Since starting the @londonlawstudent account over on Instagram, I have received various requests to go into my journey of how I got a techlaw training contract at Clifford Chance. One of the common asks was that I talk a little bit more about my journey from education, work experiences to finally receiving the offer.
Over the next couple of posts, I will be sharing The London Law Student Journey Series and going into detail as I talk about each one. I will be covering:
📚My educational journey,
👩🏾💻 The extracurriculars that I had over time, and how I leveraged these experiences,
👩🏾💼 My work experience and how I sold it on my applications!
So with that let’s start with the first post in this series.
The Early Days: High School
I went to high school in the UK. From about the age of 11 to 16, you go through from Year 7 until Year 11. Over these years you start off taking a broad range of subjects, then in Year 9 you pick which 9 subjects you want to specialise in, in Year 10 and 11. On average, most students do 9 GCSEs over Years 10 and 11.
The exams taken in these years then dictate what your final high school grades are, and you use these to also apply for colleges if your high school doesn’t have a sixth form. The system has since changed as I understand it, rather than a letter grade you get a numerical score.
During high school, I took 11 GCSEs. I did: English Literature, Business Studies, English, Maths, History, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Additional Maths, French and Art & Design/Photography.
Overall, I achieved 2 A* grades, 6 A grades and 3 B grades across those subjects. To read more about GCSEs, see this link, on the BBC website.
If I could give myself advice looking back, I would say to not take the experience for granted and work consistently but also that GCSEs were not the be all and end all. Trust me, when you get to university you’ll probably wish you were still doing GCSEs at some point.
That being said, I also wish I’d focused less on trying to fit myself into thinking about a career but instead taking this diverse learning experience for what it was. At that age, you have the world ahead of you so take the time to do your best but also discover what interests you intellectually and who you are, rather than stressing about what you’ll be when you’re older.
The middle Years: sixth form/college
Following high school, I attended a different institution (college) because my high school didn’t have it’s own attached sixth form. Basically sixth form is college but you don’t move schools you just carry on at the same high school but as a senior. This period usually lasts for two years from the ages of about 16 to 18 you go through year 12 and 13.
During my time at college I did 5 A Levels: English Literature, History, Law, Economics and General Studies. In my spare time, I also took an Italian GCSE because I loved the language.
Overall, I got A*AABB at A Level, and an A* in Italian.
Thinking About University
In my first year of college, this was also the time that I began to think about my future. In Year 12, I was really interested in English Literature and History, but I knew that I wanted to pursue a subject that would combine these aspects. For me, Law represented that intersection of Literature, History, Economics and Politics, subjects that I was interested in.
Whilst in college, I applied to university for the LLB Law degree through UCAS. I applied to: Oxford University, University College London (UCL), Kings College London, York University and Durham.
I interviewed at Christ Church College at Oxford but did not progress beyond the interview. I was rejected from Durham and then received offers from UCL, KCL and York. In the end, I decided to go to UCL!
To read more about my application to university, I recently shared the personal statement that I used to apply to university and how I approached writing mine. I also did a post on Picking a University and Attending Open Days.
The Final-ish Years: University
At the end of college, I did my LLB Law degree at UCL in London. I have written about my experiences previously, but in short, it was such a huge adjustment curve. During my 1st and 2nd year, I was mostly finding my feet and working through some very interesting 2:2 grades. However, by my final year, I had brought it back, thank goodness.
In my first and second year at UCL, we covered the core electives you have to take as a law student: Criminal Law, Contract Law, Land Law, Public Law in first year. Then: EU Law, Tort, Jurisprudence and Equity and Trust.
For my final year electives I did: Roman Law, Corporate Insolvency, Information Technology Law and a Dissertation.
I finished with 1st in Corporate Insolvency and the Dissertation, and then 2:1 in Roman Law and IT Law.
You can read more about my award-winning dissertation here. In it, I explored the question of whether or not the increasing use of technology would invigorate or diminish legal professionalism as the nature of information changes in the Digital Age.
And that there is an overview of my educational journey. In the next post of the series, I will discuss the extracurriculars that I had and how I used them in my applications for a training contract!
Through this series I hope to provide an overview picture of what one journey from student to a tech training contract at Clifford Chance was like.
I hope this helps to provide more of a picture of the process involved from one of the many perspectives in this journey and through it you can gain some encouragement.