Routes into Law: What is ‘traditional’ anyway?
Since I started to seriously think about what I wanted to do when I grew up, it was always law. Like many, I was fascinated with crime series and your classic detective shows like Murder She Wrote, Columbo and Miss Marple. When I was about 12 or 13, before binge watching Netflix crime documentaries was a thing, I used to ask for complete box sets of The Mentalist, Monk and Law & Order for Christmas and Birthdays. Almost all of us are fascinated by crime shows, it is in our human nature to be inquisitive and intrigued, but I remember being fascinated by the courtroom drama of Law & Order UK and watching snippets of court cases, although fictional, play out on the TV. I would watch Judge Judy for hours on a Sunday because I loved watching her logical approach to the law when resolving everyday legal problems people are faced with. I saw myself as a bit of a Judge Judy as a teenager, and wanted to pursue a career where I could encourage fairness, equality, negotiation and a good argument!
My route into the legal sector has been a little bit long winded. When I was studying for my GCSE’s my dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer which for him was terminal and he passed away a short 11 months later at the start of the summer exam period. Despite this, I excelled in my exams and went to sixth form college to study my A Levels. It was this period of study that I struggled with, and whilst I did well in my English Language and History, A Level Maths was not my friend. I didn’t get into my chosen university and applied through clearing to study English Language and Law at Liverpool Hope University. I loved it! I thoroughly enjoyed studying English Language and Law at degree level, the English studies aspect of my degree was really interesting and allowed me to do research in Forensic Linguistics which I had developed a keen interest for. I even considered studying a Masters Degree in Forensic Linguistics after graduation, but after much deliberation I decided Law was still my passion.
I hadn’t quite realised until it was too late that I wouldn’t have a qualifying law degree upon graduation. So, in my third year of my undergraduate degree I applied to Liverpool John Moores University to study the LLM QL, a Masters Degree in Qualifying Law. I studied the Masters degree full time for a year 2 days a week, and worked 4 days a week for a local hotel company to support myself through study. It was at the end of this degree I decided I needed to take steps to obtain a position in the legal sector. I applied for an admin role in a large Liverpool Personal Injury firm. I began working full time and applied for an internal promotion to become a Fee Earner in the Credit Hire Department. I then began the Legal Practice Course which I studied part time in the evenings after work for 2 nights a week over 2 years. At this point I had already received an undergraduate and post graduate student loan so I needed to work full time to fund the LPC.
When I began studying the LPC, my confidence began to grow, and I started to really think about what firm I wanted to grow with. I was thankful for the opportunity I had been given in my position at the time, but I knew that PI work was not for me and I wanted to work with a firm I could thrive in. Then the Covid 19 Pandemic hit, the legal world (and the rest) was thrust into homeworking and job advertisements in the sector where few and far between. I used the time at home and the commute time I was saving before and after work to focus on my university course.
In October 2020 I interviewed for the position of Personal Assistant to the Managing Partner of MSB and was ecstatic the next day to hear I had got the job. Fast forward 14 months and it was the best career move I could have made. It may sound silly, but to me it is still a ‘pinch me’ moment that this is my job and I love getting up each day to come to work. Imagine the best bits of the Devil Wears Prada meets Legally Blonde…
I have learnt a lot about legal practice, the day to day complexities involved with the smooth running of a law firm, business development, networking and personal development too! I have completed a long 6 years of university, obtained 3 degrees and I am finally in a position to apply internally for a Training Contract with MSB in January. I think the best part is that looking back at myself even just a year ago, I never would have believed I could have achieved or could do the things that I do each day now with confidence. And so the best part of my career journey to date has been the past year and I would encourage you all to step out of your comfort zone and find/take opportunities that encourage, motivate and reward you.
My long-winded route into law is something I wouldn’t change. I have met lovely fellow students, who turned into friends, who then - luckily for me - turned into colleagues and taught me a lot along the way. That being said, having a better understanding of how to get into the law would have saved me a lot of time and even more money, which is why I am passionate in my work at MJLD about educating students across the region on the opportunities that await them at college, university and beyond.
After a hard couple of years for us all, I’m really excited to embark on the next part of my career journey.