Birkbeck is part of the University of London and offers courses that are taught exclusively in the evenings. The Birkbeck Law Society is the latest member of the TSL & Soc law society partnership program. We recently sat down with its President, Stephanie Anais, to find out what the society is doing to help Birkbeck’s law students.
Hi Stephanie, please could you introduce yourself for the readers.
Hello TSL readers. I am the president of Birkbeck Law Society 2019/2020. In October I will be starting the second-year of my part-time LLB Law degree. Alongside studying part time, I work in the business development team at a commercial and chancery barristers’ chambers. I am co-host of The Student Lawyer’s Podcast and I am also founder and host of #NoFilter, a careers and personal development podcast which I run alongside my blog, www.stephanieanais.com
Could you tell us about the Birkbeck University law society and what you think sets it apart from other university law societies?
Birkbeck’s Law School is a “leading international centre for world-class legal teaching”, “among the top law schools in the UK” and “in the top three in London in the most recent Times Higher Education Research Excellence Framework (REF) rankings for research intensity”. Whilst I imagine that all students choose to study at Birkbeck for its excellent educational programme, I am certain many choose to attend because the classes are taught in the evening, allowing them the freedom to work and/or care for their families. This, however, leaves students little time to do anything but work and study, which is where the Law Society steps in…
Birkbeck Law Society has three key focuses. First, aiding and simplifying commercial awareness. The committee members endeavour to help students develop their commercial awareness through posting regular ‘Hot Topics’ columns and monthly commercial summary newsletters, all well-researched and accurate breakdowns of topical stories in short, manageable bursts.
Second, facilitating opportunities for professional development. Birkbeck students are hard-working and passionate about personal development. Birkbeck Law Society has created a network of affiliations to ensure the students have (in our opinion) the best opportunities to help shape their careers. We are especially proud that TSL is among our affiliations. You can find out more about our other affiliations here.
Thirdly, we endeavour to host and promote engaging and enjoyable events. Our website, birkbecklawsociety.com, has an events page which includes a programme of upcoming events. Past events available on demand include:
What would be your top three tips for any aspiring lawyer on how to get the most out of their university experience?
Firstly, set goals and check in with yourself daily to ensure you are staying on track. A beneficial goal could be to aim for a first in each year. Achieving a 2.1 is a fantastic achievement, but as the profession is competitive (to say the least) having a first could improve your chances of employment.
Things you could do to improve your chances of achieving a first:
Secondly, participate in your university’s Moot Club. Mooting is great because it helps to develop public speaking and presentation skills, teaches you how to build a legal argument and pushes you to think quickly, yet constructively, when under pressure. Mooting club is particularly great because it is held in an environment where everyone is learning and open to making mistakes which helps to build confidence for when it really does matter.
It is important that aspiring solicitors are not put off mooting because it is seen as ‘barrister training’. It is beneficial for all future lawyers. TSL recently spoke to future Linklaters trainee, Rollo Speak, and he confirmed just how important mooting is. (Listen here.)
Thirdly, be open-minded and do not be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone. Talking to your fellows, lecturers and joining law, and non-law related societies are all great ways to multiply your experiences and expand your chances of learning new things about yourself and your chosen profession. University is all about opportunities so take them when they are presented to you or make them for yourself!
Thank you so much for your time and tips. If any Birkbeck students reading this are interested in joining the Law Society, what should they do?
Anyone interested in joining the Law Society can do so by following the below links, however, registration may open at the start of the new term.