Our students

Read about some of our law students and find out what they think about studying at Derby. You can also read about what some of our graduates have achieved.

Undergraduate

Alex Cherry is in his third year of a full time LLB degree. He's being mentored by Andrew Cochrane, Equity Partner at Flint Bishop Solicitors which has resulted in some paid work experience as a paralegal at Flint Bishop. 

Choosing the right course and university

"I chose to study the LLB as it is a highly respected degree. I felt it would hold me in good stead, whether I desired to go into the legal profession or have a career in business.

"I chose Derby as I was drawn firstly to its impressive academic and non-academic facilities and secondly to the University's unique practical approach to teaching, through modules such as Legal Context, Skills and Ethics and Advanced Legal Skills. I learn a lot better when I am able to put my academics into practice, therefore Derby was the only university for me."

My experience so far

"The course is engaging, interesting and hard work. The lecturers are either practising or have practised so are always able to bring the legal content back to its practical sense to provide you with a greater depth of understanding.

"The course contains plenty of work – you have to keep up with the workload to attain the higher grades – however the assessments are not just dry essays, they test your knowledge and abilities in different ways, which keeps you on your toes."

Preparation for my career

"The course has been incredible at preparing me for my career. I have learned and developed skills such as negotiating, mooting, interviewing, witness examination and more, most of which other law students won’t look at until their LPC or training contract.

"The course has equipped me with masses of academic legal knowledge whilst providing me with practical skills and commercial awareness.

"As well as this the staff provide plenty of assistance including: interview practice, career advice, networking opportunities and several schemes with the local profession to help improve your employability and professional networks." 

Being mentored

"My mentor is Andrew Cochrane. He is a solicitor, partner and head of Licensing for Flint Bishop LLP. He has provided me with loads of helpful advice about applying for positions in law firms. He has set up meetings with other solicitors practising in my area of interest and also set up meetings with the firm's HR department to look over my CV, covering letters and applications.

"As well as this he has actually provided me with paid part-time work as a paralegal within his firm."

The most enjoyable aspects

"My third year has been most enjoyable academically as I have been able to choose my modules, allowing me to study the topics I am most interested in. This year, I was also fortunate enough to be elected in as the Law Society President, therefore me and 12 others have been working together to provide lots of opportunities for our fellow students as well as social events. 

"My first and second years were a lot of fun, as I played Rugby and Basketball for the University."

Life after the LLB 

"I am currently applying for training contracts and graduate schemes. I plan to either train as a solicitor and go into corporate or commercial law, or go into business consultancy. I want to be involved with the commercial world, whether it is inside or outside of the legal profession."

Deciding to study law

"I had initially considered pursuing a career in Medicine, and soon realised that was not the right choice for me. While considering other career options I was involved in assisting family and friends with different issues which required me to research the Law and correspond with third parties.

"I enjoyed doing this and thought that a career in Law might be suitable. So I undertook some legal work experience and sat in on some CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) classes taught at my college which helped me confirm this was the career path for me."

Choosing Derby

"I actually came through Clearing. After having looked at my chosen universities, Derby stood out because of the practical elements in the course and the fact that it had its own courtrooms for us to practice in.

"After attending an open day I could see the lecturers were very enthusiastic about the course which gave me confidence that they would do all they could to help me do my best." 

The most enjoyable aspects

"Being a practical learner, the Legal Skills and Ethics module in the first year and Advanced Legal Skills and Ethics in the second year have been, by far, my favourite modules.

"These modules give you the chance to put into practice everything you've been taught through client meetings, negotiations, advocacy and similar styled assessments.

"They help you develop professionalism and learn how to distinguish between what information and law is relevant to a case, as it is easy to regurgitate everything you know; a practice which is neither helpful nor time/cost effective.

"Therefore when I apply for work experience and paralegal positions, I can say that while I may not have yet done my LPC, I do have relevant experience." 

Preparation for my career

"Through the Legal Skills and Ethics and Advanced Legal Skills and Ethics modules, the course is teaching me how to effectively:

  • apply the Law
  • work in a multifaceted team
  • interact empathetically but professionally with clients.

"These are key skills employers are looking for.

