My name is Ella Barker. I am currently studying the PGDL LLM at BPP University, Waterloo. I am aiming to qualify as a solicitor specialising in family law.
Prior to studying law, I completed my English Literature degree at the University of Sussex in 2020, graduating during lockdown with a high 2:1.
My passion for helping people and helping to make a difference in their lives has driven me towards a career in law. I completed my first work experience placement when I was 16 with a specialist charity team at Stone King, where I enjoyed the intricate and rewarding legal work. It was at this point that I became determined to follow a legal career.
My time spent working with the domestic violence team at Goodman Ray secured my desire to pursue family law. It was so inspiring to see the positive impact the solicitors were having on people’s lives. I loved the close client interaction and the rewarding work. I completed a mini pupillage with 4 Paper Buildings, shadowing a barrister on a complex children’s case. It was a fantastic opportunity to be immersed in the barrister-side of the legal world, and this opportunity solidified my choice to specialise in family law.
My English Literature degree has been invaluable as I embark on my legal career. The analytical and written skills I developed during my undergraduate degree have been instrumental in providing accurate work for solicitors and during my studies. I still try to make time to read, although not quite as much now I am completing my law degree! Most recently, I finished Ian McEwan’s ‘Machines Like Me’, which I would recommend if you enjoy speculative futuristic fiction.
During my legal studies, I have been participating in the pro bono Employment Law Telephone Advice Line (ELTAL) which is a service BPP provide to members of the public who have employment law concerns. This has been a fantastic opportunity to interact with real clients and assist with obtaining the legal advice they are seeking. The cases I have come across have been so varied and it has been a great chance to gain valuable legal experience.
During lockdown, I have learnt to make the effort to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This is something I feel passionately about, and I believe is the key to longevity and I intend to continue throughout my career. I use mindfulness and journalling to ground myself during stressful times. I think everyone has appreciated the importance of getting outside during lockdown, a change of scenery is great to refresh your mindset. My advice for someone considering studying law is to make sure you take time for yourself.
Throughout the pandemic it became apparent that social networking platforms which encourage people to connect and support one another are invaluable. As a result, I helped to establish the Young Legal Ladies committee on Instagram, with the aim to empower young females embarking on legal careers. For International Women’s Day 2021, I co-organised and co-hosted an event to celebrate and showcase women in law for our YLL community. The speakers were a diverse and inspiring group of women of different ages and backgrounds, at varying points in their legal careers. It was fantastic to be able to provide a platform for them to share their stories, which were well received by our audience. It has been motivating to be a part of a committee dedicated to encouraging young legal women in imaginative ways, especially during such a difficult time.
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