So as I’m the Chairperson of the University of Leicester Law Society this year and I promised to give you all an insight into the society, I thought I would give you a run-down of everything that we do! It’s a lot of information so brace yourself…
*Disclaimer* – super soppy conclusion, so keep reading til the end!
In first year I joined LULS because I wanted to get involved with the Law Review and the socials, but it ended up being so much more than I ever expected. I remember seeing Ajayta (the Chairperson at the time) giving her speech at orientation day for first years and thinking “I would love to do that job”. And here we are. So my advice, as always, is just get involved and see what happens!
This summer my team and I have undertaken the task of completely re-branding the society. We have a brand new logo (designed by ex-law student and graphic designer Jan Kanuch) and website (all very exciting).
This means we are doing things very differently! I am trying to create a community approach with the society. Law School can be very competitive and daunting, so I am looking for LULS to have a team feel to it, where we are all in this together but pushing each other to be better – and being supportive in that!
So to begin my not-so discreet pitch… we offer sports teams! We have netball and football, and all of this is overseen by our Sports Secretary Abi. These are a great ways to socialise as they go on socials, and we go to national competitions against other law schools. Last year our football team took home the national trophy! And both teams now have lovely new kits thanks to our sponsor Baker & McKenzie, so another incentive to join (you’ll look good whilst playing)!
Mooting! For anyone who just thinks this sounds like a cow mixed with some slang, to clarify, it’s a mock trial competition! You get to practice being a ‘real lawyer’ in the sense that you’re given a case, and you and your partner will be searching the judgements of relevant cases to construct a legal argument in your client’s favour. This is all in pursuit of convincing a judge (who will ask you questions about your arguments) that your side should win! Exciting, right?
Deborah and Marcus mooting in a moot final at the Supreme Court (yes, the real one).
Our fantastic Master and Mistress of the Moots, Derrick and Tabitha, this year have secured a mini pupillage for every winner of these competitions (so there’s lots to work for). For the lower rounds you are judged by other students who have got mooting experience. For the higher rounds we also have academics, barristers, QCs (including last year Dinah Rose QC, and Paul Kingsley Clark from Garden Court Chambers) and judges (including Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom judging one of our finals this year in March). This is the closest experience to being a lawyer that you can get at university. And with such experienced professionals there to judge you, you get to be tested and questioned properly – which really showcases your skills!
Our Law Society has the honour this year of having Lord Neuberger as our President (and he acts as our figurehead within the legal profession) – cool huh? He will be visiting Leicester on 3rd March to deliver a key note lecture, have lunch with our committee and some academics, plus judging the mooting final. It’s going to be a very exciting year. And look at all the awesome and interesting people you can meet by getting involved! (Am I making a good case for being proactive within the society yet?)
We also offer academic competitions which are a great chance to develop your skills for working with clients (more solicitor work, whereas mooting is more barrister stuff – but definitely try both as you never know what you’ll enjoy or be good at). These are run by our lovely Competitions’ Secretaries Lena and Yukit. We offer mediation, negotiation, client interviewing and debating. This year our negotiation competition is sponsored by Baker & McKenzie who will be providing an exclusive open day with them as a prize. For all of these competitions we will provide information in order to train you and we have clear rules so it’s super easy to get involved.
Last year I took part in the client interviewing competition with my partner Marium. Neither of us had done this before and the aim of the competition is basically get to grips with your client in a simulation of your first meeting with them. Despite being so nervous, our preparation paid off and we came 3rd overall – ultimately learning that we are a fantastic team who can almost read each other’s minds and we know when the other needs to step in. It was an invaluable experience and thoroughly enjoyable!
For both mooting and other competitions you can progress to national competitions if you do well, which can mean cash prizes (cue *ooooo* sound).
We have our own Law Review, which I was the Editor-in-Chief of last year, and the Financial Administrator of in first year when it was founded, so it’s kind of my baby. Well, not kind of: when we got the 3rd issue printed I treating it like a newborn child – “everyone be really careful with it”. It was quite hilarious in hindsight, but you put so much passion and love into these projects, you grow to be very attached!
However this year I’ve handed over to the capable and bubbly hands of Lucie (also a student blogger!)
You can find out more at www.luls.org.uk/lawreview. You can submit an article (which can be coursework or original) and there are two issues a year (autumn and spring). You can also become a part of the Leicester Student Law Review (LSLR) committee (deadline 11th October!)
As a collaborative project with other societies you can become a Co-Editor (helping to manage the team, plus having editing responsibilities). Or one of three Sub-Editors (whose job is purely to edit the articles). Then the rest of the team consists of an Events Coordinator (which was Lucie’s job last year, and she and I organised a huge launch with firms attention from across the country to celebrate, and discuss the articles – with the top writers presenting their ideas). Also a Secretary (in charge of publicity and general admin), a Financial Administrator (helping to gain sponsorship and prizes for the Review – last year we secured 11 prizes which included work experience and mock interview sessions with firms across the country – and even one in Jersey), and a Webmaster/Publication Coordinator.
