This post features the winning entries from a recent blog competition for students on the Legal Practice Course at Plymouth University which was organised by our Family Team. Our Marketing Director, Louise Edwards, and I judged the entries and below are the two winning posts. Thank you to all of those who entered the competition – we thoroughly enjoyed reading your entries – and many congratulations to the winners!
So the legal aid changes have been implemented and this can only mean one thing… the end of family law as a career option.
There are still many reasons why family law has great appeal, most importantly the copious amount of sweets passed around during the workshops.
On a more serious note, family law has great appeal due to the relevance of the law in many aspects of daily life: children are born, couples meet, marriages or civil ceremonies take place and divorces and separation happen – each of these triggering a potential role for a family solicitor whether it involves any child care proceedings, pre-nuptial agreements or filing for a divorce.
Clearly there will be a decline in publicly funded clients unless the issue in question concerns domestic violence or public childcare proceedings and this will inevitably lead to an increase in litigants in person but this certainly does not mean that there is no requirement for legal advice on family law matters. In fact there will be many other doors that will open for family solicitors ranging from becoming a collaborative solicitor or training to be a mediator and of course this has great appeal to clients in reducing their costs whilst still upholding the need of a professional with knowledge of family law.
Additionally there are and were many clients who are not eligible for public funding so legal advice will still be required by those who are willing to meet the costs.
But hey, if all else fails there is always commercial law!
With the wide range of choice for the elective section on the Legal Practice Course at Plymouth University it was an easy choice to choose the family elective.
Firstly, I wanted to have a range of electives which could provide me with skills which could adapt and cross over into other areas of law. The family elective clearly ticks all of these boxes as it includes advocacy with mock family courts (including the judges), drafting application forms and professional conduct. It also covers practical skills such as planning for client interviews both in person and over the telephone.
Secondly, the module leader had won the university’s inspirational lecturer award. I therefore knew that this module would not be a normal “teacher student scenario” and would be much more hands on and interactive – which is certainly what it has been!
Thirdly, family law heavily features in the media: from the distressing cases of Baby P and Victoria Climbie concerning child protection to big financial divorce cases for example Paul McCartney and Heather Mills. Every day there is a new story which makes an example of the law. I was intrigued by the legal aid cuts which came in April 2013 and how it would affect this unique area of law.
The family law elective gives the opportunities to practise vital skills that any trainee solicitor will need, as well as being varied and an interesting topic to learn and I would certainly recommend it to future students.