Oliver Watts


Why did you choose this course at The University of Manchester Law School?

Oliver Watts
Oliver Watts joined The University of Manchester to study Law.

I wanted a Russell Group university that is popular with the corporate law firms and has a firm track record and reputation for the course. Manchester’s Law School fits both of these, and it offers a much broader range of optional modules than other Russell Group university law courses I looked into. In particular, it offers a good set of business law orientated course units which fit with my legal interests.

What do you most enjoy about studying here?

The relaxed and open-door type culture. Your lecturers are genuinely willing to help you if you seek it and are not pretentious. Law by nature is an intense course so to have this culture around the School really makes a difference, especially when things get really tough e.g. exam season!

What has been the highlight of your course so far?

There have been two really! The first was in my first year where my Public Law coursework gave me the opportunity to analyse the then current Brexit Supreme Court case; a really topical subject that fits with my interest in politics. The second is attending the 2018 Pankhurst Lecture delivered by the renowned Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court and an ex-Manchester Law School academic; she is a very inspirational figure for aspiring lawyers!

Have you been involved in any of the Law societies and events?

Yes, I did some debating and football in my first year, and am a member of the Law Society; a great mix of careers events and classy social events! I am also a Student Ambassador for the Law School and help out at offer holder days which allows me to convey all the reasons I believe why studying Law at Manchester should be at the top of their list. This year, I am a Student Legal Adviser at the award-winning Legal Advice Centre, offering pro bono legal advice to disadvantaged members of the public.

What are your plans after graduation? How do you feel studying at Manchester has prepared you for this?

I aspire to undertake a training contract with a commercial law firm in either Manchester or London. Manchester runs plenty of employability workshops, and makes you aware of presentations/ events with corporate law firms that are upcoming as well as their current opportunities. Lecturers also try to add a pragmatic edge to what they teach, i.e how would this possibly affect an issue in practice, as several have or are practising alongside their teaching roles. You are subconsciously being taught how to think like a lawyer alongside learning the substantive law.

Name one valuable experience that you will take away with you that you could have only experienced at Manchester?

The chance to get practical legal experience at the University itself through the Legal Advice Centre. You have to first volunteer as a receptionist taking phone calls from potential clients as to their legal issues before you can become a legal adviser. This forces you to see a legal problem from both the client’s and lawyer’s perspective, but equally improves your personal and written communication skills. Effectively the advice you offer there is the first legitimate piece of legal advice you will offer, all before you have graduated and gone on to train as a lawyer.

No other university law school I visited had such a robust pro bono initiative as that which Manchester’s Law School offers.

What advice would you give to new Law students at Manchester?

Come in with your eyes wide open, a solid work ethic and a broad horizon. Having done a gap year prior to my Law degree, I found the transition back into study challenging at first. The stereotypes about the daunting workload are true, but it is not unmanageable. Follow lecturer's pragmatic advice of treating Monday-Friday as a 9-5 job, it ensures you can enjoy your evenings/weekends which you will want to all the more in first year regarding going out and meeting new people! If you just cannot grasp a legal concept, go to your lecturer and ask for clarity as soon as possible, do not let the issue fester.

The course is one you can quickly find yourself falling behind in if you do not keep on top of things. Most importantly, do not fall into the trap of ‘first year does not count’ towards my degree. It does count in as much that law firms and companies will look at your first year results when pursuing vacation schemes/internships in second year onwards!