"One summer I gained work experience in a solicitor's firm and one of my supervisors there mentioned that they've had graduates and trainees in the past who, on paper, appeared great, but in practice were lacking in those areas.

"Therefore modules such as these allow me to make mistakes and learn from them in a controlled environment, and so when applying for paralegal positions I already have a wealth of experience.

"Additionally, the opportunities our careers adviser works to secure for us are brilliant. I have been mentored, shadowed a Judge, attended a law society ball, joined networking dinners – the list goes on. These opportunities have been invaluable. They have given me the chance to network with professionals who are more than forthcoming in offering advice and tips, and who, in some instances, even offer work experience."

Life after the LLB

"In the summer after completing my degree, I hope to gain a year's work as a paralegal in a local firm; preferably in commercial or corporate law. While working as a paralegal, I intend to secure a training contract to attend law school."

The LLB: my perfect degree

"My principle reason for taking the LLB was because of the ever-evolving, ever-changing nature of law. I relish being challenged and never like to be bored, so the LLB, with its offerings of intellectually stimulating modules as well as the ability to engage with research into incredibly interesting areas of the Law, was the perfect degree for me.

"My main reason for choosing Derby was the emphasis that they placed on providing you with the necessary skills you need to succeed in the world of work – even work outside the legal profession. I found this offering unique.

"In addition, the passion shown by those teaching the course when I visited on the open day, as well as the facilities provided, including a dedicated law library and a purpose built courtroom, showed me that Derby was the best option." 

Challenging but with great support

"The course has certainly been challenging – both academically and emotionally at times. However, there are great resources at your fingertips and great support from tutors. These things have helped make it thoroughly fulfilling and ultimately enjoyable."

Preparation for my career

"The course has helped me prepare for my future career in many ways. It has helped improve my communication, research and organisational skills in a way I could never have imagined before coming here.

"Moreover, it has helped improve my ability to problem-solve and engrained in me that preparation and hard work are the key to a successful career, whatever you wish to do."

The most enjoyable aspects for me

"I like the fact that you are always challenged at every turn. In addition, the opportunity to study and research into your own particular interests in law as the course goes on, ensures you are always kept engaged.

"Furthermore, the abundance of extra-curricular activities on offer, such as mooting, have been a particular highlight. They provide you with essential skills that assist your learning.

"I could not recommend the course highly enough."

Life after the LLB

I plan to do a Masters in Medical Law and Ethics.

Sarah Pyle received a First Class Honours degree along with a clutch of awards after studying an LLB part-time for four years. Despite the pressure of juggling her studies with job commitments and family obligations, Sarah embraced every opportunity her course presented.

Pro bono work and placements 

Sarah volunteered with the Derbyshire Appropriate Adult Service, which offered an invaluable insight, not only into the criminal justice system, but also into how vulnerable people are affected by welfare benefit and homelessness legislation.

She also undertook a placement with the Pathway Project, a voluntary organisation that supports and assists victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Winning competitions and opportunities

One of Sarah’s most rewarding experiences was winning the Blackstone’s National Criminal Advocacy Competition with fellow part-time student Maurice Lister. As a result of her success in the event, His Honour Judge Murphy invited her to marshal with him at Woolwich Crown Court and she completed a mini pupillage in London, spending a week on a trial from start to finish at the Old Bailey.

Sarah says: “These experiences offered unrivalled opportunities to learn from seasoned, well-respected practitioners who were unfailing in their generosity of spirit and enthusiasm for the Law.”

“The Clinic module provides the chance to gain experience of real legal work, putting into practice what is learned in the classroom. It can help your CV or job application stand out from the crowd. Given that very few universities offer such a module, it is an outstanding opportunity to take advantage of.”

Jake Goldby is taking an LLB and has recently undertaken an internship with Cartwright King Solicitors; a leading law firm in the East Midlands.

Choosing law at Derby

"A degree, particularly in the legal industry, opens that first door, behind which numerous other doors lie. This is why I felt a degree would help me.

"Unlike other universities, Derby Law School places an equal amount of weight on both academic and practical application of the Law. This meant that one day you had your head buried in books researching for land law and the next you were addressing a district judge in an advocacy assessment.

