School of Law

Chris Chilton

| 2010 - 2011

About me
I seem to have been a student forever, but have loved every minute of it so far! I grew up in Derby and have wanted to become a Barrister since I was about 13 - and the ambition is still going strong!

Having gone to school in Derby and Nottingham, I completed my undergraduate Law degree at the University of Durham during 2005-2008 and then studied on the Bar Vocational Course at BPP Law School in Leeds in 2008-2009.

I was called to the Bar as a Barrister in July 2009 – although my life is not all studying! I qualified as a lifeguard eight years ago and work at a leisure centre back home during the holidays. I have also taken my work as a lifeguard further afield, as during my past four university summer vacations I have worked as a counsellor and lifeguard at a summer camp in New York – an amazing experience and something which I am always encouraging others to do.

 I also love seeing more of the world and always make sure that after finishing at summer camp I go travelling to see the sights. As well as my years studying, I also took a gap year during 2009-2010 and worked an unforgettable ski season at a ski resort in Canada.

My passion for Law
I had received an offer to study at Leeds at undergraduate level and although I didn’t end up coming, I had already got the impression that it was great University and the Law courses especially were very well run. A few years later, when I decided that I wanted to study for a Masters degree, I was studying on the Bar Vocational Course at BPP Law School in Leeds.

My very positive experiences of living and studying in the city made it my top choice for studying at Postgraduate level and I haven’t looked back since.

Criminal Law is always what I have wanted to focus on in my career as a Barrister. Since I first decided to go into the profession, I have wanted to study Criminal Law because I believe it offers the widest variety of interesting and challenging legal work – something which my studies and work experience have repeatedly confirmed. When deciding to study for a Masters Degree, I jumped at the chance to focus on Criminal Law and further develop my interest in this area.

My experience on the course
I love studying on my course and have found the work challenging but stimulating at the same time. My tutors have always been really supportive of my work and always strive to offer support or feedback when it is needed.

I especially enjoy the Criminal Law module, as it is great to cover the new developments in the Law that have taken place in the few years since I last studied the subject. Being a Postgraduate, I am also encouraged to undertake a lot of my own research and I am very much looking forward to completing my dissertation on a topic that is of great interest to me.

The city of Leeds is fantastic! My enjoyment of living and studying in Leeds whilst on the Bar Vocational Course was the main reason for my wanting to continue living and studying here when I started my Postgraduate course.

Leeds is such a huge mix of a city and combines so much culture and history with great universities, restaurants and nightlife. It is also so placed that just about every other city in the UK is very easily accessible – great for going to visit friends or for travelling to job interviews. Before coming here to study, I had no idea that in Leeds you can eat at a different restaurant every day for a month and still have plenty left over – although I have my favourites of course!

I would say the most surprising thing is how big the city is, yet how close-knit it seems at the same time. Leeds is one of the biggest student centres in the country and attracts a massive range of people from all cultures and backgrounds who are spread across the city, yet everyone enjoys the same restaurants and bars and has a good time together.

The friendliness of the city has really become apparent to me whilst living here and as a result, I would be very happy basing my career here in the future.

Learning facilities
The learning facilities in the School of Law are first class! The new Liberty Building is a fantastic environment in which to study Law and get your degree and the facilities in the building are second-to-none. That said, even before we moved into the new building, the facilities provided by the were top notch.

The University has two huge libraries which cater to just about every study need a student could wish for and their long opening times during exam periods mean that even those night owls (like me!) have a place to go to revise. The large number of computer clusters around the university also means that you can always find a PC to work from.

Studying aside, the University of Leeds is pretty much its own self-contained town, complete with take-aways, opticians, a hairdressing salon, cafes, supermarket, bookshop, housing service and much more. You could probably live for a year on campus and never set foot in the rest of Leeds if you really wanted to. Leeds is a fantastic environment for a student to grow up in and the university’s facilities really do cater for everyone’s needs.

Get involved
I think I can safely say that if you are interested in something, the University of Leeds will cater for it in some club or society and in the unlikely even that it does not, you can start you own club! The Freshers’ Fair is a fantastic way to get to know all the clubs and societies offered here and is also a chance for you to sign up for all those random things that you have always wanted to do.

As I have been in Scouts and St John Ambulance for just about forever, I joined those societies when I arrived at Leeds and thoroughly enjoy participating in them. The School of Law also offers a great range of activities to help students on their way to becoming lawyers – such as mooting (mock court cases), debating, negotiating, pro bono work and sports.

As a qualified Barrister, I became heavily involved with mooting and ended up judging many of the moots and a mock trial for the undergraduate students – it has been great to pass on the things I have learned to others, in order to help them on their way towards their future careers.

My career aspirations
Once I have finished at Leeds, I intend to practise as a Barrister specialising in Criminal Law – it has always been my ambition and I am confident that I will enjoy it immensely. I am currently in the process of applying for Pupillage (kind of like a Barrister’s apprenticeship) and am confident that one will be forthcoming very soon. Hopefully, that will mark the start of a long and successful career as a Barrister and then a Judge.

I have had an amazing time studying in the School of Law and at the University of Leeds in general and would encourage everyone who is thinking about applying to definitely apply! Thanks to all the lecturers and support staff at Leeds who have made my time here so enjoyable and successful.

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