Sheffield has given me well-rounded experience to help me in my career

Molly-rose Byrne - LLB Law
Molly-Rose Byrne
Undergraduate student
Molly-rose, LLB Law student, has had a well-rounded experience from studying abroad in Dublin, gaining work experience at the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre to finding a love of Mooting!
Molly-rose Byrne - LLB Law
Molly-rose Byrne (LLB Law)

What is your favourite thing about studying your course at Sheffield?

My favourite thing about studying my course at Sheffield has to be the global links. Not only did I get the amazing chance to study for a year at University College Dublin, Ireland (with lots of funding and personal support from TUoS staff), but my fellow students are from all over the world. Being a part of a diverse community that's welcoming to all is something I love about this university.

What made you want to take a year abroad with the School of Law?

Sadly, the second half of my first year and my entire second year had to be moved online because of the pandemic, so when the opportunity to go on a year abroad in my third year came up I was incredibly excited.

How was your year abroad experience?

My year abroad was the highlight of my degree! It was full of so many adventures because I was lucky enough to make many friends from different countries who's sofas I have been able to stay on! I got to study a huge range of modules ranging from Sports Law and Banking Law all the way to an Introduction to Classical Mythology. I was also able to contact one of my professors whilst I was there who allowed me to shadow him in the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin.

I got to do a range of different modules in my year abroad. I think that the most valuable skill that you gain from studying in a different country is the ability to understand and synthesise different types of legal systems and procedures. Furthermore, I also got the opportunity to build my language skills. A lot of my friends, as well as one of my flatmates came from all over the world and were happy to teach me some of their own languages!

My year abroad has definitely been something to talk about in interviews that I have had since coming back. Plus, I think it has really opened my mind to the possibility of living and working abroad in the future.

Did you feel supported during your year abroad?

I come from a lower income background, and so I never thought I would be able to undertake a year abroad. But the University of Sheffield supported me fully through my application and time abroad. They helped to get me funding for both my housing and my flights.

Why did you decide to study your course?

I decided to study law after reading 'The Secret Barrister - Stories of the Law and how it's broken' and undertaking a day's work experience at a local solicitor's firm during my time at Sixth Form. I was struck by the opening speech in the book describing being a barrister as "irresistibly special" because of how thrilling the role of advocacy can be. I could not imagine that this was realistic for most people, certainly not myself. Yet, I was curious what a career in Law would entail and could offer me, and so I made my application to study this course. The points made in the book were certainly proven to me in my first ever Moot. Only three weeks into first year and dealing with the very low stakes of whether a wrap was a sandwich, I found myself completely caught up in how energising advocacy could be. The whole process of receiving the question, researching, writing my script, having to think on my feet with judicial intervention, made me suddenly understand just what made Law as a subject and career so "irresistibly special".

Molly-rose Byrne - LLB Law
Molly-rose Byrne (LLB Law)

What skills have you gained whilst studying at Sheffield?

Studying in Sheffield has given me a range of experiences to build different skills! 

Public Speaking: As I mentioned before, you get stuck into public speaking as soon as you get to Sheffield (but do not fear, it is optional!). I was absolutely terrified in my first ever speech, but doing it so often and with the support of the staff at University, this has really become something that I am skilled at and now enjoy. 

Networking: One of the most essential features of a career in Law is the ability to network. During my time at Sheffield, I have been exposed to a multitude of ways of connecting with professionals and practitioners. This has ranged from careers dinners (imagine speed-dating but with employers) to connecting me to mentors to guide me through making applications and how to talk to people from different backgrounds. 

Reading: Having been at the Law School for four years now, I always joke with prospective students that one of the first things the University teaches you is how to read. Studying Law is often called 'Reading Law at University', in large part due to the sheer amount of texts you will have to make sense of. I like to think I have become quite adept at this over my time here, and know that it will stand me in good stead for my future career aspirations.

Have you taken advantage of any opportunities that the Law School offers to students?

I have taken part in a wide range of opportunities that the Law School offers: 

Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre (MJRC): This was an amazing Pro Bono opportunity that I undertook in my second year which involved working with actual clients and helping them to review their cases. I got to work with a team of other students (with support of staff of course) in drafting letters, looking through and summarising court documents, and even facilitating and attending a meeting with my client. 

Mooting: Mooting has to be the thing I have loved the most whilst studying at Sheffield. I was lucky to place in some of the internal moots that were running throughout my early years in the School of Law. Then I was even luckier to be voted into the position of Mooting Secretary for the Edward Bramley Law School in final year, and so I got to train people, run the moots, and also take part in mooting across the country. Mooting is definitely a sort of sport amongst Law students, so I really recommend getting involved.

Have you enjoyed the content of your course?

I absolutely love the structure of the course. Doing three modules in each semester, and being assessed for those at the end of each semester helps to distribute your work and ensures you do not have to remember things for an assignment that you were taught eight months ago! Furthermore, the research-led approach means that you have access to a wide range of modules taught by absolute experts in their fields. 

Molly-rose Byrne - LLB Law
Molly-rose Byrne (LLB Law)

Have you got involved with any School of Law societies?

I have been both a member and had a committee role in the Edward Bramley Law Society (which I must add won best overall law society in the country, best for student engagement, and placed top four for mooting and for first years). This is the largest Law society at TUoS (but not the only one) and I have made so many great connections through my involvement in it. Not to mention after the initial payment to join you get a lot of free food, drinks, and even a few sponsored t-shirts. There is truly something for everyone in the Edward Bramley Society, and joining really increases your sense of being involved in the School of Law community.

What are your career aspirations?

I am aiming to pursue a career at the Bar, hopefully as a barrister specialising in financial crimes and commercial law.

How do you think your degree experience will help you in your career?

My time studying Law at Sheffield has really given me well-rounded experience to help me in my career aspirations. Not only has the academic side of things prepared me for the rigorous intellectual parts of becoming a barrister, the extracurriculars available and support from staff has helped me to build the practical skills that I will need.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying in the School of Law at Sheffield?

Do it! Honestly, my time at the School of Law at Sheffield has been so brilliant. I don't think I would've got all of the opportunities that I have if I studied elsewhere.

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