#LITMqanda Post 3 – Nathen Johns

The most obvious I suppose, what made you want to study law?

Everyone gives the same clichéd answer that they have always wanted to be a Lawyer from a young age; I fit into that cliché but I was also wanting to work in Safeway, and be a part-time Power Ranger. It was only until I had studied Law at A-Level, and persuasion from my Law tutor and parents that I decided to study Law at University (having originally applied for a Business degree). It was at this time that I fully committed and wanted to study Law.

What are your plans for the coming year as you have finished your LPC?

After studying the LPC I plan to start work as soon as practicable. Unfortunately the current job market for graduates is incredibly saturated. I found that becoming a Paralegal is the best way to obtain a training contract rather than spend endless hours applying to 30 firms without any real prospect of them actually reading them. Putting your foot in the door of a firm and working your way up through the ranks is, what I believe, to be the most efficient way to become a fully-qualified solicitor. This is my plan for the coming year. I also hope to secure a small loan from my parents to pay for a deposit on a house for me to buy so I can start my own property development business with my younger brother (who also studies law), as a side venture.

How did you find studying the LPC?

Studying for the LPC is incredibly tough. It is a massive step up in terms of work and time spent studying than the Undergraduate Degree. It is a very different way of learning, and a different way of being assessed; many of the exams are open book which are actually harder than closed book exams because the examiner expects you to know the answers as they are essentially in front of you. In order to do well I had to make the LPC feel like a 9-5 job, I needed to be organised and adaptable; if I missed one week of work I was two weeks behind and so on. It was very intensive, with examinations, and assessments every 4 weeks. I would never do it again that’s for sure.

What has been your favourite module to study and why?

My favourite module to study was probably Commercial Law. This is because I had previously studied Commercial Law at Undergraduate level in my second year, and because the tutor who taught me then, was teaching me for the LPC. Everything seemed to come back to me almost instantly, as if two years had not passed at all. I found that the more I knew, the easier it became, the easier it became, the more enjoyable it was and that meant I wanted to learn more.

You made the decision to stay at Hertfordshire University to study the LPC, why? How did you find that?

I decided to stay at the University of Hertfordshire for a number of reasons. Firstly, because my then girlfriend was also going to study the LPC there, having already completed our Undergraduate together. Secondly, familiarity, I was familiar with the buildings and the campus, the staff and the facilities, making life and studying a lot easier for me to focus on. Thirdly, location, I commuted from Essex to Hertfordshire every week for my lectures which isn’t too far, or expensive. If I had studied anywhere else it would have taken me twice as long, and twice as expensive, I’m only a poor student after all. Fourthly, the staff at Hertfordshire are great, very friendly and open and always willing to help. Something I needed a lot of during the year.

Any top tips for those thinking of doing the same thing?

I would say start early, get everything you think you need to do out of the way in the first few years of study. By that I mean go to the courts, do debating, join the Law Society, go to public lectures, take part in Mock-Trials and Mooting, become a student Mentor etc. Get all of that out of the way early so you can put it on your CV, and then focus on your studying in the final years. That doesn’t mean you can’t continue any of the extra-curricular activities, you may enjoy Mooting and continue that throughout the 3 years and beyond, but at least you experienced all of what was on offer that you can talk about to prospective employers.

Have you got involved with anything at uni or outside of uni that is law related?

Much as I have explained above, I tried to do as much as I possibly could as early as possible. In my first year I became a Student Mentor, a Student Ambassador, a Law Representative, joined the Debating society, attended Mooting classes and Mock Trials. Further to this I was also asked by the Law School to attend School meetings with staff to represent the students in matters relating to the School and the University (known as the School Academic Committee). I was given that role because I was always sending emails and badgering the staff when I believed injustice was committed by the University e.g. when courseworks were late in being marked.

It is always good to get your face about and be well known throughout the Law School, even if it means you have to get in people’s faces to stand up for what you believe is right!

In my third year I was appointed as the School Student Representative Officer, a role that enabled me to attend University wide meetings and events. From these experiences I now have the Dean of the Law School as my reference for applications. So it always pays well to do as much as possible early so you can relax more at the end.

You also went abroad through University during your LLB – what was that like?

It was an amazing experience, and I would say to students to take every opportunity that comes. It is always good to remember that opportunities are never lost, if you do not take them, someone else will.

I was given the opportunity to attend a Summer School in Germany before my second year. I found this out from an event at University I and only 10 others attended. The Summer School course was a new venture of the University’s and designed for third years only, but I made enquiries with a lecturer who was the organiser, who told me no-one else had applied (mainly due to no-one else having attended the event it was advertised) and so I was chosen to go. From this I can now put on my CV that I attended a Summer School in Germany studying Corporate Law and Governance of the European Union, which sets me apart from the other candidates on applications. It enabled me to embrace another culture and live independently in a foreign country. This spurred me on to learn German as a language and now I am semi-fluent.

Nathen Johns

University of Hertfordshire- LL.B (Hons) (2014)

University of Hertfordshire – LPC (2015)

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