Hello! I’m Sherin and I’m currently studying the GDL at BPP, Waterloo. I studied English at Leeds University and just moved to London a month ago to begin the course so two new starts! I first encountered A&O when I did an Open Day with the firm in my first year at university. I then participated in a Summer Vacation scheme after my second year, which absolutely confirmed for me that this was the career path I wanted to pursue and the law firm I wanted to work for. Much to my delight, I got the call to say I’d been offered a training contract whilst in the midst of a power cut in rural Laos!
If you’re thinking of applying for an Open Day or Vacation Scheme, I would definitely say do as they were both great opportunities for me to get to know the firm better and understand if it was the right fit. Being a big fan of languages and travelling, A&O appealed to me from the start because of their strong international focus and although it’s been said to death, the exceptionally friendly culture of the firm. If you get a chance to attend any presentations or careers fairs and have a chat with trainees and graduate recruitment team, you’ll see what I mean! For me the key factor was that I genuinely felt like I would enjoy working with the people at A&O.
Anyway, back to the GDL! We’re just over a month in and it’s been fairly hectic so far. We started off with an introductory course on the English Legal System which provided a general (and much needed) background to the seven core modules that are studied on the GDL. This is the first year that BPP has been the designated GDL provider so I wasn’t sure what to expect as a lot of the other GDL students I knew had been at the University of Law. An initial difference I have noticed is that at BPP the introductory English Legal System course is studied concurrently with the seven core modules once term has started, whilst at the University of Law this a pre-term online module. As such, I would definitely recommend doing as much pre-reading as possible before term starts in order to lessen the load once lectures and tutorials commence. Especially if, like me, you’ve had an extremely lazy summer!
But it’s not been all reading! Most of the future A&O trainees who are studying the GDL have been placed in the same tutorial group, which has been great in terms of getting to know the people that I’ll be with for the next few years. We’ve been a social bunch so far and have had a few nights out already and all regularly meet up for coffees and drinks after lectures. Last week A&O were kind enough to invite us to the office for a pizza and pub quiz evening, so we could meet our GDL buddies. Our buddies are trainees designated with the role of providing reassurance and helping us keep perspective over the next few months. It’s been great to have regular contact with the firm from this early stage and particularly as we have mock assessments coming up, it is extremely useful to have someone to turn to for tips and advice!
I shall keep you updated as to how both the exam and the festive season goes on the GDL and I hope I’ve given you an idea of what the first few weeks on the course have been like. Best of luck with any applications being made at the moment!