First-class Stacey lauds DMU after landing job with top legal firm

A mum-of-two has spoken of her delight at landing a job with a top legal firm in Birmingham after earning a First-class honours Law LLB degree from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Stacey Horsley, a mature student at DMU who graduated this summer, was full of praise for the DMU course and its lecturers.

Stacey H main

The 35-year-old is now working as a legal clerk at Gowling WLG, a multinational law firm with more than 1,400 legal professionals working in 19 cities across the globe.

Stacey, who is originally from Birmingham and now lives in Leicestershire, said: "I enjoyed meeting my lecturers more than anything else. Whether they were from an academic background or a practising-law background, they all had so much knowledge to offer.

"I loved reading case law, using [the computer-assisted legal research programmes] LexisNexis and Westlaw to pull out key principals in legal judgements. I enjoyed most of my modules, I genuinely did; however constitutional law, intellectually property law and family law do stand out as making the biggest impact on me.

"Law is difficult, without a shadow of a doubt! But once I understood how to apply the law - which didn't sink in until well into my second year - then it became fun. If you can apply the law to a given set of facts, the higher marks start to drift in. But I learnt early on that those higher marks were only achievable through high attendance in lectures, tutorials and seminars. The lecturers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that cannot be self-taught from a book.

"Applying the law is hard but it’s where the tops marks are. My equity and trusts lecturer Rachel Grimley and my family law lecturer Sarah Brooks were both fantastic at breaking this down for students – they were amazing! I scored high in those exams because of them. 

"In respect of always being there to help students improve and grow, Dr Alwyn Jones was the most patient and kindest person anybody could ever wish to meet. He dedicated much time to me, as I know he does to all his students.

"My lecturers always had time to advise me on how higher marks could be achieved. From listening to them and knuckling down, I graduated with First-class honours. I still keep in touch with many of my lecturers and intend to always do so. Debra Brown [principal lecturer] and Louise Neilson [senior lecturer] were both awe-inspiring to me."

Stacey also spoke about the benefits of DMU's dedicated Faculty of Business and Law building - the £35million Hugh Aston Building - with its large lecture theatres, law library and mock courtroom.

She said: "As a mature student with a young family travelling to uni each day, the journey had to be practical and I needed everything to be on-hand when I arrived. DMU's law school has everything you need, such as quiet rooms in the library to work on essays away from a noisy home.

"Leading up to exams, I used the law library on many a weekend, too. DMU was an easy choice for me."

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As part of her European law module in the first year, Stacey also got the chance to visit the Belgian capital Brussels on a #DMuglobal trip.

"I got to visit the European Parliament and European Commission and was able to produce a first-class presentation on my return, which counted towards my final mark that year," she said.

For the first two years at university Stacey also volunteered at her local Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB) one day a week, which helped when it came to later job interviews.

She said: "Maintaining a healthy CV in between studies is vitally important to securing work after graduation as the market is fierce. At my first interview with Gowling, the interviewee zoned in on my work at the CAB and was interested to hear more."

DMU gave her the confidence to succeed and the career sessions helped to prepare her for life post-university.

"The career sessions were important because they were realistic. They prepare you for the real world in law because it can be tough," she added.

Stacey works within the real estate department at Gowling, in its housing, regeneration and development team as a legal clerk. She assists the fee-earners on a daily basis and her team deals with site set-ups once land has been purchased.

"It's giving me great exposure," Stacey said. "Gowling boasts many big clients on an international scale and I feel very honoured to be working with them. The fee-earners and support staff are delightful and are willing to help me grow and develop where they can."

Her plan now is to gain experience in the legal sector before embarking on a postgraduate course such as the Legal Practice Course offered at DMU. Gowling also offers training contracts, which could be another option for Stacey for the near future.

Stacey added that she couldn't have enjoyed this success without the support of her loving family - husband Jamie, daughter Mia, 12, and son Challis, four.

"I was working at Gowling two weeks before I graduated and the standout moment for me was calling my supportive husband Jamie from Gowling to tell him my degree classification."

Posted on Tuesday 3rd October 2017

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