The University of Sunderland Student Law Society is the latest member of the TSL & Soc law society partnership program. We recently sat down with its President, Penny Jones, to find out what the society is doing to help law students in Sunderland.
Hi Penny, please could you introduce yourself for the readers
I am Penny, the President of the University of Sunderland Student Law Society (UoS SLS). I am currently a second-year student, studying LL. B Law. Having thought extensively about a career at the Bar, I became a student member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn at the beginning of 2020. Throughout my time at the University of Sunderland, I have had the privilege of completing four mini-pupillages with chambers across the UK. I have also completed an internship with the Ministry of Justice, where I established an interest in policymaking. I became President of the society after having been Vice-President from September 2019- April 2020, and I look forward to continuing the development of the society.
Could you tell us about the University of Sunderland law society and what you think sets it apart from other university law societies.
Although the UoS SLS is a career-focused society, we hold strong values in relation to student wellbeing, support, and diversity, and this is what sets us apart from other societies. Throughout the academic year, senior members of the society have actively encouraged and supported students who have faced difficulties throughout their time at university. They have done so by ensuring the society is a safe place to talk about any problems that they are facing. Also, the society has links to the Junior Lawyers Division North East, who have provided opportunities for our members to engage in discussions regarding the education and training of aspiring solicitors.
What sort of events do you typically put on for your members to help with their careers and studies?
Throughout the years, the UoS SLS has put on a range of career and skills events for members. In 2019 the society helped plan a mock Health and Safety trial for students to observe. Members of the society took on the role of Defence Counsel, Justice of the Peace and Clerk. Students found the experience both insightful and educational. The society also held a Q&A event with the City of Sunderland Law Society, where members where able to ask legal professionals questions about the profession and the educational pathways. Also, at the beginning of the year, the society had the privilege of attending an event hosted by the Honourable Society of Inner Temple.
How about the social side of things?
There is plenty to do in Sunderland. St. Peter’s Campus is home to the UoS SLS, and is situated beside the award-winning National Glass Centre, where students can observe how Sunderland played a part in the history of glassmaking, as well as get involved in the workshops. However, there is plenty more to do. St. Peters Campus is home to the UoS SLS, which is beside Roker beach and the River Wear, so there are plenty of walks nearby. The society frequently hosts quiz nights during term time and the opportunity to meet in the town centre and experience Sunderland’s nightlife.
What would be your top three tips for any aspiring lawyer on how to get the most out of their university experience?
University can be very hectic and at times stressful. However, your university experience should be an enjoyable one. My top three tips to get the best out of your experience would be:
Thank you so much for your time and tips. If any Sunderland students reading this are interested in joining the Law Society, what should they do?
If any Sunderland students reading this are interested in joining the Law Society, they can sign up to our society via the Students’ Union website: https://www.sunderlandsu.co.uk/groups/law-society-a96c