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Case Study: Where could a Law degree from Exeter take you?
Having accepted a training contract with White and Case LLP, recent graduate Natalie Lucas shares her experiences of studying Law at Exeter.
I have found that the LLB programme at Exeter has provided me with an academically rigorous but highly rewarding experience. However, what has really made my time at Exeter special was taking up the many extra-curricular opportunities, which the Law School and wider University offer. In particular I have found that the Mooting and Pro Bono programmes that the Law School offers to have been highly beneficial. These opportunities gave me the confidence and motivation to seek graduate level employment.
Having taken up mooting early in my degree I have found that it has had a huge influence on how I approached my legal studies. My involvement has allowed me to develop and demonstrate many of the skills, which employers expect for example legal research, teamwork, communication skills and the ability to manage my time. It also meant that I had interesting experiences to talk about in interviews and also extended my legal knowledge beyond that what I had learnt in the classroom. Through the mooting programme, I have been able to take up two mini pupillages and travelled to London and Portugal in international competitions. These experiences have made me lifelong friends and given me unforgettable memories.
The Law School offers fantastic opportunities to ‘see the law in action’ through its pro bono projects. In my first year I became a team member in the BLS Prison Project and Innocence Project. During my time on the Prison Project, I was able to meet inmates at HMP Exeter and gave presentations on their employability options after release. This was a highly rewarding experience and gave me a more realistic view of our criminal justice system. I remained involved with the Innocence Project throughout my degree, which is part of a national network of university, and law firm projects, which review cases for people who continue to plead their innocence after conviction. The opportunity to work on ‘live cases’ has been an extremely challenging but exciting experience. It allowed me to appreciate the relevance of my degree to the community and also develop valuable ‘practical’ legal skills such as letter and legal submission drafting and case management. As Student Co-ordinator of the Project, I was also able to experience leading the review into cases and managing the team of student caseworkers. I found that interviewers were particularly interested in this Project and were impressed by the level of involvement and responsibility it allowed me to undertake as a student. The project also gives students the opportunity to attend national conferences with the rest of the Innocence Project Network. This gave me an invaluable opportunity to network with distinguished barristers and solicitors in the criminal field and it is also where I first came into contact with lawyers from White & Case LLP who have their own Innocence Project.
I accepted a training contract at White & Case LLP because of its reputation as a global leader in providing legal services and its international approach to training by guaranteeing overseas secondments. I believe that the skills I developed at Exeter prepared me well for the vacation scheme, which was fundamental to securing a training contract. Moreover, I think my involvement in the extra-curricular activities the law school offers allowed me to stand out in my application form and in interview, which is important given the level of competition from other students. The quality of the degree and law programme in general at Exeter was fundamental in me securing a training contract and the opportunities I have been given whilst here has given me a solid basis on which to continue on in my legal career.
Natalie Lucas, LLB Law graduate, 2014
Date: 9 September 2014