This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
DD wants to do a law degree(118 Posts)
So my DD is currently in year 12 and is sitting her mocks. She has decided her career path of law and I think her grades will be okay but a personal statement isn't just grades. I was wondering whether anyone knew how to make her personal statement stand out? Whether any volunteering will benefit her and work experience and where are the best places to find work experience? Also whether there are any good books to read to further her knowledge associated to degrees which will make it stand out?
Unfortunately so far she has done no work experience because she is unsure on where to find them. She has been rejected by the majority of her local law firms. She has 6 weeks work experience at her local primary school helping people read and also participated in a programme where she ran a business and competed nationally. Her business came first in their county final and won best company report, presentation and interview. She was responsible for the presentation. She is also doing EPQ but has not started yet. If anyone can give any advice that I could maybe put forward to her on what to do her EPQ on and how to get high would be brilliant?
What about some work experience in a charity that offer legal advise? Just had a quick google and seen this: https://www.lawworks.org.uk if not local to you then maybe there is something similar locally.
Also local courts have public viewing galleries so she could go and sit in on a few cases?
Regarding the EPQ could she focus this on the area of law she would like to eventually work in?
Or I was thinking something around the new laws that have needed to be brought in with regards to social media e.g. you hear about when people comment online about on going criminal cases and then the person can be prosecuted for something like perverting the course of justice.
@BrizzleMaverick wow that social media idea is such a fantastic idea! I will possibly suggest that to her next time we talk about it. I think she is unsure to whether she wants to go into criminal, corporate, family or insurance yet. I think she wants to decide during her degree which I am happy for her to do if that's what she wants. I think she was possibly going to bring in some philosophical aspects into EPQ but wasn't too sure how they could link. Maybe something about religion in a court room. Would be unsure on the question that she would write the essay on though.
In regards to watching a court case, does she have to register and be of a certain age or can she just show up? Also how would she know what cases she is able to watch so she could plan her trip
You just show up at a court and go in. No age restrictions or need to register. I've taken my dd who wants to be a lawyer to the Royal Courts of Justice to sit in on cases multiple times. She wants to go to the Old Bailey soon.
@gracielacey oh cool! How old is your DD and when is she looking to apply to law?
When you go to the court rooms do either of you make notes or write anything down so it could be included in her personal statement or do you just make a mental note?
Also, mentioning court cases in your personal statement, does this breach confidentiality?
I have been scanning my school and then university diaries and I was going to courts alone all the time. (I accept most teenagers don't do that!). It is free of charge and quite fun. I remember being the only person present at a family case (not sure why they allowed me in that one but it was so eye opening to see the parents so very upset and both wanting the children). I never took notes in court.
If she is going to read law at university she might be able to do what I did- in years 2 and 3 I volunteered every week in a law centre.
If she can't get local work experience with a law firm (I had none until my first university summer holiday) she could may be try her local council's legal department or companies that have an in house legal department and may be just ask to do one day as that is better than nothing and less disrupting for the people having the person there.
On the personal statement she could mention going to court. No need to mention names of cases although if it is a public hearing as we have open justice in the UK she is as free as any journalist to report what is said although I would think it much more sensible not to mention any names - just I enjoy regular visits to Hull county court where I have sat in on a hearing regarding a dispute over ownership of a car,,, or however her school think it best to word it. Half of lawyers don't read a law degree first however so that obviously has a massive impact on the statement. My lawyers daughters did other subjects and obviously then did not mention law on the PS.
Personal statements for law shouldn't be about professional law but about what attracts the student to academic law. So don't worry at all about work experience. Very few of those DC at my own DCs' school who've spent a week at a local solicitors have found it told them anything about the law and much more about making coffee etc. I do think visiting the nearest court is a good idea but only sit in on short cases so that the whole can be understood. As Xenia says, there's no breach of confidence where courts are open to the public. But if your DD wants to read law at uni then get her to go along to the nearest uni bookshop and start reading some books which catch her eye in the law section. Not so much the intro to law books but simply any ones which spark an interest. If she engages with those it's far more valuable and far less hassle than wasting a week with a solicitor who may well be doing the most dreary of cases (even if the case is important to the client - so many cases can be plain dull).
