Samantha LamontagneGraduate Entry LLB
After studying politics and sociology in her hometown Ottawa, Canada, Samantha embarked on the Graduate Entry LLB to pursue a career in law
Why did you choose to study the Graduate Entry LLB?
I chose to study the Graduate Entry LLB (GE LLB) because it is a two-year law programme exclusively for graduate students. I felt this was important because I wanted to be in a classroom with students that have similar life experiences and shared interests. It also made the transition to a new city a little easier because of the smaller size of our programme – as a group we are quite close and we spend a lot of time together outside of school.
Why did you choose The City Law School?
I chose The City Law School because of its excellent academic reputation, and because it has an extensive range of elective courses to choose from (more than any other school I researched in comparison). This was an important factor in my decision because as an aspiring lawyer, I felt it was important to study a variety of areas to not only get a well-rounded education, but also a flavour for the type of law I enjoy and hope to practice in my career.
The Careers & Skills Development Centre was also a contributing factor, as it is an excellent resource for students’ professional development. The Centre is affiliated with The City Law School and it organises various networking events with legal professionals in both the Solicitor and Barrister profession. The Centre also has a unique system where students can book private sessions to have their CV and cover letters edited, as well as mock interview simulations to help secure work placements with law firms. It also supports events organised by Aspiring Solicitors, which is an external organisation dedicated to increasing diversity within the legal profession – City, University of London represents the third largest student following of this organisation within the United Kingdom.
Therefore, my decision to study at The City Law School was greatly influenced by the opportunities for academic excellence at the postgraduate level, coupled with an extensive range of resources from the Careers Centre to develop my professional skills.
Tell us about your experience living and studying in London?
London is a truly unique place to live because of the endless opportunities to explore the city’s history, while also appreciating the juxtaposition of its modernity. It is also home to one of the largest airports in the world, and many students like to take advantage of the close proximity to Europe and travel somewhere for a weekend.
In order to get the most out of your time on the programme, it is important to find a balance between prioritising school while also enjoying London – it can’t always be about the library! I found that I performed my best academically when I took a break every now and then to explore the Camden flower market on a Sunday morning, or head down to Brick Lane for the street feast with some friends. It’s also important to stay refreshed and find an activity as a healthy outlet for stress relief.
Also, a major bonus point about London is its transport system – it’s very easy to navigate and get the hang of, and all you need is your Oyster card to access the endless bus routes and tube stations around the city!
Have you taken part in any extracurricular activities?
In my first year, I was recruited to be the first Student Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors at City, University of London, and I resumed the role in my final year.
In this position, I lead a team of executive members and we organise various events on campus for law students to develop their professional skills. Some examples include: commercial awareness workshops, an interview preparation seminar with legal representatives from graduate recruitment, a seminar on strategies for studying law, and an insight night featuring lawyers who specialise in “niche” practice areas (such as sports and media law, employment, intellectual property and so on).
I was also a member of Team ‘CityLights’ in a UK-wide commercial awareness competition, representing City, University of London. We successfully progressed through to the third round where we were invited to participate in the Quarter Finals at Simmons & Simmons LLP, which is a leading international law firm in the financial industry. We were given less than an hour to prepare a presentation advising a client on a contract for sale involving one of its more lucrative portfolios. Thereafter, a panel of seven senior partners and associates at the firm judged our performance and asked us a series of questions on the spot. Overall, the competition was an incredible opportunity to experience first-hand the intensity of the recruitment process at firms, including what partners look for when hiring future trainees.
What advice or tips would you give to anyone who wants to study the GE LLB?
My number one tip for success in law school is to take advantage of every resource available. For example: all of our professors post regular office hours each week, and I would encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to help further your understanding of key concepts from the lecture material.
Also, do not get discouraged in the first couple of weeks if you feel overwhelmed with all of the material – law is unlike anything you have ever studied before, so embrace the learning curve! Stay on top of your readings, take thorough lecture notes, and make sure you prepare for your tutorials because these are smaller learning environments designed to give students the floor to ask questions and go over concepts from lecture.
One trick I learned is that some courses don’t necessarily come together until the very end when you have covered all the pieces – each week you get a new piece, until gradually you start to make connections and see how the concepts fit together. My advice is to be patient and try to remember this as you move through the material, and read a variety of sources to shed different perspectives on the law – this will put you in good standing for the exams and coursework.