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First-year law student Elysia Shirley talks through her time so far, from seminars to mentoring to getting essential work experience in a local law firm.

30th April 2021
Law and criminologyLaw

I began studying at Solent Law School in 2020, and I immediately found the staff welcoming, informative, helpful and guiding. The welcome week consisted of smaller style seminars, where different lecturers would introduce themselves and discuss the year ahead – modules’ contents and their expectations, the grading scheme, extracurricular opportunities, career options from the degree, library details, legal research advice, a basic introduction to the law, delivery plans, useful study skills, the works.

Within your first year you can expect legal foundational modules, with each boasting informative lectures and interactive seminars, where individual developments are supported, and group discussions are encouraged. The information learnt in lectures is applied within the seminars, where its relevance is clear, and a deeper understanding is formed.

The lecturers and staff were never unreachable, nor further than an email away. And each module leader held a scheduled weekly ‘office hour’, which was a separate slot delegated to each year group, allowing a one-to-one style experience which offered us the opportunity to ask specific questions.

While the academic side to the first year of the LLB at Solent is unparalleled, the experiences outside of the lectures are just as available and valuable. So far the law school has provided external lectures held by judges, solicitors, barristers and other individuals in the legal profession, which were a remarkable bonus to the first year.

We were also given the opportunity to join online training sessions on legal databases, and get qualifications which will ensure we stand out amongst other graduates to future employers. Solent Futures, the uni’s careers service, also provided us with both group and one-to-one CV sessions, providing the opportunity to get feedback on, and improvements for my CV, boosting my employability.  

Within my year, I was elected as the faculty student representative – one of the many roles that students are able to run for within the university. Being a student rep has provided me with a close relationship with the Students’ Union, and has enabled me to bring forward student concerns and worries and ensure they are resolved. I have also successfully started up a law mentoring scheme, SLAMS, that is available for all students to be a part of, and launched a new Law Society – something I’m hopeful to see continue in the future.

From the beginning of my studies at Solent Law School, my desired career choices and paths were encouraged and nurtured through meetings, sign-posting and one-to-one discussions. With Solent Futures, to discuss the best routes to begin preparing for my future legal career. And with the course team, who were happy to read through my cover letters and introduction paragraphs before I sent them out with applications; their help was never short of outstanding. 

With all that help, I successfully secured a role within the Citizens Advice Vulnerable Witness Service, and am currently in my training stage to becoming an accredited volunteer; something that will be contributing towards my SQE qualification subsequent to my graduation.

I have also since acquired work experience within a Southampton-based law firm, writing both legal news and informative articles, with the ambition to begin working at the firm in person once that’s finally permitted!

In summary, then? My first year at Solent Law School has been outstanding, with every staff member being helpful, willing, informative, supportive, knowledgeable, and attentive to their students’ needs.

The extracurricular opportunities have also been well advertised, available and accessible, really enhancing my experience. And the support I have received when asking for help, whether related to education or work experience , has been phenomenal. I could not have chosen a better University to study my law degree, in preparation for my future successful legal career!

To find out more about law at Solent, visit our law pages.