The voice of the students sits at the heart of the development of SHU Law and to ensure that we capture their ideas we have been working with a volunteer group of students who are known as ‘The Circle’.
The Circle students represent a wide cross-section of students – taken from each year of the undergraduate law courses. The students were selected based on an application and performance at a group interview (a technique used more and more widely by prospective employers). and not academic ability. Instead we looked at honesty, commitment and dedication to explore opportunities away from the standard curriculum.
The students contribute by formulating ideas and working closely with the SHU Law staff to help shape the business. The primary focus is on the requirement to meet the needs of the clients and balance that with ensuring that our students develop transferable employability skills. Whilst the students contribute to the development of the firm, SHU Law reciprocates by investing in their development as future lawyers. It provides an invaluable insight into the workings of a real life law firm (from creation to beyond).
The Circle students have shown a great deal of enthusiasm by participating in group meetings and activities which has seen them set their own Code of Conduct and write articles such as this one! Each meeting has seen The Circle students assigned tasks in different sub-groups, helping them to develop skills, including team works. This has assisted with both their professional and personal development.
By taking part in The Circle, students have been provided with an insight into how marketing plays such a vital role in the progression of a business and it has helped them to develop their commercial awareness and expand professional networks. Some of the students have had the chance to communicate with the specialist external marketing team for the firm, further expanding their communication skills.
SHU Law hopes that by involving students in its development it will prepare them for post graduate roles. The feedback from the members of The Circle has highlighted that this has indeed been the case for them. They were invited to assist with preparations for the launch of SHU Law at the end of February, which attracted significant media attention.
The students played an important role during the launch event, creating that vital link between the firm itself and the education sector. By having the students in attendance at this event, well respected members of the legal community could really appreciate the impact this firm will have on everyone involved. The “collaborate to innovate” mentality of the firm in developing relationships with other law firms in the locality for the benefit of our students and clients was apparent.
The Circle had the opportunity to network with solicitors, barristers and the universities’ advisory committee who attended from all over the region. They facilitated tours of SHU Law and its bespoke facilities to be able to share in the pride of what is our unique offering to students and gave the guests a behind the scene insight into how SHU Law had taken shape. The students were able to ask questions and in some cases explore the possibility of securing legal work experience at the guest firms. Dermot, a 2nd year law student said of the event that “It was a great opportunity to represent Hallam and simultaneously a brilliant chance to network with local legal professionals”.
For most of The Circle members, the launch was their first experience of networking amongst other legal professionals. By participating in the event the students were able to improve their confidence when interacting with the guests and prospective colleagues. “I felt incredibly honoured to have played a role on the day, meeting professionals from different backgrounds and sharing our experiences with them” said Dalal, a 3rd year law student.
Being an ambassador for the university on such a forward-thinking project was an amazing opportunity to showcase the firm, the university, and the students who will benefit so greatly from what SHU Law has to offer.
The Circle 15th April 2019