There’s so much to get involved in, no matter what your interest. It’s an unbelievable opportunity which very few law societies run in the UK – and as a growing academic publication it’s a fantastic CV boost! Any questions? Email Lucie at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have a mentoring scheme, run by the wonderful Maria – our International Officer. You can mentor first years and that means you can gain experience in helping younger years with general advice and guidance. Or you can become a mentee where you’ll benefit from the insight of a 2nd or 3rd year! This year one of my initiatives that I wanted to run was a more academic scheme, so Maria and I are pioneering essay help seminars for 1st and possibly 2nd years, where they will be taught top essay writing tips by selected students. We are really trying to push every project to be the best it can be this year!
Also we do trips (yes, there’s more). Abbi, our Academic Officer, organises two trips to Strasbourg ( (to see the EU institutions) and Amsterdam (to see the international courts) so that’s a great way to socialise and learn. The highlights of my visit to Strasbourg:
“Deborah pleaseeeee can we stay so I can get a photo in the European Court of Human Rights in the judge’s chair”
“No Scarlett we’ve been here for hours and I’m hungry”
“I’ll give you chocolate”
(This was after fangirling for 2 hours about the fact we were in THE court where so many high profile and cool cases we had learned about this year had been heard. So nerdy but I don’t even care).
Getting locked in the European Parliament main chamber then losing the rest of the group. Oops.
Dancing to my favourite dancing song ‘Shake It Off’ – Taylor Swift (judge if you must) outside the council of Europe and taking silly pictures whilst still dancing. Plus Fran posing with their flag poles (see below)…
And all the educational stuff that we learned too, of course!
We also do many socials including the Law Bar Crawl (last year I wheelbarrowed from one bar to the next. Fun but it really hurts your hands?!) which is a great way to get to know everyone. Ollie is our Events Coordinator this year and promises the best socials ever.
Plus the extravagant Law Ball. Most of the lecturers go (you may remember me mentioning the infamous lecturer dancing last year) which is lovely, having the whole law school family there.
Another aim for this year is to work more closely with the other law societies for example the ‘Meet the Committees’ event last week where all members were invited to meet us all! It was a great success, and the first of many collaborative events to come. You get to meet so many new people!
We have our sub-committee Pro Bono (www.luls.org.uk/probono) run by Anna!
Pro Bono allows students to apply their legal knowledge in a rewarding and charitable environment. The many projects that they offer are: The Legal Advice Clinic, Project LIGHT, The Immigration and Asylum Project, Street Law, Crime Club, Miscarriages of Justice, Amicus charity, Lawyers without borders. Crazy, right? Anna and all of the directors are amazingly passionate about what they do, and there are just so many opportunities to get involved with! Whether it’s being a project director, a member of one of the teams, or just a Pro Bono member and going to their events like the meet and greet in the incredible Pro Bono week (jam-packed full of educational legal activities), there’s something for everyone!
That’s not to mention our Solicitors’ Reps Kamran and Sophie, and Barristers’ Rep Caitlin who are awesome at organising careers events throughout the year and working closely with the university’s Career Development Service. We do meet and greets with professionals, workshops delivered by firms on everything you need to know about applying etc, and trips (like to the inns of court). Kamran and Sophie are also running a really helpful Solicitors’ newsletter this year where they tell you important information and resources that will help to prepare you for your career as a solicitor. If you want to be fully prepared for a career in law, we are here to make that happen!
Have we impressed you yet?
Some of my aims for this year were to help freshers transition more, so Abbi and I compiled the committees’ top tips in our ‘What I Wish I knew When I Was A Fresher’ guide (included in the first issue of the newsletter). Then every week our newsletter will have links in it so that you can find the information or application forms easily! I also work closely with our dedicated Publicity Officer Zoe and Webmaster Gabriella to ensure that whatever medium you prefer to use, the information you need it all there! We have Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter so add us – uniofleiclawsoc or on Facebook – ‘University of Leicester Law Society’. Plus Zoe and I updated our noticeboard so that you can see all of the committee, plus the newsletter and any events planned. Also, we have a total open door policy for our office next to law reception – so you can pop in anytime from 10am to 4pm every weekday. My new initiative is to publicise who is in the office and when so that you can know when someone is there so you can chat to them face to face!
My amazing executive consisting of Minah our Secretary, and Alex our Treasurer, work so hard with me to make all this possible – and it’s all so we can be the very best for our members.
You can be a part of the Law Society Committee in second year – so get that experience in so you can stand for election or be interviewed (it depends on the role)! But I genuinely couldn’t have asked for a better team of people to work with. You end up making such incredible friends since you work so closely together, and support each other through some truly testing and stressful times. It is truly one of the best experiences I’ve had at university.
If you want to become a member of the Law Society then just sign up here, it’s £15 for the year and £40 for lifetime (plus you get a cool membership card and key ring – and to be honest that’s definitely enough reason to sign up!)
I wish there was a sarcasm button/font.
ANYWAY I think everyone knows how passionate I am about the Law Society – evidenced by my team de-brief last week ending up being a proud mum speech/inspirational pep talk and Derrick saying to me “I thought you were going to cry”. Oops…
Essentially, I don’t think this blog post can convey just how much love I have for this project, and this incredible team of people that make it all possible. So… you’ll just have to join to come and find out for yourself! I joke. Enough with the blatant pitching (for now). My point being that if you get involved in one of the Law Society projects it could become your baby, or at least just a really great experience.
The potential here to grow, learn and love is infinite – you really don’t want to miss out.
And just remember, we are #yourlawsociety