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Canterbury Uni law grad who lived (and revised!) in her car after being made homeless during LPC battles odds to secure training contract

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April Britton would park outside her law school and stick revision notes to her car windows

April Britton

A young woman who found herself homeless while taking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) has secured a training contract at a Brighton-based firm.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, April Britton, 22, revealed she moved out of the family home following a disagreement with her parents. The tension saw Britton stay in a string of Airbnbs, Premier Inns and Travelodges. Costs quickly racked up, however, forcing the LPCer at BPP University Law School’s Bristol campus to sleep in her mid-sized Volkswagen Golf. She told us:

“There were a lot of challenges. Emotionally it was quite difficult to deal with, I would go into law school unable to focus because I wasn’t sleeping properly.”

Britton, who completed her LLB at Canterbury Christ Church University and achieved ABB at A-Level, added that she wasn’t eating properly either. Her weight plummeted to six and a half stone.

Then came the challenge of studying. “It was late nights in the library most of the time and when I wasn’t in the library, I was in my car,” she said. The law student used her limited space wisely and stuck revision notes to her windows and stored library books and folders in the back of her car. In the morning Britton would resort to brushing her teeth in McDonalds or Caffè Nero before classes.

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During the three months Britton spent sleeping in her car, sometimes even parked outside her law school, she thought about giving the law up for an average job. But Britton’s hopes of landing a training contract kept her motivated. She said:

“There were two things that drove me to get past this hurdle. Religion played a huge part and I always wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little girl. So I couldn’t give up because some struggle had come my way.”

When she eventually told her tutor at BPP about her challenging circumstances, the university connected her to homeless shelters and suggested she take time off from her studies. “I think I needed someone on the outside looking in saying, ‘Hang on April, you need to chill out because you’re not going to do well this way’,” she said.

Set to resume her final LPC exams in January, Britton currently rents a flat with her partner and works as a paralegal at Britton & Time Solicitors in Brighton, where she will begin a training contract in October. The trainee-to-be, who bears no relation to the firm’s director, Paul Britton, said: “I’ve come out the other side feeling proud of myself that I could take care of myself during that hard situation.”

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43 Comments

Anonymous

Congratulations. Her dedication alone is worthy of a TC, and at a far better firm than the one she’s starting at.

(118)(10)

Back-handed comment detector

🚨 🚨 🚨

Anonymous

And You’ll find they are both as bad as each other

Anonymous

Dedication alone doesn’t get you very far. An acquaintance of mine obtained his degree whilst he was homeless, and made it onto the BPTC – but chambers didn’t want anything to do with him. If you’re in dire straits like Ms. Britton, you’ve got to hope your application lands in front of someone who values the graft.

Anonymous

My student halls were so shit I chose to make myself homeless as it was spring. My grades improved massively as a result!

Regional NQ

Premier Inns?

Wish I could afford that luxury.

Anonymous

‘ she moved out of the family home following a disagreement with her parents’

This is what most ‘homelessness’ in this country is – a lifestyle choice which arises from poor family values.

Laura

I think ‘disagreement’ is likely to be a polite term. The ‘disagreement’ I moved out of the family home, making myself ‘homeless’ was someone trying to kill me – so liberal interpretive pinch of salt required there. Or, ya know, just continue to judge…

Anonymous

Best not describe it as a “disagreement” then, in fairness.

Anonymous

You obviously haven’t been down to London… and for some reason, the authorities don’t put them to work mopping the streets in exchange for cheap community housing (like most normal countries do)… just let em rot…

Anonymous

Don’t comment on a situation you know nothing about and don’t call someone’s homelessness a ‘lifestyle’ choice. Pretty sure she’d rather have been at home had that been a viable option. You reek of privilege.

Anonymous

She fell out with her parents because her partner is a Muslim. It was in an earlier version of the article (and is therefore “public knowledge”). Not sure how that relates to poor lifestyle choices – unless you’re saying there’s something wrong with being a Muslim…?

Anonymous

This might be the first LC article about an individual law student that has ever been worth taking note of.

