Legal Cheek's Lucy Pether draws on her experience as a law student at LSE to advise a wannabe lawyer's mum on how realistic it is for her son to attempt to fund himself through an LLB in London...
If your son finds a steady job with enough hours, he should just about be able to get by. However, the job hunt may take some time. Despite my years' worth of retail and bar experience, when I first arrived in London – and began relentlessly distributing CVs – I didn’t get so much as a sniff of a job.
My theory is that employers in London don’t need a law student behind their bar or till. It is such a diverse city that if you want someone to sell clothes for you, you’ll have 20 passionate fashion students queuing up to do so. Want a waitress? Get someone who's penning a restaurant guide. Why pick a law student who’s just doing it to make ends meet?
The majority of my friends had the same experience, before finally resorting to life modelling and selling the contents of their wardrobes and bookcases on eBay.
Still, some types of jobs are easier to secure than others for law students. Charity fundraising (aka 'Chugging') and call centre work are good bets. Tutoring is another possibility. Unfortunately, these jobs don’t necessarily provide a steady income, and may be term time only. Meanwhile, the holy grail of the paralegal position is an ever more distant dream for undergraduates in the current job market.
Bear in mind that a student requires a budget of at least £1,000 a month to meet living costs in London. Even if you’re eligible for the full whack from student finance, a termly student loan is very easy to burn through quickly, leaving you struggling to meet rent that averages around £150 a week.
That's why, short of a pre-arranged guarantee of long term work, I would suggest your son seriously errs on the side of caution before upping sticks to do his LLB in London.
Recently a wave of university-wide "Spotted" pages have appeared on Facebook – enabling students to comment anonymously on fellow library and lecture hall users.
In the run-up to Valentine's Day, the posts on these pages have grown increasingly amorous. As you'd expect, with their natural beauty, brains and charm, law students have been generating plenty of interest...
Meanwhile, up the road at UCL...
Loath to miss out on the fun, students at the College of Law and BPP Law School have launched their own "Spotted" pages (located here and here) – although, to date, entries appear rather thin on the ground. Perhaps the "Spotted" trend doesn't work so well in the rather more conservative environment of vocational legal education.
Want to spot your own lawyer without messing around with anonymous posts on Facebook? Then come along to our lawyer speed dating evening tonight at 6:30pm at The Fox pub between Moorgate and Old Street, central London.
The bit from Keir Starmer QC's speech at the LSE last night that got everyone talking...
I recently received this email from a prospective law student...
Read my response below.
Hope (of City recovery, creation of more fat cats and then another crash) is beautiful, writes Alex Aldridge
On Friday, I had a drink with a friend who works at an investment fund in the City of London. For the last few months he has been warning me in solemn tones to brace myself for near-certain Armageddon. So I was surprised to find him unusually chirpy.
“The mood is really up-beat right now in the City,” he told me. “Work is like living with a bunch of manic depressives.”
Certainly, the picture appears better than last year. Although the Eurozone still looks pretty crocked, as illustrated by Greece’s latest bailout today, it seems unlikely to trigger another financial crisis now that it has been flooded with cheap loans from the European Central Bank. Meanwhile, the US economy appears to be in recovery mode. With the FTSE 100 up 15% from late November 2011, sales desk employees at investment banks have, according to the Financial Times, been issuing internal messages asking if a “mini-boom” is under way.
But does this renewed sense of hope apply to the world of law – and could it have a positive effect on law firms’ graduate recruitment strategies?
As English law students worry about the possible scrapping of the minimum trainee solicitor salary, and groan about the miserly £12K minimum award paid to pupil barristers, spare a thought for rookie lawyers in Euro-crisis hit Italy.
The other day, 25 year-old trainee lawyer Michela Moretti told the Guardian:
The London School of Economics (LSE) Student Union Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (LSESU ASH) has refused to comply with a call from the university's union to remove cartoons featuring Jesus and Mohammed from its Facebook page. The image that has generated most controversy is apparently one of the pair drinking a pint together.
‘There are no reasonable grounds for [the university union's] instruction because we are in no way violating their policies or byelaws,” said LSESU ASH President Chris Moos. “The cartoons on our Facebook page criticise religion in a satirical way and we totally reject any claim that their publications could constitute any sort of harassment or intimidation of Muslims or Christians."
Certainly, it seems a lot of fuss for a ‘closed’ Facebook page with just 68 members. But is Moos correct that there are no reasonable grounds behind the university’s call to remove the cartoons?