"The diversity provided by the University is something which definitely maintained my interest and which has helped me during my internship."

A supportive environment

"Law as a degree can be quite stressful and demanding but it would not be a well-recognised degree if this was not the case.

"However, both the lecturers and the support staff at the University have a genuine interest in their students and their success. They make a conscious effort to get to know their students personally and to help those who are trying to help themselves.

"The support team are, in my opinion, one of Derby Law School’s greatest assets. If I were to give any advice to new students, it would be to build a relationship with this team as it will be your greatest investment."

My placement experience

"I was fortunate enough to secure a nine month internship with Cartwright King Solicitors.

"During my time so far, I have become heavily involved in all aspects, from attending court to holding interviews with clients. The job has been both diverse and exciting. It has been a very steep learning curve but one which I value greatly and will undoubtedly use in my future career.

"I felt extremely comfortable at the firm from the very start. The team expect a lot of you and give you responsibility from the outset. However they do not leave you in the dark and provide every bit of support needed to be successful."

Preparation for my career

"There are several opportunities available to law students which can enhance their career potential significantly. Derby Law School offers an in-house Advice Clinic which provides students with invaluable practical experience. This has become a prerequisite for any aspiring solicitor looking to break into the legal market.

"The legal industry offers a career with diversity, academic rigor and excitement and I am currently making every effort to break into this industry. The University has always supported me in pursuing this goal and I am thankful for this."

On-campus facilities

"The law facilities are excellent! There is an up to date, fully equipped, working courtroom which has really allowed us to be fully immersed into the working life of an advocate. It also provides a sense of professionalism and discipline in assessments which I truly believe has been partly to thank for our success in mooting and legal skills competitions.

"Having gone on to participate in a placement year, the experience in the University courtroom has left me feeling comfortable when attending court, knowing who’s who and what’s what. Simple things, but things I did not learn to appreciate until I was regularly attending court with senior professionals."

The most enjoyable aspects for me

"As I am sure every law student will agree, getting a First on an assignment is a fantastic and relieving feeling. You put so much effort into your assignments and for it come back with a positive result is a great feeling.

"Although it's a demanding course, I also found that there was a good work/social life balance within the Law School. As well as academic and career support, the Law School recognise that their students need a social element and put on events throughout the year; most notably the end of year party. The Law Society is also one of the best societies at Derby.

"For me personally however, there is one feeling that tops them all – recognition. To be recognised for your work can mean the difference between getting where you want to be or not.

"An example of this is when I secured the placement with Cartwright King. The Law School could not praise me enough and seemed as though they were genuinely proud. This was hugely encouraging.

"Coupled with this, since working at Cartwright King, I have had legal recruiters, solicitors and barristers contact me on Linkedin and via email all interested to meet me – one of which I secured a mini pupillage with. It is this recognition then, which is the biggest highlight for me."

Why I'd recommend Derby

"I would absolutely recommend a degree at Derby. What the University does well is recognise potential and embrace it. The Law School in particular, noted a change in the legal market and thus adapted their curriculum and lecturing style to meet the necessary requirements.

"It is a place that offers you invaluable, realistic advice and ensures that by the time you throw your graduation cap into the air, you are more than prepared for the working world."

Bethany Buendia, 19, is studying the LLB full-time.

Derby's LLB: the ideal first step towards becoming a solicitor

"I chose the LLB degree because of my aspiration to become a solicitor. Essentially an LLB teaches you the fundamental elements of law (contract law, criminal law and tort law).

"The University of Derby stood out to me for its dedication to give students experience of the practical aspects of being a lawyer. The prospectus talked about about how key lawyer skills, such as advocating and negotiating, were compulsory parts of the course – something which many universities do not offer."

Law students can still have fun

"Three years does fly by and it is because you are having fun, most of the time. Before starting my course, I had this terrifying perception that law students did not have a social life and were subject to mountains of work. However, this is not true at all. You have to do plenty of reading but all you need is a good balance between your social life and studies, and good time management. I have found the course stimulating, challenging and rewarding."

What the course is like

"The course has a good mixture of practical work (such as advocacy, negotiations and client interviews) and written work spread throughout the years. You cannot escape one year without a practical assessment; it is that important.

