‘The Career You Never Thought Of’.
What is / are your current occupation(s)?
Policy official, Ministry of Justice (Civil Servant)
What do you like best about work?
Being at the heart of decision-making in Government is a real buzz. The Civil Service gives you the opportunity to work in a wide range of roles: in 5 years I have worked on a new expenses regime for MPs, legislation on legal aid, courts and sentencing, young offender policy and directly in a minister’s private office – all of which have genuinely made me want to get out of bed in the morning.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Not sure I have a particular achievement in mind, but in a work context I would like to be remembered as someone who is committed to their work but remembers how to have fun.
What is the trait you most admire in others?
Confidence in public speaking, I absolutely hate it and have the utmost respect for those who can do it well
What’s your main challenge? (Apart from the above, probably)
Keeping a cool head in a crisis. I have a tendency to panic!
How has your career developed over time, and if you have a business what benefits does it provide, and why should people use it? What are your ‘top tips’ for newly qualified graduates?
I studied Law and French at UEA and had always imagined I would end up a lawyer or working abroad. I filled out a smattering of training contract applications and was unsuccessful. The Civil Service was something I became interested in as an alternative career, not least because of the range of opportunities it appeared to provide.
I ended up joining the Fast Stream graduate training programme straight after leaving university in 2008. The Fast Stream seeks to give graduates experience of differing roles across the Civil Service, usually leading to a promotion to senior management within 4 years. Fast Streamers are considered to have the potential to join the Senior Civil Service and reach the highest echelons of public service, and as a result are given the best opportunities and significant support to succeed.
I chose to focus my career as a policy official as I enjoy being at the heart of Government decision-making and working closely with Ministers. Other graduate colleagues have chosen to specialise in operational roles (managing large courts, or immigration centres) or specialist corporate roles, such as Communications or Digital services.
My top tip for graduates is to get as much as you can from university. You will never have the same breadth of opportunity again, so take advantage of the change to develop your skills, meet new people and broaden your horizons. All of this makes you a more rounded person (and frankly, gives you better examples to give at interview). If you don’t know what you want to do straight away, don’t panic! When I think of my peers from university, some of the best careers were stumbled into. Graduate schemes are not the be all and end all. Easy for me to say now, I know.
Now we are nearing the end of the semester, events are being organised and dates finalised ready for you in the spring term. We’ve seen Law students make the most of numerous opportunities to engage with law firms, develop their employability skills and even see whether they’re suited to a variety of different career paths. Nonetheless, opportunities continue to present themselves towards the end of the term – haven’t been taking advantage? We suggest you start now!
Thursday 5th marks the deadline for applications to the Howes Percival Mini Christmas Vacation Scheme. That is, the opportunity to join the law firm in their Norwich office for two days work experience – shadowing and working alongside Howes Percival staff and partners. Lack relevant work experience on your CV? The scheme is a fantastic opportunity for law students to gain valuable experience within a law firm, and stand out from the crowd in an increasingly tough jobs market. Make sure your application is good, mind. There are only four places up for grabs! If interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form.
Another organisation offering students the opportunity to visit their offices in Norwich is PwC. On Wednesday 4th, students from all schools will be welcomed in for their Norwich Office Open Evening event, between 5-7pm. You can meet PwC, find out what they have to offer you, hear more about what they do, and discover what they look for in graduates. Places are limited and need to be booked, so follow this link if interested: http://bit.ly/1goasIJ
Anne Francis, with over 30 years of experience in running her own businesses and 15 years in the Adult Education and business support arena, is offering to pass on her knowledge through two separate enterprise sessions this week. First, she is leading a Netwalking session on Tuesday at 1pm, in the Café Direct. Netwalking offers students the opportunity to develop new business relationships, reflect upon your own business and generate new ideas. Secondly, she is running a ‘Personality styles and teams’ session on Wednesday, in which she will enable participants to discover their preferred style of interacting with the world, and to better understand those with styles that differ, but who you may come across in the world of work. That session will be held in TPSC room 1.4, between 3 and 5pm.
Finally, we would like to offer any law students with an interest in writing the opportunity to blog for us. We are open to ideas, so if you have any law-related suggestions that you would like to get involved with, send in an email to email@example.com. Contributing will make a great addition to any student’s CV upon graduating!
