Laura Nash is a graduate in LLB Law, and graduated from the University of Leeds in 2004. She now practises as a Solicitor with Blackstone Solicitors, and has shared her story and advice for students also pursuing law careers.
As a teenager, I had no real idea what road to go down with my A-levels and beyond. The advice from my older (and maybe wiser) cousin was to study the subjects I would perform the best in, as good grades would open the most doors. At A-level I chose to study English Literature, Classical Civilisation and Sociology, and thankfully achieved three A grades. I applied to read Law as I could not go wrong – a degree in Law, and possibly a career in Law too!
I studied LLB Law at the University of Leeds. Leeds is a city I knew well as a child. My Dad grew up in Woodhouse Park, and I have memories of my Dad driving me around the streets showing me his homes and schools whilst recounting tales. Leeds was the natural choice for me; a fantastic red brick University only an hour from my home town of Manchester. It was close enough that I could pop home for the night but far enough away that I didn’t have to!
My second year at Leeds was all about the vacation schemes! Days were spent in the computer clusters (I’m sure they look very different now!) drafting applications and frantically checking emails. I was delighted to secure vacation schemes at Eversheds and Hammonds in 2003 and I enjoyed them both thoroughly. I chose to train at Eversheds and qualified there in 2007 after a successful training contract, being offered jobs in 3 departments (in a recession), and coming first in the national trainee cohort at Eversheds in the Finance and Business Skills module.
When I arrived in Leeds, the phrase ‘rabbit in the headlights’ springs to mind! It took me a few weeks to settle into the big independent life I was now in charge of, harness that, and make the most of it. The most enjoyable part was living in Oxley halls with great people from all across the country, who I had never met before. We had a lot of fun!
The course was structured with enough time outside of lectures and seminars to get the work done. The Faculty of Law was in the heart of the campus, only a stone’s throw from the Students Union with all that that had to offer. Going to University knowing no one, making friends, living with strangers, embarking on a course you have never studied before and coming out of the other side a different, accomplished, more confident individual stands you in such good stead for life in the Law, or indeed any discipline.
Outside of lectures and seminars, I was a very independent student. I got on with it all in my own way and in my own time, but it was important to know that if I ever needed support I had a dedicated mentor that I could go to.
My current role
I now practise at Blackstone Solicitors, a small commercial firm in the suburbs of Manchester, closer to my home. At Blackstone, we are proud to act for an array of amazing clients, advising on high profile work.
Persistence. You may only get one call back out of 10 applications. Don’t lose heart, but be focused. Experience. Cast your net widely and take on any work experience you can. This will only help you determine what area of law is right for you.