Rachael has studied history at the University of Leeds but has chosen to pursue a career in law. Her degree has given her a range of transferable skills directly related to a legal career, and focussed her mind on her future direction.
What do you hope to go on and do when you graduate from the University of Leeds?
I have just applied to do a GDL at the College of Law in September 2009 and then an LPC in September 2010. I am currently applying for summer vacation schemes and training contracts at several law firms in London. I hope to join a firm of my choice in March 2012. I also hope to be able to continue riding my horse at competitions on the sidelines.
What skills and qualities do you think you’ve gained from your course?
Doing a history degree especially has meant I have gained many skills transferable and directly related to a legal career. For example I have to read vast amounts of information and then pick out that which is most relevant and apply it to produce a concise, clear and critical argument supported by convincing evidence.
I also have to analyse others’ arguments, and this is obviously what being a lawyer is often all about. I have also improved my overall confidence and public speaking skills through giving presentations and leading groups.
What skills and attributes do you think you’ve developed from co-curricular activities?
I have taken part in a number of co-curricular activities such as being:
- Sports secretary for my hall’s committee in my first year
- Social secretary for the riding club
- Taking part in a tutoring schools programme in my second year
- Becoming a ‘Peer Mentor’ intern for the School of History in my second and third year
I also keep my horse in Leeds in order to carry on training him, so I’m busy a lot of the time and I have had to learn to be highly organised, motivated and time efficient. I have also improved my social skills as I have worked with many different types of people I perhaps would not otherwise meet. My teamwork skills have naturally improved too, but I have also had to learn how to lead, deal with responsibility and take initiative.
How will these skills and attributes help you achieve what you want to do when you graduate?
All of these skills are highly relevant to a legal career and indeed any graduate career. All employers want to see individuals who can demonstrate not only good academic achievement but skills such as leadership, team work, confidence and sociability. Employers want to see people who have interests outside their degree, who are well rounded individuals.
What has been your proudest moment while studying at Leeds?
I have had many proud moments at Leeds. I won first prize in a writing competition for the history department’s newsletter in 2007 and am generally proud of all my academic achievements alongside all my time consuming, yet highly enjoyable, co-curricular activities.
How do you think you have benefited from studying at Leeds?
I have had a very good support base both from academic and support staff. They have always been very helpful and open, and I have never felt I cannot approach them honestly about any queries I had. I felt as if all the staff were genuinely interested in me and I was not just a ‘number’. If you take advantage of it you can enjoy a very rewarding relationship within your department.
There have also been so many opportunities on offer at Leeds that you can take advantage of that I do not think you would be able to experience anywhere else, and that can really boost your employability. There is also a fantastic careers service available.
I have made some great friends, met some really interesting people, and learnt to grow in independence and confidence.
What advice would you have for students just starting out at Leeds?
Plan ahead, take advantage of every opportunity and enjoy yourself.