Twenty-five Pathways to Law students from the Oxford Cohort 11 took part the 2018 Pathways to Law National Conference. Held at the University of Warwick campus during July 23rd- 26th, the conference brought together 250 Pathways to Law students from across the country, and offered a valuable opportunity for participants to make friends from across the country and experience university life ahead of making UCAS university applications later in the year. 

During the four-day residential, students took part in an interactive academic and skills-based programme in the day followed by social activities in the evening. This year’s programme included academic taster sessions and small-group seminars on various law-related subjects, negotiation and debating training and competitions, inspirational speakers, and a valuable workshop run by global law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright. Students also took part in a Law and University Fair where they networked with legal professionals and university admissions tutors from leading UK employers and universities. The residential culminated with a Gala Dinner where prizes where announced for best performing students.

University of Oxford Cohort 11 student, Ben Nugent, reflects on his Pathways to Law National Conference experience:

I absolutely loved the conference. It was a very tiring four days and the first time that I stayed in university halls, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Everyone was so nice and willing to get to know each other. I got on amazingly well with the other Pathways to Law students from across the country and became friends with many students who have the same interests and aspirations as me. We will undoubtably be friends until university and perhaps even longer. 

Outside of the activities you will be able to do karaoke with your new friends, do a pub quiz with them, be pitted against each other in a tense game of scrabble if you want to. At night you can do a range of social activities before the next day. On the last night you will have a fantastic time at the Gala Dinner. Everyone makes an effort to look great in stunning dresses and sharp suits before the disco afterwards where no-one is left out - your final goodbye as the 2018 PtL cohort. By then, despite your tiredness, you won’t want to go home. 

As for the content of the conference itself, it was brilliant and I will be most definitely putting it in my personal statement. We had a range of activities from debates, to negotiations, discussions on international trade law and whether we can truly have a democracy in the age of Facebook and Google. Ask yourself, should speeding fines be based on your monthly income? Is it fair that the rich can speed with, in theory less punishment, than the poor? Or can it be justified that the rich should be punished more for being better-off financially? 

The conference increased my confidence to express my points of view and stand my ground in an articulate way. The team leaders were brilliant at asking us questions that tested what we thought and helped us form our ideas. These skills are vital to being a lawyer so it is great to start developing them now! 

My favourite activity of the whole week was the negotiation challenge. It allowed our small group to replicate a real arbitration negotiation that solicitors do for real. I enjoyed it greatly because people got really stuck into it and also because, in the end, I got what I wanted for my client. Regardless of the outcome, the competitive activities are really light-hearted and all about doing the best you can; which is almost always better than you might think. 

The four days at the University of Warwick allowed me to build a network of friends and valuable professional contacts that I might be able to use in the future. I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

Did you know? 
The National Conference is FREE to attend for all students enrolled in the Pathways to Law programme. Pathways to Law runs across 18 months and is open to UK state school students in Year 12-13 who are interested in studying Law at university or pursue a legal career. 

How to apply? 
Applications for the 2018/2019 cohort of Year 12 students will open in early September and close at midnight on Sunday, 14th October. To find out more and register your interest, please visit the Sutton Trust Website.