Top tips for new LLB students from recent graduate Giovanni Parcou
Open Letter to LLB Starters
The beginning of University marks the start in your career, and as a previous law student I know how daunting that can be. It will be an exciting experience where you will meet fantastic people and be given great opportunities, and above all you will be learning about what ties the real world together – in businesses, among ordinary people or amongst families; you will gaining invaluable knowledge. One thing though: make the most of it.
Over the course of your degree you will hear a lot from other law students and speakers about how gaining work experience and getting the best grades in law is what is needed to make it in the legal profession. Granted, that is the case in a general manner of speaking. However, my advice to you would be not overbear yourself with stacking work experience and burning the midnight oil through several all-nighters at the beginning of your degree, unless that is what you enjoy. Remember, you are here to get an education and that is not just about the law, but about life as a whole. That means enjoy your time, meet new people, see the city and above all get to know what it means to live in Sussex.
Undoubtedly as you move forward with your studies more of you will begin to start making plans for your futures and have particular concerns about your careers. If you are interested in the becoming a lawyer, be it a barrister or a solicitor, start early and begin applying for Vacation Schemes and Mini Pupillages in your first year. By starting early on you will begin to develop an understanding of what it actually means to be a lawyer in practice and whether it truly is what you would like to do in future.
In addition to your legal work experience, I would encourage all students to get exposure in industry. You will hear the term ‘Commercial Awareness’ mentioned a lot at careers talks, some of the ways to get the best understanding of what this means are either by getting work experience in a corporate environment or taking a placement year to undertake paid work in industry. The University offers some fantastic opportunities to gain industry exposure in their placement year, and I would encourage all students to consider doing one.
Since finishing my degree I have been quite fortunate to have found employment at a City law firm. I work amongst of team of Cost Lawyers and generally we are responsible for managing Costs of transactions and Costs in Litigation. Working alongside the fee-earners at my firm in this capacity has taught me that practicing law is less about what you learn in your text books and more about providing business services for your clients in the real world. To really know what it means to practice law you have to come and see it for yourself first hand to be absolutely sure this is the career you want.
Overall, good luck to you all and make the most of everything to come.