Summer Bracewell

I started studying Law at Lancaster University in 2018.

Photograph of Summer Bracewell

Why did you choose the Pathways to Law programme?

The Pathways to Law programme was recommended to me by my Law teacher at college. After researching the programme, I realised it would be a great opportunity to learn more about becoming a lawyer. I had nowhere else to learn about becoming a solicitor so the programme was crucial in making my dreams seem like a reality.

What did you most enjoy about studying this programme?

I enjoyed meeting other people from similar backgrounds as me with the same aspirations because it made me feel like we all had the opportunity to get into law. It was easy to make friends on the programme, which meant that the events we went to were both fun and informative. The trip to London and the Pathways to Law conference in Warwick helped me to understand the requirements of a career in law whilst also being exciting experiences with a group of friends.

What has been the highlight of the programme?

The highlight of the programme for me was the work experience at DLA Piper. I had never been to a law firm before so I was quite nervous at first, but I loved it. Every person involved with our week at DLA Piper was welcoming and passionate about helping out. We completed tasks such as presentations and group challenges and had the opportunity to shadow trainees for a couple of hours. Part of why I am sure of my career aspirations is because of this experience and the confidence it helped me to build.

Have you been involved in any other activities outside the programme which you think may be relevant to your degree and career, such as events or groups?

Another activity I was involved in at the same time as Pathways to Law was mock trial at college. Mock trial was a great opportunity to learn about what happens in court and about advocacy. Despite not winning, the judge on our case invited my college team to take part in advocacy workshops at Manchester Crown Court.

Following the weeks’ work experience at DLA Piper, we were invited to participate in work experience with the Legal Social Mobility Partnership. Here, we learnt about what was to be expected in a career as an in-house solicitor for companies including the N Brown Group, ITV and Adidas. Like the experience at DLA Piper, we were involved in tasks that would develop the skills needed to succeed as a solicitor, such as negotiations.

At university, I was involved in the mooting competition organised by the Lancaster University Law Society. I was involved in making the bundle for my team and as an advocate. Mooting was very different to mock trial but was just as fun and I would definitely recommend getting involved.

What are your future plans and how do you feel being on the Pathways to Law programme has prepared you for this?

I am currently a volunteer telephone adviser for the Citizens Advice Bureau, but I am planning on getting more experience as a paralegal now I have graduated from university. Whilst a training contract is the goal, the Pathways to Law programme showed me that there are many routes people take to qualifying and that there is no rush in starting my career. Pathways to Law, and the people I met on the programme, has given me the confidence I needed in my ability to become a solicitor. The experience has made the process so far much less intimidating. I am very grateful to Saba and the team for accepting me onto the programme.

Name one valuable experience that you will take away with you that you could have only experienced on this programme? 

The networking opportunities on the Pathways to Law programme are brilliant. Talking to people who were at different stages in their careers showed how different peoples’ experiences and routes could be. We were able to network with both barristers and solicitors with many different specialisms. I have not been given such an opportunity to network with such a wide range of legal professionals since my experience on the programme. 

What advice would you give to new students about to study this programme?

My main piece of advice would be to take advantage of the networking opportunities you are given – you may not be able to speak to such a wide range of lawyers so easily ever again. It would be a good idea to get your LinkedIn profile started whilst you are on the programme too so you can connect with the people you network with and update your profile with your experiences as you go. Also – enjoy yourself!