The University of East Anglia Law Society are the newest member of the TSL Law Society Scheme. We recently sat down with their President Maggie Berry to talk about everything the law society is doing for its members.
Hi Maggie, please could you introduce yourself for the readers.
Come September I will be a third year student at UEA and President of the UEA Law Society. I am an aspiring commercial solicitor and hope to secure a London training contract. I was first introduced to the Law Society when I competed in Mooting in my first year. I really enjoyed this competition and reached the final where I competed at Norwich Crown Court. I met many people in the society through the competitions and socials during my first year and then come second year applied to coordinate the Mooting Competition. I was successful in this application and joined the committee as Beginners Mooting Coordinator. This was really enjoyable and gave me the opportunity to learn the way the committee operated and network with students and sponsors. This put me in a good position to run for President, even if I had to do it remotely due to the term being suspended early.
Could you tell us about the UEA law society and what you think sets it apart from other university law societies.
The UEA Law Society is an incredible society and one of the most popular at UEA. It is open to all law students, including those studying the GDL or LPC on campus, but also non law students at UEA. This means everyone has the opportunity to experience the amazing events the society has to offer. The society has been nominated for numerous awards over the years and won the lawcareers.net award for the ‘Best Pro Bono Activities’. The Law Society has a diverse social calendar and provides amazing employability opportunities across the year. The standard of our competitions is incredible and UEA always performs exceptionally at external competitions. This year the Law Society extended its relationship with the local community by hosting an Access to Justice Charity event in partnership with the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Norwich. This showcased the talent of the students in the various competitions for which the winners received work experience with the sponsors, and raised money for Citizens’ Advice and Partners. We are also very proud to be introducing a Diversity and Inclusion panel this year run by our Equality and Diversity officer. Each year the committee is dedicated to providing the best for its members and the sense of community within the society sets us aside from any other.
What sort of events do you typically put on for your members to help with their careers and studies?
The Law Society has many events which aid our students with employability and their studies. Our 7 competitions are a huge part of this as it gives students a chance to develop skills such as advocacy, research and commercial awareness; all of which are essential for a successful career after university whether that be in the legal sector or not. The competitions also provide an opportunity for students to use the materials they have learnt throughout the course in a practical exercise. This is a great tool for developing understanding and critical thinking. The Society also has a close relationship with Norfolk Community Law Service and UEA Street Law which provide our students with the opportunity to volunteer in the community and gain experience. Throughout the year we also offer careers and skills workshops, some hosted by members but many through the societies partner firms and businesses. Networking is a big part of the legal sector and the society is proud to provide many opportunities for this over the year.
How about the social side of things?
The UEA Law Society has an equal amount of experiences on the social side too. Over the course of the year we host a wide range of events for our members, for example nights out, balls, quizzes and mixers. The Christmas and Spring Balls are key dates in our calendar and give the society an opportunity to celebrate student achievement in front of staff and students. The Law Society also plays a big part in Welcome Week, which is at the start of every new academic year. Ensuring first year students feel welcomed into the society is a priority for everyone on the Committee. One of the biggest social events we offer our members is a trip abroad each year. This year the society went to Prague in February and had an amazing time and we hope it’s possible to continue this next year. The committee is aware of the challenges that may be in the way of ensuring we continue to offer social events for students this year, however we are already exploring online social events, e,g this week the Social Secretaries hosted an end of exam online bingo game.
What would be your top three tips for any aspiring lawyer on how to get the most out of their university experience?
The top 3 things I would recommend for getting the most out of your university experience are:
1. Take every opportunity! I was only able to discover that I loved Mooting (and wasn’t as great at Client Interviewing) by trying everything. This was the way I discovered more about the society and myself.
2. Build meaningful relationships! Obviously grades are important at university but being able to connect with people is essential. Your law society provides amazing opportunities to practice these skills through student socials and networking with sponsors.
3. Gain experience! Everyone in the legal sector knows how competitive it is even to just gain work experience. UEA Law Society gave me so many chances to gain experience, both in the legal sector as a result of reaching the final of the Mooting Competition and leadership skills by working on the committee.
Thank you so much for your time and tips. If any UEA students reading this are interested in joining the Law Society, what should they do?
Lots more information about UEA Law Society can be found on the website: uealawsociety.co.uk, and by following our instagram: @uealawsociety. If you are a UEA student you can join our society through the student union website. My contact details can be found on the website if you have any more questions or are a business/firm who would like to be involved in the society.