Are you a student at Staffordshire University and considering taking SULAC (Staffordshire University Legal Advice Clinic) as a module during your final year? Emma, a final year Law student shares how choosing the SULAC module has helped develop her confidence and enhance her skills.
I have just completed my final year on the LLB Law at Staffordshire University. During my final year, I undertook SULAC as a module. At the [start] I was very quiet and shy.
If you are considering a career in practice, whether that be a solicitor or barrister, I would highly recommend SULAC as a module.
As you already know, in practice you need to communicate with clients, other solicitors, colleagues, judges, barristers and – depending on your field of preference – the jury. You also need to carry out research and draft legal letters.
During your time in the clinic, you are required to:
- Hold interviews with clients,
- Interact and engage with other students, Tracey, clients and other solicitors and partner organisations. I had an amazing opportunity to work with Woman’s Aid and Lewis Rogers Solicitors.
- Type up a three day letter and letter of advice
- Research the area of law relevant to the matter.
As you can see, you gain and expand upon the skills you need to work in the legal sector, all of which can be mentioned on your CV to make you stand out.
As previously mentioned, when I first started SULAC I was shy, I hated public speaking and I had no self-[appreciation]. Five or six weeks of clinic [changed that]. Once I put my suit on I felt on top of the world; I spoke publicly, I carried out conflict of interest searches and research tasks confidently and, within a short period of time, I was speaking out in classes. I didn’t fear expressing my opinion or engaging in debates.
I have an awful lot to thank the clinic and Tracey for. Tracey is so supportive and amazing to work with. It is scary to think that, if I hadn’t participated in clinic, I would have walked out with a degree but no confidence. The clinic will help you in your studies [as well]! I took Family Law as an option module, which is one of the areas of law that clinic helps with. There were times where I had a case for clinic regarding a family law matter and soon afterwards I had a lecture that matched my client’s request.
As well as working with Lewis Rogers and Woman’s Aid, SULAC gave me [an experience] that I will never forget: the awards evening with the chair of Law Works and the Attorney-General.
[In] your final year, what you do really does matter, so just remember:
- Stay calm
- Deep breaths
- The public are turning to you for help, advice and support. People are already looking up to you
- What you do counts, you are helping the public gain access to legal advice and justice.
- Be yourself.
- Congratulate yourself!
- Reflect on yourself – I frequently compare how I was in the first year to final year. You will see a huge difference and, believe me, that never goes unnoticed by staff.
- Do what feels right for you.
Finally, I just wanted to say to enjoy your final year: relax (but study) and do what is right for you and your future. A huge well done from me for making it this far.
Good luck to Emma who is returning in September to complete the LLM in Legal Practice.