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This is a current student guest blog post by Nana Umoh, studying LLB (Hons) Law.

Initially criminal law was not for me as I did not see myself entering this field. I wanted to take the more commercial route and work in the city and earn 6 figures. I needed the internship at Tuckers to change my narrow mindset. As an aspiring lawyer I had taken multiple mini internships and work experience schemes in the past but none compared to my placement at Tuckers Solicitors. As a legal intern, I was exposed to the realities of the daily life as a criminal lawyer in the UK. I was privileged enough to work for some of the best solicitors and renowned barristers of our time.

I was graced with the opportunity of attending multiple courts; in and out of London to assist barristers and solicitors on high key cases from drug conspiracy to rape. From the Old Baily to Snaresbrook crown court, I have seen it all. Though a challenge at first, I was entrusted by my firm to attend prison visits for our clients. My placement at Tuckers broke my naïve conceptions of what a criminal lawyer would be like. It taught me that regardless of the crime, that criminal is still a human being and should be treated rightly as one. From HMP Bronzefield to HMP Pentonville, I upheld these compassionate skills.

For anybody looking for a placement, I’d encourage you to start by using the networks around you, connections are really important. I was offered a place at Tuckers based on who I knew, friendships that I valued catapulted me through the legal door and granted me my placement and networking can lead you to your dream job and is a great transferrable skill. Whilst working in the firm, through building my network, it opened doors for me outside of my 9- 5. I was able to talk at various schools about the importance of work experience. I was blessed enough to be the key-note speaker at Greenwich University, whereby I spoke to 2nd year law students on the topic I entitled “How to stand out as an Intern”.

My experience at Tuckers has given me so much exposure and valuable experience. I’ve learned and developed skills needed to be in criminal law such as understanding litigation strategies and exceptional public speaking skills. I’ve come to the realisation that you need to display a real passion for criminal law if that’s what you want to go into. I’ve also learned how to show compassion towards your clients and conduct yourself in a professional manner irrespective of the crime that the individual has been accused of committing. One thing that I thought I was good at before was communication, however working with the firm I realised that it was something that I needed to groom, this was easy with a solid team, always willing to help and offer the best advice.

I was pushed by my placement manager to market myself and acquire opportunities, which is something that I am so grateful for. This experience has been very beneficial as I have grown in so many ways. I’ve been able to overcome certain struggles that defeated me in the past, such as public speaking and time efficiency and asking for help when I needed it. Having a supportive manager definitely made my experience more enjoyable!

I’m now hoping to graduate with a law degree and move on to attaining my training contract. I’m also in the process of growing my Female Mentoring business. I’d love to travel more and gain new experiences that the world has to offer. If you’re reading this and looking for a placement, I’d encourage you to shine and be the best you, as any organisation will be lucky to have you. If you do feel stressed or anxious about it at any time, seek help from your placement advisor, they’re well equipped with the knowledge to help and guide you.

Find out more about studying LLB (Hons) Law at BU.

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