Employability Consultant Chris Naughton joined Law students as they were granted the opportunity to attend an exclusive audience with Lady Hale, Deputy President of the Supreme Court and Britain’s most senior female judge, on a recent visit to the Supreme Court.
The students were taken on a guided tour around the court and the Privy Council in Parliament Square, before meeting Lady Hale, also known as Baroness Hale of Richmond. Lady Hale became the first woman to sit on the UK’s Supreme Court, the final court of appeal in the UK for civil and criminal cases, in 2004.
Students were able to discuss contemporary law and the legal profession, social mobility, and the value of studying a degree in Law with the Baroness. Given that many of the students come from GSM London’s surrounding community, and reflect its diverse demographic, this was an excellent opportunity for them to discuss the growing inclusivity of the profession.
Dr Michael Reynolds, Senior Lecturer in Law, said:
“Traditionally the legal profession has been comprised of those from middle-class backgrounds. A visit such as this encourages students from more diverse backgrounds to consider the possibility of, and opportunities associated with, a career in judiciary.”
The students who met with Lady Hale were inspired and enjoyed the opportunity to consider the legal profession and working within it from outside of the perspective of the classroom.
Funmi Ojo, a LLB student, commented:
“Lady Hale was an inspiration. I discussed human rights law with her, and her answers to my questions were extremely interesting. The visit gave me a positive perspective on our legal system and its profession. It has made me feel more confident in the notion of equality before the law.”
Vanessa Threadgold, another LLB student who attended the meeting, said:
“It was a truly unique opportunity to meet with one of the most impressive contemporary legal minds. Every word she spoke was intriguing, enlightened and informed. The court was modern, welcoming and in touch with the real world, which I think is often something people feel is missing from the legal profession.”
Law courses run by institutions such as GSM London are encouraging the widening participation and changing face of the legal profession today.
“We have been running the LLB programme for three years,” said Alison Wride, Provost. “It is a two-year intensive course, instead of the usual three. To succeed, students must be academically accomplished and dedicated. Our student population here at GSM London shows that anyone can have a university education and succeed, regardless of background. This message is one that is reinforced by visits such as this audience with Baroness Hale. Her own advocacy for diversity within the law will encourage the students’ passion for the legal profession, and contribute to their development into future lawyers.”