See below for the details of this week’s events:
- Netwalking with Anne Francis – Tuesday 3rd, 1-2pm, Café Direct.
- Come and Meet PwC: Norwich Office Open Evening – Wednesday 4th, 5-7pm, St James Court, Whitefriars.
- Anne Francis: Personality styles and teams – Wednesday 4th, 3-5pm, TPSC 1.4.
- Mills & Reeve ‘Lawyers’ Lair’ competition final – Weds 4th, JSC, 1.30pm.
- Social Media: Making Contacts and Finding Opportunities – Weds 4th, Arts 2.03, 1pm.
- LinkedIn for Beginners – Weds 4th, Arts 1.05, 2-3pm.
- Application deadline: Howes Percival Mini Christmas Vacation Scheme – Thursday 5th December.
Here at the UEA Law School we know studying Law doesn’t necessarily reflect an aspiration to enter the legal profession. Luckily for you, the UEA regularly has plenty of events to cater for a diverse range of graduate careers, most of which are open to students from all schools. There’s plenty on this week, ranging from the Tech industry to the financial – but if Law is where your future lies, there’s plenty for you to get involved in, too.
So, for those of you who desire or are considering a career in Law, are you unsure of the correct path for you? Do you lack contacts in your field of interest? Are you concerned regarding the ease of transition from your study at the UEA to employment? This coming Thursday (28th) marks the deadline for applications onto our Law Mentoring Scheme. A mentor offers advice, reassurance, support, encouragement, access to networks and many more benefits for your future career path. Our mentors have been in your shoes, know how to succeed, and are willing to pass on their knowledge to individual students. A law mentor is an opportunity not to pass up if you have a law career in your sights.
For direct experience working in a law firm, Howes Percival LLP are offering four successful UEA students the opportunity to join them in their Norwich office for two days of work experience. The ‘mini vacation scheme’, taking place on the 16th and 17th of December, will give the students a valuable opportunity to shadow their work, and work alongside the Howes Percival partners and staff at the office. Aside from looking great on your CV, such an opportunity will allow you to see first-hand what working for a legal commercial law firm is really like, and whether it suits you. Applications are being taken until the 5th December, and forms can be requested through contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moving away from law and towards the financial sector, Grant Thornton will be joining us on Monday evening to discuss what they do, who they deal with, and what graduate opportunities
they have on offer to you. Noting that only a small percentage of accountants come from an accountancy background – Grant Thornton appreciate applications from all degree subjects; they want to hear from you! A great opportunity to expand your career options, or even rule one out, all with the offer of free pizza! Book your place on the event through the following link – http://bit.ly/1aXe1pR.Interested in technology? Dubbed as ‘the Biggest Tech Event to hit Norwich, ever’, TechCrunch are visiting our city to showcase Norwich’s Tech and Start-up companies. The event is sponsored by the UEA and at the time of writing, only has 40 remaining spots available out of 300 – just to give a reflection of the demand. For more information, or to sign-up, visit here, http://bit.ly/1bDBUzd.
The UEA Law School is also presenting a guest lecture by MP Chloe Smith on Friday 29th, as she discusses ‘Parliament’s Place Today’. Hold an opinion, or simply interested to hear from an MP’s perspective? Join us for free at 5pm in the TPSC Lecture Theatre; or contact Eloise.email@example.com for further details. Below is a list of next week’s events open to you as a UEA Law Student.
- Meet Grant Thornton – Monday 25th, 5.30pm, Arts 2.03.
- TechCrunch Visits Norwich – Wednesday 27th, 5.30-8.30pm, Bank Plain.
- Linked in, advanced session: Career skills workshop – Wednesday 27th, 1pm, Arts 1.02.
- Gill Bushnell: Your Image… Your Future – Thursday 28th, 5pm, TPSC 1.5.
- ‘Parliament’s Place Today’, Guest Lecture by Chloe Smith MP – Friday 29th, 5pm, TPSC Lecture Theatre.