"In my third year, we can now choose our modules from a wide range, which accommodates the different areas of law people may choose to go into after the LLB.

"The lectures are great and stimulating, the lecturers are enthusiastic about their areas of law and they make every effort to make the content as fun and exciting as they possibly can.

"Tutorials are also helpful and are generally more interactive. The lecturers are always willing to help and they are easily reached by either email, telephone and even mobile. If that is not enough, you can always pop into their office to ask specific questions or for a general chat about how you are doing on the course."

What I have enjoyed the most

"The practical assessments have been the most challenging but have also been rewarding because not only are you learning the law in theory but also applying it in practice; having to find the procedural rules that go alongside with negotiations, advocacy and interviews and actually conducting them. Therefore you get to fine tune key lawyer skills before you are even working.

"In addition, Derby Law School is very active in external competitions and good at finding the best opportunities for us students to enhance our skills. For example, we draft expert witness statements for student social workers, take part in client interview competitions, mooting training days and competitions, mock assessment days and advocacy competitions. I am currently participating in the UH/Blackstone’s National Criminal Advocacy Competition. These activities have been enjoyable and very beneficial."

Preparation for my future career

"To be a lawyer, you need the confidence to stand in court but also to know what you are doing. Undergraduate courses will often focus heavily on the academic side of the Law but in Derby, we do a mixture of both. For example, we learn:

  • procedural rules
  • what goes into a typical employment contract
  • which forms need to be filled in for a claim in court and how they are filled in
  • how to research effectively for a moot point

and the list goes on. Learning by doing is the most effective way of teaching and in law, theoretical application is not the same in practice therefore the course has really helped me put things into perspective."

Life after the LLB

"My aspiration to become a solicitor still stands and after the LLB, I plan to undertake my LPC and obtain a training contract. However, the fees for the professional course are high so I am currently completing applications for vacation schemes and training contracts with the aim of obtaining sponsorship."

Jessica Chapman, 21, is in her third and final year of the LLB.

Derby was welcoming and unique

"I chose to take the LLB because after studying law at A-level and attending a ‘law club’ at a local university, I discovered that law was a challenging, interesting and versatile subject and so I wanted to pursue it as a career. It was clear that in order to enter the legal profession, an LLB was the best option.

"After visiting numerous open days at different universities, Derby appealed to me because the whole University came across as very friendly and helpful and I felt as though I would fit in well. Additionally, the practical experience that the Derby LLB offered instantly appealed to me as an exciting and unique aspect." 

A challenging course, but with support on-hand

"So far the course has been both intellectually stimulating and eye-opening. The core modules have exposed me to a variety of legal areas, some of which have been difficult to grasp. However, despite finding some modules difficult, it soon became apparent to me that if I worked extremely hard throughout the course I could do equally well in these modules too.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my degree, however it is in the third year that you are really able to delve into and discover areas that are of particular interest to you. The course offers a wide range of optional modules to choose from; we are almost spoilt for choice!

"Additionally, the support lecturers give is fantastic; there is always someone to speak to if you are in need of help or advice. Furthermore, the enthusiasm each lecturer has for their respective module is very encouraging and it is clear that they want their students to do as well as possible."

Fantastic extra-curricular activities

"One of the aspects of the LLB that I have enjoyed the most is the opportunity to get involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities. These are not only enjoyable but also provide valuable experience for your legal career. I have had the opportunity to take part in:

  • mooting competitions
  • debates
  • drafting witness statements for social work students
  • client interviewing competitions, and much more.

"I now have activities and achievements on my CV that make me stand out from other job applicants; something that is essential in the extremely competitive legal market." 

Life after the LLB

"I plan to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC) here at Derby which is the next step towards my ultimate goal of becoming a solicitor. After completing the Legal Practice Course I will need to obtain a training contract from a solicitors. It is very difficult to obtain a training contract but the outcome – qualifying as a solicitor – will make the effort worthwhile." 

Preparation for my career

"The LLB has helped me to prepare for my chosen career in many ways. The practical side of the degree meant that I was instantly aware of the differences between solicitors and barristers and so enabled me to make an informed choice as to which path to take.

