When you first get to University, everything can feel a little overwhelming. You’re meeting new people, in a new place, while studying a new degree. Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going nor what you’re doing. At least when I first arrived at Cardiff that’s near enough to how I felt sometimes. One of my biggest problems was there was so much to do that I just couldn’t do it all, and this meant that sometimes I missed opportunities that I would otherwise have taken.
Below are a few opportunities that will be available to you if you take law. I advise that if you see anything that takes your fancy, seek out a university or opportunity available to you and research it properly. Knowing about opportunities makes you so much more likely to do more and efficiently.
Mooting is an activity I’m participating in this year. Mooting is the presentation of a legal issue made in front of a judge, and against an opposing council (opponent). You’re given a case, and a perspective from which you must argue your point, and a few weeks to decide on your argument. On the day you must dress and act formally, addressing the Judges as “My Lord/Lady”. At the end, two out of four competitors will go through to the next round.
Mooting is useful for prospective lawyers as it is an accurate representation of what it’s like to research a legal issue and present your argument in a formal setting. It’s an extremely rewarding experience and looks good on your CV.
Pro Bono is literally translated to “for the public good”. In the legal context, it is providing professional legal services for those who cannot afford them. Cardiff University provides many opportunities to get involved in Pro Bono work from the moment you arrive in the city.
One such project is the Innocence Project, which allows students to work under the supervision of practising solicitors and barristers on cases which involve long-term prisoners who have been convicted of serious offences, but have maintained their innocence.
A vacation scheme is a fancy name for work experience in a law firm. However don’t be fooled, it’s no walk in the park. Most schemes will be a week, with some stretching to two weeks. You’ll be doing a variety of activities, from reading case files to meeting clients, as well as doing the tea run. Vac schemes are essential if you’re interested in pursuing a career in law. Companies will often pick and choose from the vac scheme students to offer some of them training contracts. For that reason, Vacation Schemes could be one of the most important experiences of your law degree!
The Law Society
The law society is a student run society for law students (pretty obvious actually)/. It’s a great place to get to know people on your course who you may not have time to meet as you stumble in and out of lectures and try hiding in the corner of your tutorials furiously writing down every word spoken. In addition to being a great place to socialise, the law society will offer some really great nights out and a fantastic law ball near Easter.
In addition to this, the law society organises events to help you prepare yourself for public speaking, as well as being the driving force of internal mooting.