Inspired by global social media sensation “Humans of New York”, two Legal Cheek work experience students have set up a legal profession version
Aside from advertising the glamour of corporate firms, many universities often fail to teach students the basics of a legal career. What types of lawyers are there? Is it just commercial solicitors and barristers? What other options exist? What do lawyers actually do on a day-to-day basis?
We — Hannah Levy, a law student from Leeds University, and Sophie Mowll, a law student from Bristol University — have helped Legal Cheek to create ‘Humans of Law’ to answer these questions for law students around the country, and members of the general public.
The aim is to increase the transparency of the profession and challenge its elitism stereotype. Law students are always told that to thrive in the current commercial legal market, they must be more than just lawyers — they must also be business advisors. Can they also show a human side?
Armed with a trusty yellow notepad and a camera, we took to the streets of London to find out. Our first stop was Lincoln’s Inn, followed by Middle Temple — where the barristers were rather shy about being photographed.
Then, via Chancery Lane, we headed to the law firms around Moorgate and Liverpool Street in the City. We can officially announce that the stereotype that Londoners don’t like being spoken to when out and about is — not true! (well, sometimes). Everyone we spoke to was engaging and friendly, even those in a rush.
Finally, we went to Dalston in east London and met some high street lawyers.
Our first trip taught us several things about the legal profession. First, so many more people than solicitors and barristers are involved. We met volunteers at the Witness Protection Service and law firm PR staff with a real passion for their work and interesting stories to tell.
Secondly, we learnt that no one has the same route into law and there are many reasons for pursuing it. From accidentally wandering into the profession to getting bored of selling bottle tops, we heard a full range of stories and anecdotes of how legal professionals ended up where they are.
Law is a serious business, and lawyers need to be capable and professional. However, as we found out, they can still be human.
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