Today marked the beginning of Global Entrepreneur Week – the world’s largest celebration of innovation and job creation from which ideas are brought to life, economic growth is driven and human welfare expands. Across the world, organisations and communities are embracing Global Entrepreneur Week. Here at the UEA there will be plenty of ways for you to discover and expand your entrepreneurial attributes through various workshops, talks and events.We at the School of Law have our own reason to celebrate Global Entrepreneur Week, as our very own undergraduate student Kelsea Vinall secured a £3,000 start-up grant after she put together an excellent business proposal for Serenity Training Ltd, a care training provider that holds the potential to be of significant social benefit. Kelsea’s rewarding success is something we hope all our students can take inspiration from, particularly those considering a business venture of their own.
All day today (Monday) student entrepreneurs have been testing their trading skills at the Pop-Up Market, selling cakes, clothing and all kinds of accessories. Following on from this, the week will consist of a series of talks and workshops delivered by inspiring local entrepreneurs to help students develop their skills, knowledge and experience base.
On Wednesday, the 5th instalment of ‘NESTA’s Visualise, Plan, Test, Build and Launch your Creative Business’ will take place at 1pm, with a workshop focusing on pricing and finances when developing a business idea. One of the hardest barriers to break as a young person in the jobs market is the barrier of effective communication – something Carol Wilkinson will cover for anybody who struggles in this area, also on Wednesday. Barry Dennis will then be joining us on Thursday at 5pm for the appropriately-named talk ‘Customers, Communication and Cock-Ups’, aimed at helping you avoid the common difficulties with business launches.
Aside for Global Entrepreneur Week, we at the Law School are urging students to make the most of their time at the UEA. One fantastic opportunity open to Law students is the Law Mentoring Scheme. Experienced mentors from various law-related professions have kindly offered their time, advice and guidance to give those students who are aspiring to enter the legal profession enhanced practical opportunities to develop their skills and gain access to networks – amongst a number of additional benefits. For more information, and to find out how a law mentor can benefit you, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
For regular updates on employability and event opportunities both specifically for Law students and university-wide opportunities, follow @uealaw on Twitter or like the ‘UEA Law School’ page on Facebook.
See below for details of this weeks events, open to Law Students.
- How to Fund a Law Career – Monday, 5pm. Arts 3.1.
- So you want to do a PhD? – Information session. Wednesday, 12pm. TPSC 1.7.
- NESTA’s Visualise, Plan, Test Build and Launch your Creative Business – Part 5 of 6: pricing and finances – Weds, 1pm. TPSC 1.6.
- Communicating Effectively, Carol Wilkinson – Weds, 3pm. TPSC 1.4.
- Customers, Communication and Cock-Ups, Barry Dennis. TPSC 1.5.
On Friday 7th June Street Law welcomed 77 students from 5 schools across Norfolk and Suffolk to participate in the Challenge Day. Throughout the day the students participated in a range of interactive activities on the theme of Social Media and the Law. The aim was to challenge the students’ ideas of the relationship between social media and the law and inform them of the legal issues in a fun and accessible way.
Morning activities included a campus tour where students assumed the role of detectives trying to solve a theft case. They also took part in a gameshow where students pitted their knowledge against each other on legal issues and courtroom processes. As part of this students discovered some crazy laws like it’s illegal to skateboard in a police station in Miami, proving that the law isn’t all black and white or boring! The gameshow also tested their knowledge around social media issues allowing for an interesting discussion to what you can and cannot say over what device. As this is a new and developing area of the law it offered a really good opportunity for discussion and we had some fantastically formed opinions from some very passionate students.
After lunch the students split into three groups and moved onto their final activity of the day – a mock trial concerning whether threatening messages sent via social media amounted to s.39 Assault. The students played the roles of the Judge, Clerk, Prosecution and Defence Barristers, witnesses and the jury. Both the prosecution and defence put up tough arguments and cross examined the witnesses thoroughly. The judge then gave his instructions to the jury and it was time for the jury to decide whether they were satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty. The juries in two out of the three groups returned not-guilty verdicts. Finally, the students had the opportunity to pick our brains about law and studying at UEA.
All in all the students had a really good day and learnt a lot too, one particular visitor summed up the day as being “Very helpful and extremely interesting…It was a chance for us to really get involved and I learnt a lot more about the courts and laws.”
The Street Law committee would like to say a massive thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers! If anyone is interested in becoming a Street Law volunteer, keep your eyes peeled of how to sign up when term starts in September.
