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In search of  a degree that did not limit her options, law - with its transferable skills and a wide range of career prospects - really appealed to Manon Williams. It didn't take long for her to realise that the University of Reading was the place for her.

"When I came for an Open Day to Reading, the subject sessions for law were the ones that I enjoyed the most. I attended the mock lecture by Professor Stuart Lakin which was very engaging. I also loved the green campus and the beautiful Foxhill House building – the home of the School of Law."

Pushing boundaries

Being shy by nature, public speaking terrified Manon. Her time at Reading, however, helped her become a lot more open to opportunities and a confident orator. Manon participated in and won the Osborne Clarke mooting competition in the first year of her study.

"I worked incredibly hard with my partner preparing for the trials. Not only did the experience develop our independent research skills but speaking to people such as academics and masters of mooting who knew way more than us, helped us improve our confidence and advocacy skills."

As the winner of the mooting competition, Manon won a week-long work experience placement with Osborne Clarke.

"I spent a day in each department at the law firm and got a broad experience of the different career paths that I can opt for with my degree. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, particularly some good advice received from partners and other trainees on taking the next steps to be a solicitor."

In the following year, Manon went on to participate with her team in the BPP Advocate of the Year competition in London. The team conducted a criminal trial and a civil trial, all taking part in making a speech/application or client interviewing.

Participating in legal interviewing

A major highlight of Manon's time at Reading was participating in the Annual National Client Interviewing Competition.

An internal Reading Client Interviewing competition is held with five teams of two students pretending to interview a “client” to discover his or her legal problem and offer some advice. Manon was part of the team which represented Reading at the Regional Final.

“The winning team and two other best interviewers got the opportunity to attend a Master Class in Client Interviewing which was held at Oxford Brooks University. We also had the opportunity to attend a training session with Kennedy’s law firm. This involved learning the techniques of obtaining information, asking open questions, active listening and the importance of building a good relationship with the client. The experience helped me in understanding the initial role of a solicitor when dealing with clients. I will take this understanding with me in my future career as well as the confidence I have gained from taking part.”

The Law Society

Manon cannot thank the Law Society enough for her time at Reading.

"The Law Society is the best thing to happen to me at the University. I wouldn’t have got involved anywhere as much as I did without their support. The society works tirelessly throughout the year to organise innovative careers events and comprehensive pro bono and mooting activities, alongside more traditional opportunities to socialise with your peers. In my second year I was the careers and pro bono rep and the treasurer of the society in my final year. What I also find strong about the Law Society is that it works very closely with the School.”

A world of opportunities

Manon is proud of the student staff partnership in the School encouraging students to participate and have their voice in various initiatives. Many of these align closely with the University's Teaching and Learning Strategy by offering students the best possible co-curricular personal development opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential.

"Amanda Millmore and Dr Annika Newnham (academics from the School of Law) worked very closely with students during my second year to design assessments for a new module. I participated in focus group discussions with other law students, and collaborated in the design of the new optional module “Children, Families and the State”. This module is offered to final year students with student-designed employability skills-focused assessments embedded in it."

Recently the School of Law celebrated the centenary of women being allowed to practice law. A series of events, “100 Years of Women’s Voices”, was born and involved the performance of a staff-student play, a cross-disciplinary symposium, a student-led art exhibition, a student poetry competition, and the production of a collaborative book.

"In 1913, Gwyneth Bebb challenged the Law Society’s refusal to allow women to become solicitors. Research by Professor Rosemary Auchmuty at the School of Law on the life of Bebb inspired dramatist, Alex Giles, to write a radio play, “The Disappearance of Miss Bebb". The School of Law staged the play as part of the centenary celebrations. A large cast of students was assembled, and four members of staff took cameo roles. I had the opportunity to play the lead role of Gwyneth Bebb. We formed a real comradery which I believe shone through. We all got into our characters by the end of it and none of us had realised until then the amount of effort that went in for women to get into the legal profession.”

Beyond the School

Looking back at her time at Reading, Manon feels she is now well prepared to step into the world of practical work.

"I have secured a graduate scheme job with a Berkshire based financial technology company as a legal and finance associate. I can’t thank the School enough for all the support, training and opportunities offered that has helped me get this job right after graduation. I am particularly grateful to my lecturers for all their advice during the interview process.”

Tips for future Law students

When asked for some alumna advice, Manon said,

"Make sure you join the Law Society. Get involved in as many co-curricular and other School activities as possible. Don't be afraid to move out of your comfort zone." 

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Rebecca Walker: made the most of opportunities

As part of her degree, Rebecca has completed work placements and pro bono work, attended weekly careers sessions and travelled with the Law Society.

Heyreet Mangat: developed transferable skills

The skills and knowledge developed whilst studying law - like independent study and independent research and learning - could be applied to any career.

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Kashmeera Nadkarni: wanted to make a positive difference

Studying LLB Law at Reading gave Kashmeera the right opportunities to put what she was learning into practice and make a positive difference.