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The University of Southampton
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Colman O'Meara

Law, 2015

Colman O'Meara

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Munich, Germany. I moved to Toronto, Canada at the age of 14, and attended high school and university there before coming to Southampton when I was 23.

What made you select the University of Southampton?

The strong reputation of its law school, as well as the option to complete a law degree in two years rather than the usual three for students who held a previous honours degree.

Did you have any anxieties about going to university?

I was moving to a new country, and had never been to Southampton before, so it was a major transition. But having previously attended university in Toronto, I was not anxious about studying at Southampton at all.

What is Southampton like as a place to study?

It’s a great learning environment. Lecturers and tutorial leaders are approachable and helpful. Highfield campus has a lot of learning spaces to suit everyone’s tastes, whether you prefer learning in groups, studying independently, or even taking the books outside in the warmer months.

What did you enjoy about the course?

I enjoyed how different aspects of law that we learned about independently of each other came together at the end of the course. For example, the tie-ins between the first year module on Constitutional and Administrative Law and the second year module on European Union law brought the latter to life while further developing my understanding of the former.

What did you enjoy about university life more widely?

The opportunity to get to know and learn from a diverse body of students who come from all over the world, both in the classroom and socially.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud that I have been able to establish myself in Southampton, have been academically successful, and managed to find a challenging and relevant legal role a few months after graduation. Building up my CV with relevant experience during a relatively short two year course was difficult, but engaging in extracurriculars (e.g. mooting competitions) was worthwhile.

Tell us about your current role

I work as a Legal Intern within Research and Innovation Services at the University. In this role, I work with the Head of IP, Contracts and Policy on a variety of legal research and drafting activities. My focus has been on projects relating to commercial, company and intellectual property law.

What are your future ambitions?

I’m hoping to take the legal practice course, join a law firm as a trainee, and qualify as a solicitor. At the moment I’m enjoying my work in the area of intellectual property, but am open to exploring other areas of legal work as well.

What advice would you give to a student starting their degree at Southampton?

I would advise students not to limit themselves to campus, but to take advantage of living in a vibrant community. For example, volunteering with the Citizens Advice Bureau is a great way to engage with people, develop transferable skills and enhance your CV, all while leaving your studies behind for a few hours every week.

If you had your time at university again is there anything you’d do differently?

I would try to spread out my learning more throughout the entire year, and give myself less to do in exam period. I’m not sure it would have changed my results, but it would have been far better for my physical and mental health each May.

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