We speak to Max Pickup about his Graduate Diploma in Law after studying History and his plans to pursue legal publishing and journalism.
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I enjoyed the argumentative elements of my favourite subject in school, history, and I decided that at some point I wanted to study law because it is a complex subject that encourages debate. I opted to read history at university first after learning that you could study law, by completing a law conversion course known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), after completing an undergraduate degree in another subject.
During my undergraduate degree in history I got involved in as many legal experiences as possible in order to determine whether or not I truly wanted to study law. I hadn’t got a training contract lined up so I was going to be paying for law school out of my own pocket so I had to be absolutely certain that this was what I wanted to do. I worked alongside barristers and solicitors through completing internships, work experience placements and participating in volunteering opportunities. During these experiences I became very interested in the complexity of the law and the very different career paths that studying law could lead to and so I decided that I definitely wanted to go to law school.
The Graduate Diploma in Law was the single most difficult academic challenge I have ever faced. The course was as intensive as I imagined and the key to getting through it successfully is to treat it like a job. It’s simply not possible to just cruise through. Despite its difficulty I thoroughly enjoyed the intellectual challenge and I have no regrets in going to law school. I particularly enjoyed the volunteering opportunities that I got involved in during law school.
I applied for law school during my final year of my undergraduate degree in an attempt to bag that all-important training contract. I made it to the final stage of the interview process for a vacation scheme, a work experience placement in a law firm that can lead to a training contract, but fell at the final hurdle. After completing the Graduate Diploma in Law, and whilst studying for the Graduate LLB, I have attended interviews for training contracts and paralegal roles whilst continuing to be involved in volunteering and other extra-curricular activities.
I’m now completing additional modules in order to convert my Graduate Diploma in Law in to a Graduate LLB. Having almost completed the academic side of my legal training, alongside various experiences of working in legal environments with barristers and solicitors, I have decided that a career in practising law is not for me.
I have actually discovered, through my extra-curricular activities involving student journalism and writing articles and blogs, that I prefer researching and writing about the law as opposed to helping clients to solve their legal problems. My plans are to pursue a career in legal publishing/journalism and possibly pursue postgraduate legal studies. As a keen traveller I would like to live, work and maybe study abroad at some point in the future. The great thing about studying law is that it doesn’t limit you to a career as a barrister or solicitor. It also opens up a whole range of opportunities in non-legal careers and alternative careers in law.
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