On hearing that I’ve secured pupillage recently (see Pupillage Interview: Success!), the Open University has invited me along, as one of its law graduates, to record a video with tips for others who may be contemplating a career via the OU route.
I’m not sure how the video is likely to turn out, although I’ve been given a list of questions to get me thinking about useful stuff I could say. I’ve also been asked to submit photographs (such as the one accompanying this post) which show the sort of things I was able to do while studying part-time, and at a distance.
My aim with this post is to answer some of those questions in outline. Hopefully, this will ensure that I don’t go blank when the camera starts rolling!
Who am I? —
Birmingham lad from a working-class background.
Diagnosed with bone cancer at age six. This disrupted my early education.
Worked for a haulage firm after leaving school. A good job, but I wanted more.
Became a self-employed musician. This boosted my confidence and self-belief.
Bitten by the “law bug” in 2005, after getting an unfair parking ticket quashed.
Careers advisor recommended the OU, as my lack of A-Levels posed no barrier.
Today, I’m a criminal barrister, having been recruited by the Crown Prosecution Service.
What is the BEST thing about studying law with the OU? —
In a word: freedom!
Freedom to earn while you learn — so no debts on graduation.
Freedom to pursue legal work experience — giving you a competitive advantage.
Freedom to explore the full range of possible careers — an OU law degree takes 6 years.
What is the TOUGHEST thing about studying law with the OU? —
The need to motivate yourself… constantly.
Find ways to get inspired, and stay inspired.
Combine education with entertainment… giving yourself “edutainment!”
Read novels about fictional lawyers — e.g. works of John Grisham & Michael Connelly.
Read biographies of historic lawyers — e.g. William Garrow, self-taught in the law!
Watch realistic drama that gives a flavour of the law — e.g. Rumpole of the Bailey.
Also, you can turn-up at real courts any time and ask to observe a trial.
What 3 general tips would I offer to OU law students? —
(1) STAY ORGANISED! — 16 hours per week (plus coursework). Revise as you go.
(2) ASK FOR HELP! — Speak to your personal tutor about any issues arising.
(3) BE OPINIONATED! — Develop critical thinking via friendly debate and blogging.
What do I know about the OU Law Society? —
Run by past and present students.
It organises ‘moots’ — mock legal appeals, in which fellow students compete.
Often, moots are judged by real judges and lawyers, who offer invaluable feedback.
Internal competitions pit OU law students against one another.
External competitions pit OU law students against students from other universities.
To get involved, visit the website: OULS.org