips on how to engage better with LinkedIn on my 7 day social media online training for lawyers so make sure you sign up to that here.

It is available to purchase all year, but if you book before the launch on 1st September 2017 you receive the training for £30 instead of £70.