Alexandra Lee begins the second year of the Accelerated LLB after the summer break at the University of Glasgow, where she also plans to undertake the DPLP. Here, she discusses how she's planning to use her summer holidays to broaden her legal knowledge and experience.
This academic year has seen new challenges for staff and students alike, with a switch to online learning set against the backdrop of a global pandemic. Whilst this has been difficult in some respects, it has also brought a few advantages, which I will focus on here.
Throughout the academic year, there has been a whole host of online events, as the legal sector has continued to engage with Universities. This has been a fantastic way to learn more about the industry and, as events have been virtual, a wider, uncapped capacity has meant that even more students have been able to glean from the presentations, interactive workshops, and insight days that have been hosted.
It was through my digital interaction with law firms that I discovered they have more to offer through their own websites. I am currently studying the Fast-Track Graduate LLB, so prior to starting the course I researched and found that the area I am most interested in is commercial law.
I started looking at commercial law firms, finding that most offered online blogs, conferences, and training events, which was great.
Pinsent Masons and Linklaters both host virtual learning and work experience programmes for students, which introduce them to the firm specifically, but also provide ways to become familiar with the sector and utilise and develop skills that are needed within it.
Alongside this, I am about to start as an advisor with the Citizens Advice Scotland, which provides a platform to develop client-focussed and advisory skills needed for the sector. I had completed the online modules, which was really engaging and extremely thorough, so over the summer, I can now start my in-person (Covid-safe) training, something I am really looking forward to.
Through completing the online modules, I learned so much about what a fantastic resource Citizens Advice Scotland is and the multi-faceted ways it can deliver advice to people who need it and campaign for evident change needed.
Subscribing to Legal Cheek is a great way to remain informed about opportunities available for law students.
Having attended a number of events throughout the semester, I was made aware and able to apply for the Virtual Summer Vacation Scheme, which offers a week of presentations, networking events, projects to upskill, and opportunities to meet with law firms.
Lastly, I spent some time over the semester engaging in online research, discovering Advocates for Animals UK the first UK law firm dedicated to animal protection, that has the vision to live in a world where animals are protected by law that is regulated and enforced effectively.
In another life, I would have definitely been a vet, so this really caught my attention. I have always been an animal lover, have worked in the charity sector previously and have a background in communications, so I thought I would be able to get involved in some way. I got in touch and Edie Bowles, the co-founder, couldn’t have been more welcoming. I was invited to join as a volunteer on their social media team and will be able to pair my prior experience with a specific focus on law.
I do have skills that have evolved through my previous roles, but I was really intent on using this summer to glean experience set within a legal framework to help me understand the sector more, but particularly, to develop those essential skills needed within it.
These opportunities will help me to cultivate my legal understanding, practical experience, client-led advisory experience, and specific knowledge of commercial law. The summer is a great period to be able to do this and I can see already how much it will help with my studies next semester.