Demi is a student at the University of Edinburgh. Here, she shares her experiences of how the Lawscot Foundation has helped her.
Life has taught me resilience and perseverance. I have life experiences beyond my years and these have taught me much. From living in poverty, to being a victim of crime myself, I was inspired to study law as a direct consequence of the challenges I faced when I was younger. Being able to make society a fairer place, and help others, through my study and practise of law, is my motivation and hope.
No one in my family has ever studied at university, therefore, when I accepted my offer to study law at the University of Edinburgh, I did not really know what to expect. I felt a wave of emotions. I felt excited about starting a new chapter of my life, but was also worried that I would not fit in with other students coming from more affluent backgrounds and more-advantaged secondary schools. However, the Lawscot Foundation made all of these worries disappear.
Through the Lawscot Foundation, I was introduced to my mentor, a trained solicitor, who I meet up with regularly. From answering any questions I have about the course and profession, to helping me deal with the stress of exams, my mentor has supported me amazingly throughout first year. With her relevant advice and guidance, I feel a lot more relaxed and confident about my remaining years of studying, and the career path I have ahead of me.
The bursary which the Lawscot Foundation provides has helped me immensely throughout the academic year. With this, I was able to purchase the mandatory books needed for first year, as well as put some of the money towards my rent. Due to the bursary, I did not need to work as many hours at my part-time job as I expected to, meaning I was able to focus more on my studies. This eased a lot of financial stress.
As well as providing me with a mentor and bursary, the Lawscot Foundation has provided me with work experience varying from visiting the courts to law firms. Not only has this created networking opportunities, it has also given me a further insight into what a career in the profession looks like.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year on the LLB course. I have realised that law manages to affect everything and, by studying it, it gives me the freedom to develop an interest in almost anything. From the more realistic aspect of family law, to learning about the European Union and the Scottish legal system, I now have an insight into a whole range of disciplines. I am excited for the years ahead and believe that, with the life-changing support the Lawscot Foundation has given me, I will be able to achieve my goals. I am so grateful for the Lawscot Foundation’s support.
One of our first ever Lawscot Foundation recipients is Laura, who is studying at Abertay University. Laura spent a period of time living in a homeless shelter during school, and writes about what the support from the Lawscot Foundation means to her.
Since turning 16, I have been living independently [from my family]. Estrangement comes with its many challenges, but it has the power to help you grow into yourself. Refusing to let this have a negative impact, I stuck in at school and got the grades I needed. I wanted to help people. I wanted to show my appreciation for all the people who assisted me through this time. Therefore, I chose to study law. I found out about the Lawscot Foundation online and knew I had to apply as soon as possible because this was an amazing opportunity and I could not let it slip through my fingers. Thankfully I was successful in my application.
First year [on the LLB] has been a rollercoaster. I have met amazing people through my course, sport and through the Foundation. The work has been challenging, as university work is such a big jump from high school. However, I have enjoyed diving into the tasks and giving my 100% effort to obtain the best grades I possibly can. The course has given me so much more confidence in myself as I believe I can be successful and that I have the ability to produce work that meets expectations.
Having two mentors has helped immensely. Monthly meetings with my mentor, a trainee solicitor, have given me the opportunity to talk about short and long-term goals, as well as discussing any issues I am having, whether it is to do with the course directly or not. My mentor provides amazing guidance for going forward and it has given me contacts and networking opportunities. As well as having a mentor who is working in the profession, I have also been given a mentor who attends the same university as myself and is ahead of me on the course. Having a student buddy has been beneficial as I have been able to ask questions about university work. For example, when completing my first essay I could not quite comprehend the correct way to reference but he was able to give me advice as to how to fix this. The mentors that the Foundation provided me with are excellent. They have played a large part in making me feel a lot more relaxed about the course when I have felt concerned or stressed and they have played an important part in building my confidence.
The bursary that is provided is an added benefit to the Lawscot Foundation as it takes off a lot of financial stress. The bursary has helped me to obtain the recommended books for modules to aid my studies as well as allowing me to live comfortably. Before coming to university, money was a big issue for me. I was terrified I would not be able to afford it as I do not have parental help, but the Foundation allowing me to have this opportunity has lifted a massive weight off of my shoulders and I am forever thankful.
Jordan is one of our current Lawscot Foundation students. He is currently studying at the University of Dundee. Here, Jordan explains his first-hand experience of the Lawscot Foundation so far.
I was born in Luton and moved up to Edinburgh aged six to live with my auntie and younger brother and then attended school in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, the high school I went to was not renowned for its academic success, probably because of the less affluent area of Edinburgh in which it sits, and so initially university was not an option that seemed likely. After seeing the road a lot of my peers were taking during fifth and sixth year, I knew I wanted to follow a different path. So, after some research, I knew law was the right course for me.
I successfully applied to the University of Dundee to study Dual Qualifying English and Scots law. As I was the first in my immediate family to go to university, I had no idea what to expect, except I was probably going to be confused in the library for countless hours a day and be struggling to live off my student loan – and that’s where the Lawscot Foundation comes in.
I was introduced to other law students across the country in very similar situations as to myself [fellow Lawscot Foundation students]; it was good to get an insight as to how they were finding things to do with the course and it immediately created a network of people to keep in contact with. Furthermore, I was given two mentors, one who is in progressed study and one currently practising. This has been very helpful as I can turn to my student mentor for any academic queries I may have and know he is still very much in touch with such things and thus able to provide a helping hand when needed. My other mentor, a practising solicitor in Dundee, is the mentor I am in most contact with. Often meetings are centred around how I am getting on and giving any relevant advice but also it is good to speak to someone in the field and find out more, almost first hand, about what it is like to be a lawyer. This has been great, and I have found the meetings very useful.
On top of help with my academic studies, the Lawscot Foundation provides many opportunities to go and visit practices specialising in different areas of law, allowing us a better insight and understanding. This is most helpful as it helps shape my opinion on which type of law, if any, I would like to go into. Coming from a less affluent background than most, I was not sure how I was going to survive financially but the Lawscot Foundation has provided an extremely useful bursary to ensure I can carry on through university and know finances are not a worry. I am extremely grateful of my involvement in the Lawscot Foundation and how it is helping me through my studies, putting me in a good position for a career in the profession later on.