Case study

Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) — Amy Theerman

Amy has both an undergraduate and Masters qualification in the arts but decided that she was best suited to a career in law

Why did you choose Nottingham Law School?

It has been a very circuitous route into professional study. I completed a BA (Studio Arts) at an American university in 1993 and an MA (Art History) at the Open University in 2009.

I decided that I wanted to study law and was looking for a Distance Learning (DL) Degree in the Midlands. Even though it is DL, I like Nottingham and with the tram lines, I realised that if I picked a university within an hour of my home, I would be more likely to take advantage of its facilities and services, and the law firms associated with it.

Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University also has an excellent employability record.

Can you tell us a little bit about the course?

I currently work as a PA and manager of a small corporate support team. Combining study and work requires attention to detail and the ability to prioritise.

I work 37 hours a week so I read some pages every night when I get home, and prepare essays on the weekends. I also read cases on my lunch-time walk and always keep a few cases in my bag in case I have a spare moment while on the tram or waiting for a train. Even doing work every day, I find that I am speed reading just before the study weekends.

It is manageable. The concepts aren't difficult, it is just finding enough time to make the most of all the resources. I always read as much of the textbooks, cases and lecturer guidance as possible. I like to draw my own conclusions and I find that knowing some of the peculiarities of the cases make them more memorable.

What's the best bit about studying for a GDL?

The Employability team at the Law School has loads to offer. I have attended the Law Fair and career workshops with prominent alumni, joined a couple of webinars and attended one of the Business Leaders lectures. They have also advised me on specific queries about applications.

The Disability Services team have also been really helpful. Even though I do not consider myself disabled, my vision isn't great and they have helped me to negotiate submitting my papers in a larger font size and getting alternative formats for books. I cannot speak highly enough of this team.

What advice would you give to others considering the GDL?

Take yourself out of your comfort zone - I joined the GDL Mooting Society, (which meets in the evenings). They are hypercritical, but preparing for moot forced me to consolidate my learning. The eagerness and sincerity of the group is a contagion for learning.

Do any extra bits, like becoming a class representative - look around at what is available. It adds to your skills and also gives an edge to your applications when looking for vacation schemes and training contracts.

Ask someone - the lecturer, the administrator or the course or deputy course leader if you get lost in any of the course material. If you are a distance learning student, get yourself a Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) card and sign up for postal loans. Take advantage of the Employment Services webinars, or get out in the evening to their sessions or the Business Lecture series.

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