With ambitions to join the judiciary, Catherine studied for the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at The University of Law (ULaw). Here she tells us a little bit more about her study experience
Why did you choose to study at ULaw?
I chose ULaw because of its history and reputation. I really liked the fact that the university has trained more lawyers than any other provider in the UK, and its list of distinguished alumni is hugely impressive. It was clear to me that the university could set me up to succeed in a legal career.
Can you tell us a little bit about the course?
The impact of having teachers who have been, or still are, practising lawyers, is immense. They have the comprehensive theoretical knowledge, and the real-world understanding of what actually happens in practice, which makes for ideal legal teaching.
What's the best bit about studying for the LPC?
I found the workshops to be enormously useful throughout my time at the university. After doing the pre-reading, I would often find that although I understood the law or procedure in theory, I had no idea how it might work in practice. Doing worked examples in workshops, and talking it through with other students and with the teacher, was always very clarifying.
What are your career ambitions?
Ultimately I hope to become a judge, but I'd like to be in the Civil Service for many years before applying to the judiciary.
In the short term I'm focusing on building a really strong foundation of legal knowledge and practical skills, then I hope to broaden my experience, perhaps by working on a public inquiry or at the Law Commission. I'd then like to take on a leadership role within the Government Legal Department.
What advice would you give to others considering the LPC?
I worked every single day, including weekends, holidays and Christmas Day. I recall trying to get my head around solicitors' accounts on Christmas Day, without much success. I wouldn't necessarily recommend working this much to everybody, but I do think that the suggestion to treat the LPC like a 9-to-5 job is a useful one. In a sense, it's the first year of your professional legal career, so getting into good habits is really valuable.
The other tip I have is to consolidate as soon as possible after each workshop - the same day, if you can. There is a temptation to move straight on to preparing for the next workshop, but if you consolidate immediately, you save a lot of time and effort in the long run.
The most important thing for students is to stay up to date with legal and political developments. Being able to demonstrate a passion for the intersection between law and politics, and an understanding of how each informs the other, is crucial.