By Katie Lawrence
9 times out of 10 legal enthusiasts who would love to study law fear at some point they don’t have what it takes to succeed in this industry. Maybe it’s because you don’t have straight A’s in your GCSEs or A-levels, or maybe you haven’t got much work experience under your belt simply because of the fact you have no idea where to start looking. The good news is, you are not on your own.
I came from a working-class family and still do. I was on free school meals at times, attended both primary and secondary state schools in a predominantly working-class area. But why should that have stopped me? The one good thing is that I had parents who always told me I could achieve anything I wished if I put the hard work in. “Katie, if you are going to do a job, do it 100% and with all you have” is something my father used to and still drills into me whenever come to a hurdle in life.
I achieved average grades in my SATs, placed in average sets in secondary school, was
always a bit of a chatterbox, and achieved above-predicted grades in GCSEs. So, then I chose to go to Sixth form, then to be told a few months in that I did not have it in me to complete A-levels and maybe should think about attending college like that was worse? At the end of 2 years, I achieved ABC in my A-levels. It didn’t get me into a Russell group university, nor did I have any work experience in law, in fact, I didn’t want to go to university full stop and had been applying for apprenticeships, but I was still proud of how far I had come. After being rejected from numerous firms, I continued to pursue my goal of becoming a lawyer, I wouldn’t say dream because I wanted to be a midwife and a teacher throughout school - sorry, no long story about how I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 5 months old.
Now I am at Birmingham City University and am loving life more than ever! Yes, I still have a social life and yes, I have a part-time job to assist my bank card every weekend, but that is not to say you can lounge back completely in your first year.
Since being at university, I have won a mooting challenge in my first week as a defence
barrister, I have attended networking events with firms that I was rejected from. I took part in a conference where I presented a mental health presentation where I won a work experience down in London. I have applied and took part in legal competitions online and created more of a presence on LinkedIn during the lockdown. Now I am lucky enough to be an ambassador, blog content writer, and photographer for The Legal Amity! Whilst doing this I have also been completing the first year of my degree which consisted of 12 exams in contract, criminal, and tort law, achieving a 2:1 overall.
If there is something you are going to take away from this, it’s that you should never feel
pressured into having to become someone or something you are not. Not everyone
experiences a ‘traditional’ journey where all they have done all their life is live and breathe law. I lived and breathed One Direction at one point, law wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. Always put the effort in and at some point, it will all pay off.