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Where My Degree Took Me: A Career in Law

Aleksandra got her Law degree in 2010. Whatuni spoke to her to find out where her degree took her…

Eleanor Foulds
by Eleanor Foulds
Last Updated:
26 Sep 2022

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Thinking of studying for a degree in law? But worried about what kind of career you can have after? Whatuni spoke to Aleksandra, who studied law at the University of Leeds and now works as an employment law solicitor for Langleys to find out where her degree has taken her...

What did you choose to study law at uni?

When I was choosing my A-levels, I wanted to try something a bit different from the usual subjects taught at school (GCSE), and law sounded interesting. I chose it alongside combined English, psychology and geography.

I soon realised I had a natural talent for the subject, but more importantly, I enjoyed the ins and outs of law. So, I decided to apply for an undergraduate course. Even at this point, a law career wasn’t necessarily something I was interested in, but I loved law and the idea of having a law degree.

What was university life like as a law student?

I loved university and would highly recommend it. As a law student, my experience was slightly different to that of my friends and housemates – I felt busier! I had lectures and seminars every day in my second and third years and it was a high-pressure course with an additional focus on independent study. The benefit is that it all went towards building a foundation of knowledge and experience in work-based research.

However, I did find time to enjoy myself and, looking back, I know how well the whole experience has served me in preparing for the working world.

University taught me a lot, especially how to prepare and run research on a case. The course not only teaches you the legal basics but also a level of self-discipline and organisation that is crucial for life as a solicitor. It was hard work and a lot of pressure, but it definitely paid off.

What did you do around your education to further your career?

During my second year, I was involved in legal clinics, which allowed me to work with real clients under the supervision of a trained solicitor. This helped me get to grips with interacting with clients, presenting information and discussing my findings. When I visited the clinic, I was hooked on law straight away, and knew then that it was the career for me.

What is a typical day like now?

I work as an employment law solicitor for Langleys. Since our clients work in a number of different industries, my work day is always varied. Some days I may be helping an academy head to draft up employment contracts for their teachers, while others I may be offering guidance to a commercial business director over the phone.

One of the best parts of the job is the day-to-day variety. Whilst one day may have a full schedule of client contact, including meetings where I advise on any future plans they may have for employment, another may just be paperwork focused.

What skills do aspiring law students need?

I would say one of the most important aspects is to find a good work-life balance during your studies. Give yourself downtime where you can, even if it’s getting involved in sports, groups or societies that encourage you to step away from your work and focus on something unrelated.

As well as understanding how to carry out legal research and being organised, you need strong interpersonal skills. Even if you climb the ranks to CEO or managing director, or work in the HR team, you will always have to deal with people on a day-to-day basis and will therefore need to understand how to build good, lasting relationships – at every level.

A law degree focuses heavily on theory and case law, but you will need to work out how to apply this to your clients. There’s a lot of legal jargon, which most people won’t understand, so you will need to speak in their language to help them understand the possible outcomes of the situation.

The best piece of advice I can offer, especially for training contracts, vacation schemes and work experience is to make what you do relevant for wherever you are applying. I was a florist in my weekend job, but this was far more than flower arranging. I was dealing with people going through all kinds of emotionally turbulent and important events – weddings, funerals, births – so had to learn the right way to speak to them and be sensitive to what they were experiencing.

When you’re applying for any role, always think about how you can apply your wider skills to different situations you might encounter. Finally, understand that you won’t be expected to know every law off the top of your head, so don’t panic if you have to go away and research it first.


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