This month we have a series of blogs from young people who are weeks away from graduating and are about to enter the world of work. In these blogs, the graduates will be discussing how university prepared them for their future careers. Our sixth blog in the series is from Laura McClinton, who graduated last week from the University of Dundee with a Dual Qualifying Law Degree. She is about to move to Glasgow to start work with Ashurst as a Legal Analyst.
As a Northern Irish student, I knew that I wanted to study in Scotland as I wanted to start a new adventure away from my small hometown. So in September 2013, I moved into Dundee University halls with five complete strangers and adapted to my new life. Having just graduated, I can hardly believe that the best four years of my life are nearly over. Where I have had the opportunity to make amazing friends from all over the world, make lifelong memories and occasionally doing some university work of course!
Now in June 2017, I am preparing for life after university and moving to Glasgow to start working with an outstanding legal firm, Ashurst, as a Legal Analyst.
This year, as the elected Deputy-President for the School of Social Sciences, I had the opportunity to speak to potential students and their parents at University Open Days and this has given me the opportunity to reflect on what has changed me throughout my time at university to be the person I am now.
From the minute I accepted my UCAS offer to four years later when applying for graduate jobs/ traineeships, there has been constant support from office staff to senior lecturers. When I was having difficulties preparing for assessment day tasks, I would contact lecturers who where more than happy to help, allowing development of practical skills for interviews and in practice.
The Careers Service along with the Dundee University Law Society host events and email potential opportunities that may be of interest both legal and non-legal. It was through these emails, I acquired part time employment during my final year of university as a waitress in a local restaurant. Thus allowing me to build upon essential transferable skills such as time management, team work and organisation in a busy setting.
I found out about the Legal Analyst role which Ashurst offer through a Career Services arranged talk in March 2017. At this talk, I had to opportunity to find out more information about the firm and what they do. This provided me with the ability to decide that rather than a traditional traineeship route out of law, I wanted to do something different to utilise my degree. Throughout the whole application process, the Careers Service guided me by aiding my ability to provide the best quality application form possible. Following a successful application, I then completed a mock interview with the Careers Service whereby the mock interviewer had well researched the firm and was able to conduct it outstandingly, which definitely helped me for the real interview where luckily a lot of the questions were similar.
As the only university offering the Dual Qualifying Law Degree when I applied, and one with years of practice, the University of Dundee has an excellent structure for the essential modules, with as much flexibility as possible in choosing alternative modules. I always felt supported with staff to meet them if I was struggling or to ask questions in class, and I believe that without this my confidence in my abilities would not be as strong. I was encouraged to ask questions, with many lecturers following the mantra that no question is a silly question if it aided my understanding of the topic.
Dundee is known for having the top Students’ Union in Scotland and not everything at university is about books and studying. Dundee definitely created the balance whereby life is not taken too seriously and it is encouraged that students participate in different activities, whether sports, leisure, musically or a society. I was even provided an award as a student who has excelled in transferable skills obtained through extra curricular activities which is an excellent CV booster (the Dundee Plus Award).
So why do I feel so prepared to take on post-graduation employment with such a successful global law firm? Well because without even realising it at times during my time at the University of Dundee I was being prepared for the future independence of a young lawyer in practice.
Other blogs in this series: