updated on 16 January 2020
The UCL Law Society prides itself in providing strong support to our first-year students and helping them adjust to university life. Our efforts were recognised when we received the “Best Society for First Year Students” award at the LawCareers.Net Student Law Society Awards 2019. This is what we do within our society to support first-year law students.
We believe that we are the only law society in London that organises non-stop activities, across 14 consecutive days, for our first-year students. These events include pub crawls, bar nights, club nights, a sports night, a bowling night, a billiards night and an Oktoberfest social, among others. Importantly, the highlight of Freshers’ Fortnight is our society’s tradition of organising a day trip to France, where we cross the English Channel to Calais. The fortnight culminates with our Osborne Clarke Freshers’ Boat Ball, a black-tie ball along the River Thames. These activities provide an opportunity for our first-year members to meet new people and build lasting friendships.
Additionally, we run a robust Law Families system that matches senior law students to first-year law students, to give them a first point of contact should they have any teething issues and give them a greater sense of belonging at the UCL Faculty of Laws. We organise several social events for these law families, such as our ‘meet the parents’ session and Law Families Social @ Bloomsbury Bowl. We strongly believe that this system provides our first-year students with a strong support system as they navigate their way through law school.
Importantly, we organise several introductory career events specifically for our first-year students. This year, our ‘pathfinders Panel’ event, an introductory panel event to highlight various careers paths to our first-year students, saw a turn-out of over 140 students. We also organised an ‘introduction to commercial awareness’ session with Slaughter and May. These introductory sessions provide our first-year students with a greater awareness of various career options available to them in the legal sector.
Moreover, we hold several competitions specifically for our first-year students, such as the Herbert Smith Freehills Junior Mooting Competition and Eversheds Sutherland Junior Negotiation Competition. These competitions allow our first-year students to compete against like-minded individuals, of similar skill levels, in a safe environment. We also organise several training workshops to ensure that our first-year students are adequately prepared before they compete in these competitions. Our intention is to develop their legal skills and help them achieve their goals.
This year, we introduced an essay-recycling scheme for our first-year students. As part of the scheme, second and final-year students volunteer to have their essays shared with first-year students in a common online folder. This scheme has provided our first-year students with strong academic support and eased them into writing their first formative academic essays.
Finally, our society, in partnership with the UCL Faculty of Laws, introduced a new student feedback software, Unitu. Unitu is a digital feedback portal where our members can provide (anonymous) feedback on society matters or teaching facilities in law school. The platform is moderated by our society’s year group student representatives. Feedback on the academic experience will then be passed on to the undergraduate office, either on the platform itself or at the student-staff consultative committee meetings. This platform allows our first-year students to voice their feedback and have it addressed in a timely manner.
Tips for first-year students
Your first year at university is a great opportunity for you to get involved in a range of activities. Your law society is a great platform to meet fellow law students, participate in competitions and get access to some of the best employers in the country.
Beyond that, we strongly recommend that you get involved in a society at university, whether it be a sports team or a career society. Apart from making new friends and getting exposure to different world views, these societies help show employers that you are doing something productive at university, beyond your academics. While you do not need to be stressed about your future career at this stage, it might be useful to attend a few introductory career events to get a sense of what you want out of your degree. Good luck with your first year!