David

Very well deserved. I haven’t heard of Britton & Time. As PE is my area, would they be closer to Kirkland or Freshfields?

anon

This girl was in the year above me. Well deserved and a very motivated girl who always helped everyone!

Random passer-by

At CCU? Nice, must have been great.

Btw can I have a large fries with that? And extra cheese?

Anonymous

How did you know that question was on the CCCU exams?

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

I quite like her.

Anonymous

Mate, she would prefer to be homeless again than have you pest her.

Anonymous

Take that, Eve Thotwell

Anonymous

So pleased for her, well done.

Anonymous

This is all a little strange. Did she not have any other family? Did she not have any friends? Couldn’t have found a part time job? What about her partner? Why has the law gazette removed references to the fact they’re both Muslim?

Kirkland NQ

Whatever. She doesn’t know suffering. I was so poor I was forced to drink a non vintage bottle of Krug for that week I was a student.

Anonymous

First world problems

Amy Jones

What an inspiration- we need more solicitors and barristers who can relate with the public that instruct them. BPP has a crisis fund which may be able to help you and others facing the same needs especially. with short term emergency help when in situations like this – https://www.bppstudents.com/advice_help/crisisfund/

Hope you make Partner one day!

Anonymous

no one cares, Amy

G. C.

Been there but in my late forties and with a 4 year old child after mum who suffers from BPD changed the locks. It takes a phenomenal amount of will power and self control not to lose the plot. Super well done her. Also, credit to BPP, my law school too, for the help they gave her; just what they did with me.

Hamilton

Why did her boyfriend let her be homeless though? I mean, if I had to choose between my parents and muslim boyfriend, I would expect the boyfriend to at least offer shelter if I decided to cut my family off completely because of him.

Very strange story.

Regardless, she is beyond impressive if this story is accurate and not exaggerated.

/C

Anonymous

she could have stayed at my yard

Renell Harding

Please can you guys help pay for my GDL fees by using my crowdfunding link below, many thanks:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/getren2ulaw

Anonymous

No.

Anonymous

….Oh wait you were serious.

Anonymous

Rhys?

Genuine advice for crowdfunder

Hi Renell. Just some pointers that may help:

1.) Apply for a scholarship from UoL or BPP. With your background and tenacity, your fees should be reduced significantly or free. Contact them now for a chat with the Dean to explain your situation. THey give millions per year.

2.) You say funding isn’t available for the GDL – it is if you do the LLM GDL and you can get Government loans.

3.) You have done things with Aspiring Solicitors – see how they can help. Maybe a scholarship or a job – otherwise what good are they for?

4.) Do the GDL part-time and paralegal during the GDL. You don’t have to wait till the LPC to paralegal.

5.) Many firms pay for the GDL fees of trainees – look into this and apply for training contracts now. Most recruit 2 years in advance.

6.) You have never worked in a law firm – plenty of insight days but no work and no vac schemes. Take a year out, there is no hurry – get some work under your belt. You may find commercial law isn’t for you. You may find that you are able to save some money. You may find that being able to help with the bills is better than rushing into a course you cannot afford.

7.) You have won the Amos scholarship before – how about you see if you can get the Amos bursary for further study.

8.) You have an impressive story and you’re clearly destined for great things. You have resilience and a sharpness many in law don’t have. Wish you all the very best.

No why should 'go fund me' pay for your GDL.

Sorry but why on earth should anyone fund your GDL fees ?

I had to work and save up and then pay for my studies, so why can’t you ?

I have a disability but I didn’t set up go fund me pages. I worked and saved and applied 2 years later

Anonymous

“Britton & Time Solicitors in Brighton”

Fair play to her for her tenacity, but I can’t be the only Brighton-based solicitor to have thought “who the f*ck are they?” and needed to Google the firm?

Pretty close knit down here and I had genuinely never heard of them.

Anonymous

How about getting a job? I had two, but still couldn’t afford a car! I also graduated, qualified and succeeded. Sounds like a rich girl having a tantrum with ‘the bank of mum and dad’.

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