Although studying law was not part of his carefully thought-out plan Anant Rangan talks to Behind the Scenes at BLS this week about how being a part of BLS has exceeded his expectations and gave him opportunities not only to jumpstart his legal career, but also friendships, experiences, and community.
Studying law at BLS was not part of a carefully thought-out plan. My background as a career-changing mature student differs from most of my cohort. I never considered studying in the UK until I reconnected with an old friend in 2017 who was reading law elsewhere here. Something clicked and within a few months I changed my life entirely.
I fumbled my way through UCAS with help from my friend. I took a new job as a paralegal in the Bronx, a one-month temp role that turned into a six-month crash course in legal work. I only stopped working two weeks before my flight to London, leaving just enough time to wrap up life in New York.
I came to Birmingham sight unseen and unsure of what to expect. I had anxieties about culture shock and being older than most of my cohort, but I was laser-focused on my legal career and knew that would see me through. I did not expect to make true friends here but BLS caught me off guard. Clichéd as it sounds, I found a very welcoming community and soon had a group of close friends. Still driven by the feeling of being behind, however, I maximised absolutely every opportunity.
Academically, I have loved the teaching at Birmingham. With due respect to lectures and their importance, I thrive on in-depth discussions during seminars. Modules like Public Law and Political and Legal Theory helped me explore the theoretical side of law, while Employment Law in Practice and Real Estate facilitated practical learning. Thankfully, support from academic staff and coursemates has made even the most difficult concepts digestible.
But BLS is much more than its academic offerings. I attended every careers talk, workshop, and job fair on campus. I participated in all four CEPLER advocacy competitions and represented BLS at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition. I even had the rare opportunity of working on a pro bono project in my first year, alongside the APPG for Disability and Disability Rights UK.
In years two and three, I served as a pro bono group FLAG Coordinator - my most rewarding law school experience - and contributed to the Streetlaw, Environmental Law Matters, and Freedom Law Clinic projects. I had the good fortune of securing a position with Professor McAuliffe researching Law and Language at the European Court of Justice, and I am currently assisting Professor McHale and Dr Noszlopy to study the impacts of Covid-19 social care ‘easements’.
Although these experiences have been independently fulfilling, they have also been integral to improving my career prospects. Without CEPLER’s support and the skills gained from my extracurricular activities at BLS, I would not have secured several vacation scheme and training contract offers.
To say BLS has exceeded my expectations is an understatement. I arrived single-mindedly, to jumpstart my legal career, but BLS offered much more. I will walk away this summer enriched by the friendships, experiences, and community I found here. For that, I am truly grateful.