The University of Suffolk is working with Solicitors across the county to offer a mentoring scheme for law students. The first cohort of law students at the University started in 2016 and will now be benefiting from this new scheme.
Stephen Colman, Senior Lecturer in Law said, “We have introduced the Law Student Mentoring Scheme to allow the students to meet local solicitors and barristers to give them an insight into legal practice. In such a competitive market it is crucial that law students understand the commercial reality of legal practice. This scheme should help bridge the gap between law in the books and law in practice.”
Danielle Barker is one of the students taking part in the mentoring programme. She said, “I have not heard of any other university locally that offers a mentorship as part of the degree so it is amazing to have this on my CV. You need a good degree but with most people getting a 2.1 or a First you need the extra other bits to make you stand out and a bit special. I am the President of our Law Society and I also work in a law firm so being able to combine that with this opportunity is fantastic.”
“There are areas of law that in practice are completely different to what we learn in class so it is going to be good to see what it is like to see in the real world. I have been paired with Diana Infanti who is a medical negligence lawyer at Gotelee Solicitors. I wouldn’t have thought about going into medical negligence but with Diana being a partner of her firm I am going to be able to experience what that is like.”
“I went to another university for my first year and then came to the University of Suffolk. You get so many more opportunities at a smaller university such as knowing your lecturer on a first name basis; that doesn’t happen with 300 students in one year.”
Hugh Rowland is a partner at Gotelee Solicitors and said of the mentoring programme “I think it is really important for Gotelee to get involved in this. Local connections for us are hugely important; we make every effort to make sure we have connections throughout the community. What is happening at the University of Suffolk is really exciting. My partner Diana is mentoring this year and I anticipate I will mentor next year. I would hope Gotelee will be a real focal point for offering advice and assistance to students for years to come.”
Student Jack Beddows will be mentored by Denise Head at Bates Wells Braithwaite. He said, “You can do all the learning and the theory but to go into the outside world, into a firm is really valuable. All the practitioners know what we should put on our CV to get a job, to stand out. I am getting a lot of experience just a year and a half into the course and have grown as a person. With things like this mentorship, you have the opportunity to speak to people who are older and wiser than you are which is really valuable.”
Jack’s mentor Denise added, “I think it is a really good idea because certainly as a law student you are not taught how to operate in practice, about practical aspects so I think for a student to gain that experience is invaluable. I think it a great thing to offer law as a degree here in Ipswich and that the University is growing.”
Law has proved to be a popular course option amongst applicants and the University are responding to demand by offering three new degrees from September 2018, Law as single honours, Law with Politics and Law with Business Management.
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