The programme is run by Strathclyde University for school pupils at the end of S4, S5 or S6 who are thinking about going to university. The university runs different 'challenges', each lasting a week and focusing on a different area, pupils sign up to the challenge related to the subject they are most interested in studying. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was speaking at the law challenge. Whilst I was studying at Strathclyde I was in charge of running the law challenge so it was nice (and a bit surreal) to go back as the professional rather than the student!
When I was putting together my presentation I thought about the tips I would have appreciated when applying to university and realised (sadly) how long ago that now seems. I remembered that terrifying stage when, aged 17, you have to decide what it is you want to spend your life doing, and the endless different degrees that seemed open to you. It was great to be able to give them some guidance and explain that, contrary to what many of them thought, there are countless different areas of law that they could end up practicing in.
One of the tips I gave to the pupils was that work experience is a necessity, and this applies to prospective trainees as well as students. This isn't just because work experience looks good on your CV (although it does) but it gives you an insight into what working as a solicitor is actually like. I think this is particularly important for prospective trainees because law is a career which is very different in practice than it is at university. I'd advise anyone thinking about becoming a solicitor to try and get as much experience as possible, preferably in different kinds of firms and in different areas of law to try to get a feel for what it is that interests you.
It was nice to speak to people who were genuinely interested in studying law, although I felt bad breaking it to them that the lawyers they see on TV don't really represent the majority of lawyers in Scotland, and that they'll probably spend more time in an office than they will shouting "Objection!" in court!
Finally, proving that they'll go far in life, when I asked if there were any questions as quick as a flash one of the pupils asked "how much do you earn?" … you've got to admire their guts!