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Double celebration for budding barrister

Date 21.08.2020

A law student from the University of Northampton has been awarded two scholarships, supporting her on the road to becoming a barrister.

Mature student, Francesca Wilderspin, who joined the University through Clearing  to study Law two-year intensive LLB, is celebrating being named as the recipient of the Max Engel Memorial Bursary. The bursary which awards her £2,000 towards postgraduate study, is accompanied by a two-week placement with Max Engle and Co LLP. Francesca has also been awarded a University of Law Scholarship, which will support her financially as she begins studying for the Bar Practice Course.

Talking about her passion for the law, Francesca said: “I clearly remember a school careers day, when I was told that a career in law would suit me. Fast forward to today, ten years after I was last in education, and I’m well on the road towards to achieving that, thanks to the University of Northampton.

“Initially, I was a bit nervous about what being a student would be like, especially as a mature student with two children. It was nerve-wracking giving up my first career and full-time work to go to university. Once I arrived at the University of Northampton, I knew I had nothing to worry about, my lecturers have been very supportive and were ready to go above and beyond for me.”

Throughout her studies, Francesca could call upon the support of law lecturers, which she credits for helping her to succeed: “My tutors are very knowledgeable about the law, and just what a competitive career choice it is.

“Through the course, they focus on giving you excellent and varied opportunities to develop the academic and practical skills you need to succeed in a legal career, as well as encouraging you to take part in extra circular events, and opportunities to broaden your CV outside of your studies.”

As well as the super supportive academics on her course, Francesca was pleased to have the Changemaker Hub law fairs, and networking opportunities to get involved in, she said: “At the regular law fairs, I managed to speak with local law firms and understand what opportunities were available, this kind of industry exposure is a great networking opportunity.”

Francesca took just one of those opportunities, joining the Student Union Law Society, later being voted in as President, where she developed even more opportunities for the student body, including mooting practices, networking events, and work experience opportunities. Speaking about this she said: “Joining the Law Society should be the first thing law students do in Welcome and Induction week. It gives you a great chance to meet with students from other years of study, and UON alumni for networking opportunities, mooting competitions and more.

Kate Exall, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Northampton, said: “Francesca is a talented and dedicated student who has embraced studying law at Northampton. Francesca was elected as President of the Student Law Society, which demonstrates her positive attitude to getting involved and advocating for others, a valuable skill as she prepares to study for the Bar.

“Francesca was a very deserving recipient of the Max Engel Award and has also had external recognition of her talents through being awarded a Scholarship by the University of Law which will help her on the way to becoming a Barrister. I wish her every success.”

Francesca offered her advice to students starting at Northampton in September, “Participate, listen, speak up, discuss, take part and listen to the feedback you get. You’ve got so many opportunities at Northampton, grab them with both hands, it will broaden your knowledge, get you great opportunities and help you to stand out from the crowd.”