Second year student Jessica-Leigh Knowles talks about life as an international student on the LLB for Graduates programme.
Title: Birmingham Law Student Jessica-Leigh Knowles
The main reason I chose this programme, the LLB for Grads programme, from Canada is the attraction of the two year qualifying Law degree that you get out of it. So that would be a UK qualifying Law degree. With that you can, you have the option to stay in the UK and practice here as long as, on condition that you do the LPC, or you can return back to Canada and you can do some conversion exams which are relatively simple, it’s about a one year process, so the attraction of getting it done in two years, I mean, financially as well as time wise is attractive to us to come over. Second of all this programme has supervision groups, which are seminars, it prompts group discussions, intimate groups, so you get a lot of talking and its not just the lecturer talking to you. That said the lecturers are quite good here. When you’re reading through your text books you can see names in the footnotes of your lecturers and that’s always quite exciting.
Last year I Mooted. The topic was on UK Constitutional Law. It was a very interesting experience because it was kind of like being thrown in head first into the deep end of the swimming pool because I’d only been on the course for six weeks. So actually what the experience taught me was efficiency of going through a large amount of subject matter quickly. You have to go through and find cases and you have to find pertinent information and also learn the topic, so you learn research, you also learn advocacy skills, public speaking, although I did not win my Moot it was a great learning experience and I actually would recommend it to anyone on the course to try it because the experience is priceless.
Well the University of Birmingham Law School, it’s biggest asset I would say is its Harding Law Library, it’s its own dedicated Law library. So in here you have all the books that you need. Recommended text books are plenty, especially in our short loan section, so you’re virtually guaranteed to always have one available to you. During exam time it is especially great to have this Library because the Main Library is often very packed and you don’t have a quiet place to study then, but if you come here you know you’re almost guaranteed a place. You also have access to a lot of online resources such as LexisNexis as well as Westlaw where you can find all your cases and journals should you not be able to come right into the Library. Also, again as this is a campus university everything is within 10 minutes walking distance so anything, pubs, restaurants etc and the train station, because it has its own dedicated train station. As a member of the University of Birmingham Athletic Team I can say that the athletic facilities here are top notch!
The University of Birmingham has an annual Law Fair and at this Law Fair there’s often the big magic circle Law firms, you also have mid-sized firms, you also get the small firms so you get perspective from all of them, opportunities to speak with trainees as well as partners and graduate recruitment. Also we do have the Holdsworth Club, that’s actually kind of our Law Society and they put on events as well because they are intimately tied to the big magic circle firms. Also they have Pro Bono Law Group as well which you can get involved in and deal directly with some clients.
Plans for the Future
At graduation I have a few options. I have applied to the LPC, I am also planning on applying for some training contracts her in the UK but at the same time I am also exploring options in Canada. The amazing thing about this course when you come over here is you do have the option to look at multiple markets and so for that reason I can’t say with certainty where I’m going to be as of yet, but the opportunities are plenty.