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Throughout my A level studies I have become increasingly attracted to the study of Law and wish to pursue a degree in this subject to reinforce and develop my knowledge and understanding of the legal system. For me, a Law degree is not purely vocational. Indeed I am very interested in the theoretical and philosophical aspects of the legal process, especially how the development of common law affects the Criminal Law, potentially changing an entire area of law through a single judgement.
This year I am taking a gap year in order to gain useful work experience and to travel around Europe, sampling a variety of different cultures. Over the next twelve months I plan to do work experience in all possible aspects of the legal system, recognising that law is a diverse area, comprising of much more than simply barristers and solicitors. I am spending a month researching social policy for the Citizens Advice Bureau, a chance to do useful first-hand exploration into the effects of new legislation that may not have been appreciated by the Government. To understand both aspects of the effects of new legislation and the work that goes behind it, I am also planning to spend a month working for an MP in the Labour Party's headquarters in London. I also have the opportunity of shadowing an MEP in Brussels, which will further enhance my appreciation of law by introducing me to foreign legal systems.
Recently I spent two extremely interesting weeks at the Old Bailey shadowing His Honour Judge Michael Hyam, the Recorder of London. I observed various cases from murder to police brutality and was introduced to the staff who contribute to the daily running of Central Criminal Court and their wide range of duties. This gave me incredibly useful insights into the legal process in practice such as the difference between conducting trials involving adults and children, insights that are not usually included in learning the purely theoretical aspects of law. The experience also taught me to appreciate how each of the different areas of the legal system are closely interwoven in a criminal trial, from the interaction between the prosecution and police detectives to the relationship between the Judge and the court clerk.
Apart from work experience, I am actively extending my knowledge of law by reading The Times weekly law supplement. I have also spent a day with the Head of Graduate recruitment at Allen and Overy, learning about the various training routes available to Law Graduates in the commercial sector. Aside from study, I enjoy participating in many extra curricular activities. I am currently learning Japanese and find both the language and the culture fascinating. I have also recently started a Latin GCSE course with the intention of honing the logic and reasoning skills essential to the study of law. As a keen musician I play first bassoon in the Reading Youth Orchestra and piano. In addition I enjoy creative writing and am intending to complete a trampoline-coaching course which I hope to put to use at university.
Overall, a Law degree is a great opportunity to immerse myself in the legal structures and rules that shape our modern society and form part of the history of this country. I look forward to studying this challenging and stimulating subject while being able to make full use of all the extra-curricular activities and facilities a university offers and hope to pursue a career in law in the future.