With a reading list as long as your arm, pro bono events booked in seemingly up until the end of your degree and enough work experience applications on the go to rival the amount UCAS receives; it is easy to forget what made each of us fall in love with the law to begin with.
Last week I had an extremely rare day off due to one of my seminars being cancelled. I decided to do something different for a change and popped down to Norwich Crown Court for an hour or two. I asked the Court Office what trials were being held and it emerged that all the trials were rape cases. I decided to sit in Court Room 1, and despite not knowing anything about the case, I managed to walk in at the perfect time as the prosecution and defence were just about to begin their closing remarks.
The case at hand was rather a horrific one; the three defendants were charged with sex trafficking, rape, indecent assault and supplying drugs to a thirteen year old girl. It was quite heavy for a Friday morning, but interesting regardless. Watching and listening to the prosecution barrister was more exciting than any television show or film could ever be – the language, both spoken and physical, used to convince the jury of the defendants’ guilt was incredible, emotive and powerful. As I sat in the public gallery I began to think about the power of the jury in the proceedings; the fate of their fellow citizen, sitting just feet away from them, was in their hands.
Leaving the court, my determination and enthusiasm to become an advocate in an English court of law had grown once again. It had inevitably wavered during the long days and stressful nights that occur mid-semester – something that a lot of law students seem to suffer from. I highly recommend that take the time to visit, regardless of whether or not you want to be a lawyer, to see first-hand the work of our advocates and our courts. Visit if you love the law, visit if your only idea of a court is reading a Lord Denning judgement and definitely visit if you are suffering from mid-semester blues – you’ll jump back into seminar preparation and revision like never before.
In addition to the wonderful work done with the Norfolk Community Law Service, the thriving Innocence Project and the ever popular Street Law scheme; there is another organisation offering pro-bono opportunities which sometimes seems forgotten by students … the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Despite the widely held belief that the Bureau is government run, it is actually a charity and 21,500 of the 28,500 people that work for the service are volunteers, including myself. I have volunteered for Norfolk Citizens Advice Bureau for four months in the role of Gateway Assessor. I interview clients to talk through their issues and I am then able to explain the options available to them. It may be as simple as them needing some assisted information in the form of a website address, leaflet or telephone number. However, where a client needs further help they may be booked in for a general or specialist appointment with a trained advisor or directed to another charity or organisation.
The issues I have encountered since starting at the Bureau are wide-ranging and never fail to interest or surprise me. From a client thinking her rabbit was going to drown due to a burst pipe to a someone who had a matter of days left until he was going to be removed from the country; you never know what you are going to see until you walk into the assessment room and see the client for the first time. In my experience the issues that crop up the most are those surrounding welfare benefits, debt and employment which in today’s economic climate is really not that surprising. If we find an issue is coming back to us again and again we evidence the problem for social policy reasons. It may be that collectively the Bureaux can push for change, as recently happened with the campaign for a ban on expensive telephone numbers for government departments which was dissuading people from contacting agencies.
Volunteering at the Bureau has enabled me to improve a number of skills including team-working, verbal communication, organising, investigating and analysing as well as allowing me to demonstrate my ability to think on my feet and work under pressure! The best part of it all though is seeing a client leave the Bureau a lot happier, with a large weight off their shoulders, knowing that I was able to assist in some way.
My name is Bethany Hudson and I am one of your law blog diarists. I am a second year LL.B student here at Norwich Law School. Why law? Studying law is something I have always wanted to do; my school life, A-level years and work experience have all been geared towards this. The law is interesting, challenging and affects the world in a way incomparable to anything else. My main legal passions lie in the chancery subjects but I also have interests in employment law and immigration law.
I volunteer with Norfolk Citizen’s Advice Bureau as a Gateway Assessor and I am also part of the publicity team there; we are currently working on advice articles for publication in the Eastern Daily Press. Whilst at the CAB I provide information to Clients on a wide range of issues including welfare benefits, debt, employment, relationships, consumer and immigration matters.
I am an aspiring barrister and I am currently in the process of applying for mini-pupillages and to Inner Temple. I have secured one mini at a medical negligence/personal injury set and have already completed long periods of work experience in solicitors’ firms, Parliament and the medico-legal office of my local hospital. I will be posting articles about my experiences both in and out of the school with regards to my work experience, volunteering and general life as an LL.B undergraduate!