The Family Law Prize and our Collaboration with Stowe Family Law LLP

The University of Sheffield has entered into a new collaborative relationship with the UK’s largest specialist family law firm, Stowe Family Law LLP.

Law students

The University of Sheffield has entered into a new collaborative relationship with the UK’s largest specialist family law firm, Stowe Family Law LLP, who recently opened a new office in the city centre.

Stowe are the UK’s largest specialist family law firm, advising and representing clients in legal matters associated with divorce and other types of relationship breakdown. That includes helping clients with divorce petitions, arrangements for children and family finances, including spousal maintenance, the division of assets such as the family home, pensions and business interests.  Stowe are now sponsoring the LLB final year Family Law optional module, offering work experience to the highest achieving student each year, with further plans for the coming academic year. The firm is incredibly keen to help students due to the challenging nature of gaining experience in all types of practice.

The challenge is further compounded by the variety of organisation types and their cultures, from small local practices to international corporations. In other words, combining culture and practice types leads to an unrealistic amount of possibilities. The unfortunate reality is that for some aspiring solicitors they find out later that they could have been better suited to another specialism or another firm. Often this comes after starting or even finishing a training contract, which can be quite deflating, and which can delay career progress. Work experience is key to helping students make informed choices about potential specialisms, and the type of firm that will suit them.

Divorce, separation and children work is unique from any other legal specialism due to the (often extreme) emotions involved, and the fact that each family dynamic is as unique as its members - including their lifestyles, personalities and finances to name a few key factors.  Stowe intend to help each year’s highest achieving student to better understand this field and what a career as a family lawyer entails. Furthermore, starting next year, the firm will interact further with all students on the family law module – giving an opportunity to all students to engage and ask questions.

Senior Solicitor of the firm’s Sheffield office, Maria Coster, commented “We are delighted to be involved with the University of Sheffield and help its third year LLB students, starting with the offer of work experience, and to build on that next year. The same work experience initiative will run in the coming academic year, plus we intend to attend campus and spend face-time with the students on the module. We recommend that all students try to undertake pro bono work, summer placements, participate in initiatives like the one we are running and anything else that will give them valuable experience to help them to decide upon their future career and bolster their CV.”

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