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Sam O'Toole

LLB (Hons) Law
Graduated 2016

Portrait image of Sam O'Toole

Why did you decide to come to Solent?

I came to Solent from college – though after doing very (very) badly in my A-levels I took two years out between college and uni to work as a ski instructor in Austria. I picked Solent because I wanted to do the law foundation year.

What was the best thing about your course?

Law at Solent is for you if you are looking to develop academic skills with real-life applications. All of the lecturers are down-to-earth, knowledgeable and approachable; they’re very friendly and always happy to help. No question was a silly one to ask, and they all genuinely care about students’ progression. The library is also good, and for law the online subscription services that the University provides are industry-standard, so very up to the job.

What did you learn or study which has stuck with you over the years?

The things I learnt at uni, such as legal research and writing, are my daily tools for work. But the thing that’s really stuck with me is intellectual property – I think it’s cool how brand owners use a range of legal rights to protect others from copying their brand. This certainly stuck with me as I now work with brand owners to protect their rights.

What opportunities did you get to build practical experience?

One of my lecturers put me in contact with a local specialist law firm where I ended up doing a work experience placement, and ultimately this led to me being taken on as a trainee solicitor once I graduated. I also got the opportunity to work with the uni at Glastonbury Festival! I was a copyright clearance officer, meaning I was signing contracts with big artists. That whole experience was great for putting my academic knowledge into place while in a big, muddy field.

Law at Solent is for you if you are looking to develop academic skills with real-life applications. All of the lecturers are down-to-earth, knowledgeable and approachable.

What’s life like in law?

It’s been fantastic. Sure, there are occasional late nights at the office, but getting a good result for a client is a great feeling. I began as a trainee solicitor in 2016, and qualified in 2018. Getting used to the nine-to-five routine was a shock to the system – learning to be organised was tough at first, but it did come eventually. Now, no two days are the same. I usually begin the day by dealing with emails; then it can range from preparing court documents to having meetings with clients whose rights have been infringed.

What are you working on at the moment?

I recently moved to London to start at a new firm. At the moment I am working on a letter of claim – my client’s intellectual property rights have been infringed and I am just finalising the first formal step towards court action.

What’s been your career highlight so far?

Winning my first case is probably the biggest highlight. I was a trainee solicitor who had never said a word in front of a judge, but somehow all the planning came together and we won.