Pathways students

Joel Wish

I’m currently a final year law student at Exeter University with ambitions to pursue law as a career. 

My journey to where I am now began at sixth form when I first became inspired to study law at university and pursue a career in law.  I put this down to my personality, enjoyment from helping people, wider hobbies and even the A-Levels I chose (History, English literature and Law).  These were all parts about me that helped build strength of character and curiosity.  However, at this stage, I had no idea what being a lawyer really meant or how I could prepare myself. 

I was encouraged to apply to the Pathways to Law programme, at the local participating university Southampton, by my A-Level teachers and was extremely inspired and motivated by the experience. The Pathways programme is fantastic in its ability to find keen, talented students and provide them with opportunities and guidance.  I was able to secure a work placement at Clyde & co.’s London office where I sat in their Dispute Resolution department for a week, which was a strong insight into commercial law.  The programme not only dispelled several myths about law, but the valuable work experience, application advice and social skills I learned will always stay with me. 

Being able to say that I’m studying law at Exeter, one of the top universities in the UK, is an achievement that the Sutton Trust has helped me reach.  The course is challenging but I make sure to work hard and on the side, make the most of every extra-curricular and sporting opportunity that interests me.

I have even been fortunate enough to become a candidate on an additional Sutton Trust programme, Pathways Plus, which aims to support aspiring lawyers throughout their undergraduate years.  I have been connected with a mentor at DLA Piper and was lucky enough to secure a further work placement at Hogan Lovells.   

As a previous Pathways to Law graduate and someone that has stayed involved with the Sutton Trust’s network of programmes, it’s a personal privilege to give back to an organisation that is continuing to support me. I’ve been a Pathways to Law mentor for two years now and have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering my time for the brilliant programme.  I am responsible for chaperoning students during sessions, trips and maintaining contact with several prospective law students through an online portal.  Equally, it’s been a personally rewarding journey watching them become confident and determined students.  Since the recent cohort’s graduation, 29 of the 30 students have secured offers for higher education with many of them still wanting to pursue law. 

Recently, I have been awarded ‘Brightside Student Mentor of the Year’ in recognition of my efforts and commitment to the Sutton Trusts’ outreach work. This is an outstanding achievement not only on my behalf, but the work of those involved at the University of Exeter and, ultimately, the Sutton Trust for allowing initiatives like Pathways to happen. 

I couldn’t recommend the Pathways programmes more for anybody interested in pursuing law.  I also hope that my achievement encourages people to see the value of volunteering and helping young people.  

Read about Joel's success winning the 'Brightside Mentor of the Year' award.