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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

Anna Leathem LLB with International Legal Studies

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I chose the University of Southampton primarily for its reputation and in being a Russell Group University. Although I wasn’t sure if I wanted a career in Law when I was looking at universities, I knew that having my undergraduate degree from Southampton would stand me in good stead when applying for graduate schemes.

I chose the University of Southampton primarily for its reputation and in being a Russell Group University. Although I wasn’t sure if I wanted a career in Law when I was looking at universities, I knew that having my undergraduate degree from Southampton would stand me in good stead when applying for graduate schemes. What sealed it for me, however, was the fact that Southampton offered the LLB with International Legal Studies as an additional year. I had always wanted to study abroad and Southampton is well connected with various universities across the globe.

Having taken a year out before embarking on my undergraduate degree, I was most anxious about the difficulty of the subject matter and getting back into studying. Although I was aware that the level of study would be significantly harder than A Levels, I was not sure what was to be expected of me and exactly how much work would be required. I was particularly concerned that the work-life balance would be hard to maintain as I knew that I wanted to make the most of my degree whilst also making new friends and enjoying the social aspects of university. My fears were immediately overcome by the introductory period at Southampton. Not only did this introduce me to other individuals on my course but it also outlined the level of work required.

I have thoroughly enjoyed studying at Southampton, in part due to the atmosphere around campus and the wide range of societies on offer by the student body. What has made the most difference for me, however, has been the relationships I have been able to forge with my lecturers. Whether it is a question concerning a piece of work or a general problem, I feel comfortable going to my lecturers and with an open door policy, they are more than happy to help. Some of my lecturers have come from practicing law, and as an aspiring barrister, I have been fortunate to speak with them and gain advice on the profession.

As someone who prefers to work late into the night, the 24 hour opening hours at the library during exam period is a great benefit. It provides me with a safe and comfortable working environment and one that I am more productive in than at home. It has a wide variety of books and access to many publications online. If you can’t find a book you are looking for or cannot access work, then the library staff are always on hand to help. There is a law undergraduate room for students to study in which also has access to useful materials specific to law. The Jubilee Sports Centre is in close proximity to the library which is useful when you want a break from studying and a change of environment!

Academically, I have been incredibly fortunate with the opportunities Southampton has provided. In my second year, I took part in the Streetlaw scheme which involves delivering a presentation on an area of law to secondary school students. It was particularly encouraging to see the engagement and enthusiasm of the students and their interest in attending university as a result of our presentation. In addition, we received very positive feedback from the teaching staff at the local secondary school. As a result, I was presented with the contribution to the law school award. Another highlight of my time at Southampton was being the first successful applicant of the Lord Justice Fulford scheme. I was privileged to spend a week in the Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, shadowing and interacting with very senior members of the judiciary. It was an invaluable and unforgettable experience and one in which I am extremely grateful to the Law School for providing. Finally, this year I was selected to attend a dinner with Lord Neuberger. It felt very surreal to sit opposite the President of the Supreme Court and have him ask you about your future career aspirations!

Southampton has provided me with a safe environment in which to grow as an individual and has prepared me for my future outside of education. In particular, I have met and worked with people from all walks of life which has helped me to deal with other people and their ideas. This is a key transferrable skill as I will undoubtedly come across and work with a variety of individuals during my career. Throughout my time here, the University has hosted numerous networking events with employers which has improved my confidence no end.

Law affects every part of our lives and it is easy to find examples in everyday life from purchasing something at a shop to driving a car. It is therefore constantly evolving and new challenges are always emerging. For that reason, I thoroughly enjoy the course as lecturers have to keep up to date with research and what they are teaching. This is no more apparent than in Family Law which I have taken in my final year. As an example, a family case was heard in the Court of Appeal the morning of my lecture which changed the content of what we were being taught just an hour later!

In my final year, I was given the option to take a non-law module such as business or a language. I think this is a great opportunity to enhance your studies by broadening your knowledge outside of law whilst also allowing for interaction with students outside of your cohort.

I lived at home during my first year at Southampton as I knew I wanted to save money for my year abroad (and not enter my overdraft!) Whilst living at home isn’t necessarily an attractive option, it did not restrict me from making friends or prevent me from going out as I was able to stay with friends in their University accommodation.

Southampton is a great place to live as you have the benefits of city life whilst also being closely connected to the countryside. A new leisure complex recently opened which boasts a wide range of restaurants (many of them offer student discount), bowling and a cinema. There are plenty of clubs in Southampton and you will be hard pushed not to find somewhere that takes your fancy or that doesn’t suit your budget. They are all easy to get to and some are conveniently in walking distance from the University and accommodation.

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