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Oyin Arikawe: benefited from the School's bursary scheme

The School's bursary scheme allowed Oyin to undertake a two-week work placement at a law practice in Oxford and gain essential practical skills.

Summer placement

In Part 2, Oyin applied for, and was awarded, a work experience placement at SMQ Legal, in Oxford, through the School's Work Experience Programme. The timing of this placement was really useful to Oyin, because it took place over the summer, before she had to choose her final year modules.

"I knew I wanted to do more family-based modules because that's where I want to practice in the future. I applied to SMQ as they specialise in this area."

"During my placement, I got to do real legal work, which is not a given - my other work experience placements involved more routine work. At SMQ I got to work on real cases, so that was really useful. After the two-week placement, I was invited to return on a one-day-a-week basis during term time, which was great. I sat in on client conferences, attended court on behalf of the firm and got to write correspondences to clients, and other parties in the case such as police officers and local authorities."

To support her with the placement, Oyin also applied for and was awarded a bursary through the School of Law Work Experience Bursary Scheme.

"The [bursary] award really helped because SMQ is in Oxford, and travelling there from Reading before 09:00 can cost quite a bit. The award also enabled me to do two weeks, not just one week. It was very helpful."

Oyin also took part in a number of co-curricular activities. The client interview training and competition were highlights.

"I enjoyed the client interview training and competition very much because it taught me the skills that I'd need in practice, which you don't necessarily get in your law degree. In your law degree you get a lot of theory-based knowledge whereas with client interviewing, I learnt about reassuring your client, informing them about confidentiality and other things which were really helpful when I went on to work at an actual law firm."

She also speaks highly of the Law and Psychology Mock Trial collaboration. This was a one-day workshop where a number of speech and language therapy, and law, students came together for a day to learn more about the work of registered intermediaries - an independent communication specialist - supporting vulnerable people in criminal courts, and how a criminal trial works in practice.

"The one-day workshop was very interesting because it was so different. For example, it was interesting to learn how, as a lawyer, you have to deal with different types of witnesses in court, and how you have to vary your style of questioning. Also, doing a mock trial was really, really fun. I really enjoyed that. I was so nervous about the mock trial - it had been ages since I'd taken part in something like that - but having to do that made me realize that this is the route I want to go down,. Speaking in front of people also helped with my confidence, including doing group presentations in my studies."

When asked about some tips for future students, Oyin said:

"In my first year, I wanted to get involved in things but I was a bit scared, so I didn't get involved. I realized, that set me back a bit in my final year. So, my advice would be to get involved in as many things as you possibly can, because as the years go on, your workload increases and it gets harder. And once you get involved, you realize you're not the only one who doesn't know what they're doing, and it's not scary, it's really fun, so just do it."


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.

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.