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SOAS University of London, Law Personal Statement

Law, School Of Oriental And African Studies

When I feel someone has been wronged, I have an overwhelming urge to say or do something. Shaker Aamer is a British resident, who was held captive in Guantanamo for over 13 years without a trial. Such a situation fills me with a passion to make a change and to help others. What gives law its meaning and integrity is the ability of someone who has studied it to advocate for others. The law is most needed by the most vulnerable in society and the right person can empower them using it. I believe that I can be that person. I want to study and understand the law so I can use it in the service of others. 

I first pursued my interest in law through a placement at Saracens Solicitors. I worked alongside the litigation department in a professional work environment. Throughout my placement I was able to see how the cases were opened and managed. A case that I found particularly interesting involved a client claiming compensation, despite the incident being outside the 6 year period for which a claim is valid. I was able to see law outside of a court room and observe the importance given to building a strong client relationship. This experience gave me my first insight into the complex nature of cases and the necessity to thoroughly research and analyse. Following this, I completed a placement with Oracle Solicitors which also allowed me to attend Westminster Magistrates Court. This gave me an understanding to how law is enforced practically. Both these experiences made me aware of the range of different career paths this course can lead onto. I also gained an internship through the Nuffield Foundation, at the National Lung and Heart Institute. I wrote a dissertation on research I conducted independently, giving me the skills to analyse and synthesise large amounts of data and research.

Thinking critically is a vital skill for a law student. Decisive judgement and making practical decisions is what students are trained for. I believe that studying Maths A-level has helped me to develop these qualities essential for both studying and practising law. The subject requires a person to think rationally and work through a problem methodically. This has helped me as I am now able to quickly identify fallacies and illogical reasoning. I am able to analyse large sums of data and examine it, skills developed through work in Biology A-Level. In addition, studying topics such as stem cells has given me the capacity to evaluate issues based on an ethical perspective.

 A law student needs to be able to express both their own and others’ thoughts in a balanced and objective manner. In my roles as Head Girl and Chairperson in the Junior Leadership Team, I represent my peers by expressing their opinions in a rational and convincing way to senior staff members within my school. These roles have advanced my leadership skills, giving me the confidence to speak publicly, as well as the competence to communicate clearly to a range of age groups and make effective decisions. I have also volunteered to tutor children in English and Maths. This was a rewarding experience, as it is gratifying to see the difference you can make. Law strives to achieve this, giving people justice and changing their lives.

 As well as being able to clearly voice my opinions, I am able to express these on paper too. My written communication skills have improved through Religious Studies A-Level. The subject has allowed me to think critically, view situations laterally and argue from different viewpoints. It has developed my sense of empathy and using this, I have the ability to evaluate these views and come to a reasonable conclusion. I believe my desire to understand the law and use it for the good of others will help me thrive throughout the course. I would be studying a subject that complements my nature, my instinct to speak for others and challenge my understanding of the laws that our society is built upon.

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