Possibly for volunteering advise her to try and find some legal charities that will allow her to help out for a few days or a week and also look in legal sectors of businesses to see if there is anything they can offer her?
The main thing is to go to court which I will tell her to do in the summer holidays. Can she see what trials will be short or is it just luck of the draw?
With wider reading, just pop in to her local uni library and see if she can take out any books in the law section?
I'd be very surprised if she was able to take out books from the local uni library OP. Just go to the nearest decent academic bookshop and pick up any titles that look good. If money is tight the school should re-imburse the cost through the 16-18 bursary, although ask the school first.
Granville Williams Learning the Law is something that would be worth her while reading.
I'd second going to watch some law cases in court, and then in her personal statement reflect on what she's gained from them, how they've deepened her understanding of law. I've had students do that in the past and it's been really effective in their personal statements.
If your daughter wants help with her EPQ, I can also chat to you about that - just pm me. I'm a co-ordinator if it, and have moderated it in the past, so have a good understanding of what works / makes a good title.
@lechhy thank you for the help with EPQ. I am new to this so would you be able to PM me? I'm unsure on how I do that
In regards to reading, thank you for the titles already, can any recommend any more?
Lechhy - can I PM you too re EPQ? Sorry to muscle in.
One thing I would say as a solicitor is that if she really likes any of her A level subjects and is likely to get a good (better) grade doing a degree in that subject she would be better off doing that and then the GDL for a year (ie. law conversion) before doing the LPC or Bar Exams.
The battle for training contracts is immense so grades become even more important.
@ReservoirDogs she was going to do a law degree because I think she finds that interesting and then all the training needed to become a barrister (I'm not too sure what the training all is lol.) I think her target grades are with A*AA or AAA I can't remember. Would you advise her avoiding a law degree ?
No if it is really what she wants to do and with grade predictions like that she will be fine.
However law always sounds more glamorous than it actually is!
Which part of the country are you in and I may be able to make some work experience suggestions. Pm me if you want. If on pc - it says message poster along to the right of my name. If one phone etc there are 3 dots - click there and you can find how to message me.
I read Helena Kennedy's "Eve was framed" before my interview which is a fascinating insight into how women are failed by the justice system. It's a little out of date now though I fear we haven't moved on as a much as we should. I see she has a sequel coming out in the autumn.
You mention she's interested in philosophy. She could try and find an introduction to jurisprudence (philosophy of law), though it is a bit of a dry subject.
best thing is to get a good degree so whatever subject has the best potential & what ever is the best uni
@MrsSquiggler hiya! Where did you have your interview? Do you have any personal statement tips for DD?
She takes philosophy psychology and business as alevels and is quite strong in both philosophy and psychology. I will advise her to read the book that you provided (thank you btw). She struggles to read things that are quite dry if they are quite long. Are they any books you are aware of that are associated with interested cases etc?
What about volunteering at CAB? They do training for advisors
@mumsastudent what exactly is CAM? Would she be able to gain work experience here at 17?
I would encourage your daughter to do some work experience ASAP and possibly talk to some people in the profession.
I am a solicitor and would not recommend going in to the profession and I think.the majority of my friends would say the same. A lot have already left law.
I don't want to sound negative but it is definately worth making sure the reality matches the expectation.
I would recommend trying the local councils near you. I am in a council legal team and we take a handful of work experience students each year because we know there’s a fair bit of nepotism in the legal sector still and this helps give students a chance they are struggling to get.
The other thing that would be beneficial is really just any kind of “real world” experience - every lawyer needs general office skills and she will be much more helpful on work experience / as a trainee if she is good at all the skills needed in an office. I did 6 months as an admin assistance before my degree and I know it made me a much more useful person when I did work experience.
Plus if she had an interest in a particular area of law, work experience relevant to that field could be good (eg estate agents for property law; environmental charity for environmental law; etc).
Not sure possible any more but I learned to type and was presentable so did temping as a legal secretary in the holidays. That way you properly learn what its like to work in a law firm (ie quite how many co workers are having affairs with each other quite eye opening for a 19 year old!) and get paid quite good money for a student. Better than working in a bar or as a waitress anyway.