Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Annie McElwain

LLB Law | 2010 - 2013

Photo of Annie McElwain

About me
For me, Leeds just felt right. Strange I know, but I got this feeling as soon as I set foot on the campus and walked around the Law School and the Students’ Union.

I could picture myself here and could picture myself in the city, and combined with a great course with plenty of options and opportunities it as a mix that I couldn’t ignore. Leeds is also the second largest legal centre outside of London and has a number of large reputable law firms and chambers just minutes away from the University. Law firms actively recruit from Leeds so not only did I think I’d have a great time in the city and the University I also knew I would have the opportunity to make links with reputable law firms.

My passion for Law
For as long as I remember I wanted to be a lawyer so a Law degree seemed to obvious choice and more I researched this course, the more it appealed to me. Law interlinks with almost every aspect of daily life and across many fields, from business to sport to the media.

Almost everything these practices do has a legal aspect to it; Cadbury’s takeover by Kraft, John Terry’s super injunction being granted and subsequently quashed and the recent telephone hacking investigations relating to the News of the World, all will have had solicitors and barristers working behind the scenes, orchestrating how it played out.  

The reason I’m so passionate about the law is because everything has a legal aspect to it and that’s something I’m keen to explore.

The course
I have thoroughly enjoyed my first, though initially shocked on how independent I would have to be compared to my years at Sixth Form that is something I have thrived on and has allowed me to develop my learning style accordingly.

I have particularly enjoyed the Constitutional and Administrative Law module, as it has allowed me to further develop my understanding of our unusual constitutional position and how the different political institutions work together to govern the country.

I’m looking forward to my 2nd Year of the LLB as not only does it enable me to study the intriguing Criminal Law module it also allows me to select optional modules so that I can begin to choose which particular avenue of law I want to explore.

The School of Law
I’m lucky in the sense that being a 1st Year in 2010 I’ve been witness to the opening of the Liberty Building,, the brand new home for the School of Law. Being a state of the art building the facilities are fantastic and purpose built to fit the school’s needs so you’re never far away from the resources you’ll need for that next essay.

The University also has brilliant facilities both learning and otherwise; there are two huge libraries, and the main law library, the Brotherton Library is the 4th largest research library in the UK so it’s safe to say that if you can’t find the material you’re looking for in there it’s unlikely you’ll find it at all!

The support within the school has been fantastic; from the Pastoral Support Team to the individual lecturers and tutors there is always someone who can help you with any problem, however big or small.

When struggling with a certain point I emailed my tutor who emailed back almost instantly and we arranged a time that I could go in and talk things through with her. That little bit of help made me see things clearly and assured me that I wasn’t expected to struggle on alone, tutors are available if you need them and are happy to help you.

Outside of study
The first thing I did when I arrived at the Law School was to join the Law Society and it was quite frankly the best thing I could have done. To sound clichéd, the Law Society (LawSoc) is one large family and some of my best friends are those whom I met on the first couple of socials the Society organises.

It’s the largest and most active society in the Union so the idea can seem a little daunting, but like I say, it’s like one large family and you instantly feel welcome.

LawSoc provides so many opportunities for its members, from debating, mooting and negotiating to enhance those skills necessary in the legal profession to organising pro-bono activities to give back to the local community within Leeds, there is always something happening and always something to get involved in.

Aside from LawSoc the Fresher’s Fair in the first few weeks of the first semester makes the Union a hub of activity, there’s a society for almost anything you can think of, from departmental to sports to faith to the plain outrageous.

City life
As a city Leeds is fantastic. There’s something to appeal to everyone, whether its gigs at smaller clubs such as Cockpit or bigger more mainstream acts at the O2 academy, cocktail bars, pubs or clubs the city has so much to offer.

The shopping is equally as fantastic and with much of the main shopping area pedestrianised is great to explore and you could eat in a different restaurant each completely different every night without getting bored. Leeds is a social hub and there’s always something to do whatever the weather and whatever your mood.

Leeds has something for everyone and is a warm welcoming city; large enough to have everything you need on your doorstep but small enough that it feels homely enough that you wouldn’t feel lost.

With the mixture of Universities and Colleges the city is one that is welcoming and accommodating for students yet is still steeped in culture and one you feel happy to be a part of. Leeds also has great transport links so you show your friends and family the city or travel around the country yourself.

My plans for the future
Once I’ve finished my course I hope to have secured a training contract (the last formal training for a solicitor) which will enable me to take the Legal Practice Course before beginning the training contract and then qualifying as a solicitor (fingers crossed) . I’m hoping to work for a larger commercial firm either here in Leeds or potentially further afield such as London.


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