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Sinead Elizabeth McCracken

Career Path: Trainee Lawyer, Burnetts
Location: Newcastle, UK

I have always been interested in the law from a young age. I think what sparked my initial interest was speaking to close family members who had already qualified as a Solicitor and a Barrister. I was also lucky enough to be selected to complete some work experience whilst I undertook my A-Levels at school. The law is challenging and I enjoy being able to think through problems and to essentially make a difference to clients.

What are you doing now?Sinead Elizabeth McCracken

I am currently undertaking my Training Contract with Burnetts Solicitors having begun my training in September 2017. Prior to that, I had worked as a Paralegal for four years in Manchester and Birmingham. The first six months of my training was in Medical Negligence and I am currently in the Corporate Commercial department.

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

I particularly liked the accessibility of the teaching staff and the friendly open door policy. It really makes a difference when you are finding certain aspects of the course demanding.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Lectures and seminars are both equally weighted on the GDL and LPC. I found the lectures were useful for pointing you in the right direction of materials you could use. The seminars were more reflective and allowed you chat through problem questions with other students and tutors. They also equipped you well for exam techniques and the types of questions that would be on the papers.

How connected was your course with industry?

Northumbria University also makes an effort to attract guest speakers. For example, lawyers from other firms and some notable Judges.

What was the best thing about your course?

I felt both the GDL and LPC were well structured. The workload is intense and I think the tight timetabling helps you to cope with the demands of the courses. In addition, the staff are very approachable and give you their time (even outside of the classroom). This is essential if you are to grow and perform well as a student.

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

The teaching helped me to achieve good academic results which I have been able to highlight on my CV and discuss at interviews. There is also a good career skills department and this was useful to give you pointers on your CV and interview tips which I have carried with me.

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

The GDL provides you with the principles and foundations of the law which are vital to ensure you give technically accurate advice to clients. However, the LPC gives students more practical skills such as, drafting techniques, interview skills, advocacy and how to present a case well. Both of the practical and academic aspects hold equal weight in becoming a successful lawyer.

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

I made a solid group of friends whilst at the Law School. Everybody was very committed and helped each other which I found a really enjoyable aspect to the course.

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

Use all of the opportunities which are on offer. I was a postgraduate student but I know there are lots of societies, sports clubs and activities to become involved in. These are great for meeting other like minded people and to enhance your CV. If you are considering studying law, I would become involved with the extra curricular activities such as, the Student Law Centre. This can give your CV an edge if you are selected for interview and sharpen your interview, drafting and analytical skills from a younger age so you are ahead of the game.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Challenging, inspiring and fun.

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