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Hannah Burton

Career Path: Barrister, Furnival Chambers
Location: London, UK

I decided I wanted to become a barrister from a young age. Therefore, I was able to focus my studies and work experience early on. I completed a number of mini-pupillage, marshalled judges and gained work experience in a solicitors firm. I did this alongside my studies, mostly during the holiday periods. The MLaw Exempting (Bar Professional Training Course) course meant I was called to the Bar very shortly after graduating, having completed my professional exams alongside my degree. This helped to streamline my studies, and cut the costs involved in qualifying as a barrister.

After graduating, it took me a few months to find a legally related job. In September 2014, I took a paralegal job in York, working predominantly on cases in family proceedings. Shortly after starting that job, I was offered pupillage at Furnival Chambers, a predominantly criminal set in London. I started pupillage in October 2015. In October 2016, I completed my pupillage, qualified as a barrister and was taken on as a tenant at Furnival Chambers.

Since qualifying, I have worked on a variety of criminal cases, extradition matters and some regulatory matters (for example, representing nurses who are alleged to have breached the regulations that they must comply with). I have had the opportunity to undertake two secondments: firstly, I was seconded to Peters and Peters Solicitors in London, which specialises in business crime, amongst other things; and secondly, I am currently seconded to the Extradition Unit at the Crown Prosecution Service. This has enabled me to broaden my experience in more specialist areas of criminal law.

What are you doing now?Hannah Burton

I am currently seconded to the Extradition Unit at the Crown Prosecution Service from Furnival Chambers. I am employed as a Senior Crown Prosecutor. The role involves representing foreign countries in extradition proceedings in this jurisdiction. I manage a case load and I also appear in court at least once a week. Once I have completed my secondment, I hope to built a practice in extradition using the experience I have gained.

 What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I fell in love with Newcastle as a city the first time I visited, and knew I wanted to study there. The MLaw course offered by Northumbria Law School represented fantastic value for money, and it streamlined the process of obtaining a law degree and passing the professional exams. Given that I knew I wanted to qualify as a barrister, it made both practical and financial sense to choose the course. The course also provided me with a Masters level qualification - another bonus for job applications!

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying at Northumbria University. The first few years of the course focused on core LLB modules - this was taught through lectures and seminars. In second year, the option to apply to undertake BPTC exams (rather than LPC exams) arose. In the third and fourth years, we had the opportunity to choose some of our modules. I was able to choose a module which was based predominantly around seminars and group working. Other modules were taught via lectures and seminars. I also completed a dissertation (which was assessed as a Masters Level dissertation). Once we had chosen the area of law we wanted to write our dissertation on, a specific tutor who specialised in the area of law in question was allocated to us in order to provide guidance and advice.

Alongside our degree modules, we were also studying for our professional exams. I completed the BPTC modules over the course of 2 years. The modules were taught via lectures, seminars and practice sessions (for example, advocacy training). The qualify of the tutoring and support we received was, in my opinion, exceptional. We also had the opportunity to work in the Student Law Office, providing pro-bono advice to members of the public under the supervision of qualified practitioners. I found the lecturers and professors to be passionate and knowledgeable about their subject areas, while remaining down to earth. You got out of it what you put in!

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

The vocational focus of the course was invaluable in helping me to achieve my career goals.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Studying for the professional exams while completing other modules, such as my dissertation, helped me to develop discipline and stamina, both of which are qualities which are needed in plentiful supply at the bar!

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I felt I had a really balanced experience - I worked hard, but also enjoyed all that Newcastle and the surrounding areas have to offer. It was a real privilege being able to live and study in such a vibrant, friendly city. I look back on my time studying at Northumbria very fondly.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

The Law School and the wider University offer so many opportunities over and above the degree you're studying. Make the most of them while you can!

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