"Furthermore, due to the drafting, advocacy and client interviewing experience that I have gained from assessments, I now appeal to prospective employers as a candidate that not only understands the law but can apply it to real life situations.

"As a result of the experience the Derby LLB gave me, I was fortunate enough to gain legal work experience in two law firms which now looks fantastic on my CV. The LLB at Derby is fantastically unique in its practical approach and this is why it is such a brilliant course."

Postgraduate

Esther Macheteh is studying an LLM full time, specialising in International Human Rights. She already holds an LLB, a Postgraduate Diploma in International Trade and a Masters in International Business. Esther's also worked as a marketing analyst/business strategist in the software company, ACMS UK, and volunteered as a legal secretary at a solicitors in London.

Choosing the LLM and choosing Derby

"Several LLM programmes, including the one at Derby, are research-orientated, which gives you a chance to delve deep into a topic, and – with faculty guidance – come out with a publishable piece of research.

"Of course, publishing articles is good for a lawyer's resume and a research-focused LLM is also a gateway into PhD work, which can open up doors to many careers. These are the reasons why I wanted to take a research-focused LLM.

"I decided to study at the University of Derby because it offers exactly what is needed in International Law and International Human Rights. With the world today being a global village, it does not suffice to just study human rights in a particular region or country. The LLM at Derby covers it from an international perspective. Also, human rights students have the opportunity to witness a case in the International Criminal Court, all funded by the University. It couldn’t have been any better!”

Personal highlights

"The course has been very interesting so far. What I enjoy the most is firstly, the solid research foundation laid down in the Legal Scholarship module. It has helped me learn how to source reference materials and come out with research that fills in the gaps left by other scholars. I am currently researching into the violation of the Right to Life of Citizens in War Torn Countries.

"International Criminal Law seems to be taking more of my interest; we examine fact not just based on theories but current affairs. But the most exciting aspect is actually visiting the International Criminal Court.

"Overall, the course gives you a wonderful research opportunity to come out with your own ideas in a problem solving form."

Life after the LLM

"After my LLM, I will definitely continue with a PhD and also take the Bar exams. My short term objectives are to lecture in Public Law in universities and my long term objectives are to be a special legal adviser to states or the United Nations."

Kani Shwani recently graduated from the LLB at the University of Derby and then moved straight onto the LLM Commercial Law as a full-time student.

Choosing to stay at Derby after the LLB

"I chose to take the LLM because, while I was doing my undergraduate degree, I realised that I did not want to practise but that I really wanted to study a masters in law because I wanted to widen my knowledge and research skills. I chose Derby because I really liked the environment and the lecturers and because it was offering the LLM that I really wanted." 

Personal highlights so far

"I am enjoying the course, especially the fact that we get to be in control of what we want our dissertation to be about. At the same time I am enjoying improving my research skills. We have to think 'outside of the box' which is interesting and enjoyable, but also demanding."

Preparing me for my future career

"The course so far has helped me realise that there are many options regarding my future career. For instance, I could undertake a PhD, work as a researcher in the field of law or specifically in the field of commercial law, or become a lecturer. I am still considering my options and intend to pick wisely."

Enenu is from Nigeria and studied civil law at an undergraduate level in Nigeria before going on to the Nigerian Law School. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in late 2013 as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Setting her sights on lecturing and on gaining a PhD, Enenu knew an LLM was the first step towards this. She's currently studying an LLM in Human Rights full-time.

Feeling a connection with Derby

"I applied for three universities in the UK. Even though I got accepted by all three, I just couldn't pick any of the others; I had my eyes on Derby. There was this connection that I can't explain, and when I got in touch with the school, they made me feel like I was part of them already."

An amazing experience so far

"My course is really amazing because it goes beyond the mere knowledge of human rights and delves into actual happenings around the world. This inspires me to want to contribute to helping humanity.

"I have enjoyed the teaching and interactive sessions a lot, even though the course is demanding. The fact that tutors want to hear my views about everything, makes me feel more important."

Life after the LLM

"I hope to work with the United Nations to foster development, and move on to a PhD in criminal psychology to become a professor and lecture."