Working Full Time and Studying for a Law DegreePublished on: 22 February 2019
If someone had said to me, five years from now you will complete your law degree whilst holding down a full time job and bringing up three young children with my husband, I would have laughed and said no chance. I honestly did not expect to get through the first year let alone five years.
It turns out however, with a fully supportive husband and employer I am now thankfully at the end and on course to obtain a high 2:2. On 1 March, I actually found out I gained a 2:1, I am over the moon to have achieved this and not to have taken any resits!
Having worked for Neil Lorimer, the head of the personal injury department, since 2010, working on high level injury claims where clients have suffered serious multiple injuries including brain injury, spinal injury and amputees, this has given me a good background on aspects needed in a good lawyer.
Since 2016 I have worked for Debbie Humphries as her legal assistant. This has furthered my knowledge and experience in dealing with clients, barristers and experts. Each case is unique and requires clear communication with clients to enable them to understand the legal process they are going through, and also with barristers and experts where organising conferences or instructions.
My role consists of duties such as obtaining and collating documents for a claimants claim such as medical records, police reports and other relevant documents. I also meet with witnesses and prepare witness statements, as well as preparing draft instructions to counsel and experts together with collating the relevant documents for them. These tasks require me to consider the facts of each case, setting out a descriptive background detailing the issues to be considered. All of these duties have given me experience to pull from when completing assignments and exams, as I have been able to put myself in the shoes of a lawyer advising clients.
Along with other aspects of my role I have found that being a full time worker in a law firm, whilst studying a law degree, has been invaluable. Each and every one of my work colleagues have been pestered for their views on whatever subject I happen to have been studying at the time. Similarly every trainee solicitor passing through the department, when completing the seat with personal injury, has been helpful in giving their advice on both subjects I was studying and also on training contracts and, more importantly, the interviews for a training contract. They all have my undoubted thanks.
Plan and organise time
Working whilst studying a law degree has taught me to plan and organise my time. Remembering to allow time to be with my family and time to relax, but also planning in study time around exams to coincide with work.
I would thoroughly advise anyone thinking of studying whilst working, it can be done! If you are lucky enough to be working in a law firm whilst studying, use this to your advantage and speak with your colleagues, you will find that many of them are more than happy to help and advise. Lanyon Bowdler has been instrumental in aiding me to achieve my goal and have given me the flexibility to work and study whilst also having the balance with family life.