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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

Lauren Winser LLB Law

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Hi, I'm Lauren Winser and I am studying LLB Law.

My main advice would be to embrace all the opportunities that are offered. There are so many great events and competitions to get involved with throughout the year which are a great environment in which to ‘find your feet’.

What made you choose Southampton for your studies?

One of the main reasons I chose to study at Southampton is because, when I attended the University open day, I could really picture myself studying and living here; it was the university that I liked the most in terms of the campus and facilities, and I didn’t feel so estranged as I did at other university open days. For me, Southampton is a good balance between being away from home but not too far away.

Focusing on the law school in particular, I found that the staff and students were very welcoming and informative on the open days. I liked how there was no assumption that anyone was set on Southampton. Instead, the aim of the day was to sell the law school to prospective students through speaking with lecturers and academic staff and getting a student perspective on both the course and life in Southampton.

What have been your highlights whilst studying here?

I would have to say that my highlight is placing runner-up in the University of Southampton Mooting Competition that was held in the UK Supreme Court. Having never visited the court before, it was such a unique experience being able to moot in front of Lord Briggs, especially as I was only in my first year. I obtained such valuable feedback and even got to go behind the scenes into Lord Briggs’ chambers. This experience gave me a great confidence boost in terms of my potential as a barrister.

Another highlight of mine is being selected for the GNLU International Moot Court Competition that is being held in India in February 2020. I have not been to India before, so I’m really looking forward to experiencing another culture while advocating and representing Southampton. It is true that Southampton can take you to places you never thought you would go!

What opportunities have you taken up (within your degree programme and extra-curricular)? In what ways have they helped your personal development?

Following my involvement with the society in first year, I was selected for the position of treasurer for the Southampton University Inns of Court Society. This involves implementing financial oversight and exercising responsibility for budgeting and merchandise. I successfully obtained over £600 of funding. I was also selected to step up as the new Vice-President. These roles have allowed me to develop my leadership skills and have been a great opportunity to meet new people. As a committee, we have successfully tackled a number of issues.

In first year, I was elected to stand as course representative for law. I stood as a first point of contact for any issues within the course by providing students with a voice. I also facilitated faculty decisions by gathering feedback from peers and contributing to faculty meetings. This allowed me to gain confidence and build rapport with a number of staff members.

As mentioned, participation in a range of extra-curricular mooting opportunities has given me a number of occasions to develop many skills, including legal analysis, oral presentation skills and hugely impacted my confidence in attempting new challenges.

One of the most significant opportunities I have been offered is a place on the BarLink programmed with 12 College Place, Southampton. Attending court and chambers on numerous occasions with a multi-disciplinary barrister has allowed me to gain greater understanding of post-graduate training and application processes. I have been exposed to some unique situations and witnessed the importance of building rapport by observing conferences with clients. The experience has been vital in giving me continuous insight into my chosen career.

Finally, I supported the Law School Induction Programme by acting as a mentor for new first-year students. A group of peer mentors and I designed the teambuilding events to aid new students in the transition to university. This was a very rewarding activity that positively impacted others.

Do you participate in any extra-curricular activities that provide skills that you will use after leaving university? For example, marshalling, mooting, pro bono work, etc.

In terms of extra-curricular activities, I have participated in a number of mooting competitions, both internal and at national level. This includes the Supreme Court moot (March 2019) and GNLU International moot (Feb 2020) mentioned above, and also the Inns of Court Society speed moot competition in first year (Jan 2019) and the ESU-Essex Court Chambers national mooting competition (Jan-June 2019) in which my partner and I reached the semi-final out of 64 teams. My involvement in these activities has allowed me to develop my skills in advocacy and presenting oral submissions. It has also positively impacted my academic studies in terms of research and ability to analyse legal authorities.

I have also taken part in the BPP Advocate of the Year Mock Trial Competition (Nov 2019). This was a great opportunity to change the lens from appeal to trial. It definitely developed my confidence in questioning witness and building legal arguments for a case.

I am also very keen to apply for the university marshalling scheme in the near future, as this would allow me to view cases from a different perspective. One of the reasons I am eager to pursue a career at the Bar is in the hope of ultimately qualifying as a judge.

What do you enjoy most about your course?

One of the things I really like about studying law is that both the course itself and the extra-curricular opportunities that come with it provide a constant environment to develop. I am constantly striving for improvement in terms of academic and personal achievement, and the staff at the law school have helped facilitate this.

What networking, employment and work experience opportunities have you undertaken, and have they enhanced your Southampton experience? For example, studying abroad, a Year in Employment, the Careers Fair etc.

In my first year, I attended the Inner Temple Dinner to the Universities with the university Inns of Court Society. This event broadened my understanding of a career at the Bar as I was able to obtain first-hand advice from qualified barristers, which strengthened my interest in pursuing a career at the Bar. I connected with a number of barristers and was fortunate to obtain a week-long mini-pupillage with a chambers in London as a result of the event. This definitely enhanced my experience at Southampton. I have had nothing but positive repercussions as a result of embracing these opportunities.

Another of the key networking opportunities I have undertaken is the annual Law Careers Fair. This is a great chance to meet representatives from a wide range of firms and chambers, including trainees and recruitment advisors, who are able to provide valuable advice and information as to their application processes. It is also a great way to introduce and sell yourself to the company to make your name stand out from other candidates. The Careers Fair is a highlight of the academic calendar as it offers the perfect networking environment.

What is Southampton like as a place to study?

I have had a great experience studying in Southampton so far. The course covers a diverse range of core and optional modules, and you are given an element of choice from year 1. The lecturers and tutors are really enthusiastic about what they teach, so are always on hand to help with academic queries whenever they arise. It is also great having the supermarkets nearby and city centre only a short bus ride away – you are surrounded by everything you need.

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

My main advice would be to embrace all the opportunities that are offered. There are so many great events and competitions to get involved with throughout the year which are a great environment in which to ‘find your feet’. It can seem overwhelming, but everyone is going through this experience for the first time so don’t let nerves or unfamiliarity prevent you from participating! I got myself into a good habit, even more so in first year, of accepting almost any opportunity, including extra-curricular mooting and networking dinners, in order to build a broad range of experience alongside my studies. I now find myself in a better position than some of my peers who did not embrace such activities, and I am equipped with new skills and invaluable contacts.

Also, I would definitely encourage new students to make the most of the law school staff. It is great to build rapport with your Personal Academic Tutor as their support is so valuable, both for academic and non-academic reasons.

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