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Grays Inn

By Mariam Ibrahim

Mariam IbrahimI graduated from Durham University with a LLB degree in July 2021. Currently, I am studying the bar course at the Inns of Court College of Advocacy, supported by the Baroness Hale of Richmond Scholarship (Gray’s Inn most prestigious merit-based scholarship). In this blog, I want to share my reflections on life post-Durham, as well as tips for budding barristers.


  1. Explore different areas of law

My first piece of advice is to explore different options. You may come to Durham with a fixed idea of your post-graduation plans, or like me, you may fluctuate between different ideas. Regardless, there is a lot of value in taking the time to explore your options. During my degree, I took a wide variety of modules, and attended a range of talks. This broadened my understanding of the law, and ensured that my post-graduation plans were well-informed. 


  1. The support at Durham Law School

We are very lucky to have a beautiful Law School building. However, more importantly, inside that building, there are a wealth of supportive professors, many of whom are world-leaders in their areas of research. My second tip is therefore to make the most of this opportunity. After receiving feedback on formatives and summatives, I would regularly visit the office hours of my professors to receive even more tailored feedback. This was fundamental for my development. In particular, the close interaction with my dissertation supervisor was invaluable for improving my ability to write well, construct persuasive essays, and undertake independent research. Your time at Durham is a unique opportunity to interact closely with law academics, and I would encourage you to make the most of this chance.


  1. Engage with Durham Law School activities


There are a wealth of opportunities at Durham: from the chance to take up a leadership role in a Durham Law society, to countless career events where you can speak to practising lawyers. During my time at Durham, I was on the Executive Committee of the ‘Enhancing Legal Sector Access Society’, and I attended a Bar Society dinner with The Hon. Mr Justice Goss (which later led to the opportunity to shadow him!). Embracing these opportunities are extremely beneficial for developing transferable skills, as well as for influencing post-graduation plans, so I would recommend that you actively engage with these opportunities.


  1. Stay informed

It has never been easier to access legal resources and remain informed on legal developments. There are countless online resources available, including free webinars and a variety of podcasts. As an undergraduate, I did not realise the importance of staying up to date with legal developments; not only is this crucial for your interview preparation, but it can inform the essays that you write, and even your career plans. An easy way that I now stay informed is by subscribing to legal newsletters (such as Inner Temple’s Daily Digest), and by following practising lawyers on Twitter and LinkedIn. This allows me to stay up-to-date in the legal areas that I am interested in. If you do this too, over time, you’ll build up a solid understanding of legal developments which will be extremely helpful.


  1. Balance

My final tip is to remember that being a law student is only one aspect of your experience at Durham. Whilst it is important to dedicate yourself to your degree and engage in legal extra-curricular activities, it is equally important to engage in non-law activities.  Pursuing a career in law can feel like a constant balancing act, but fortunately, at Durham you are surrounded by an extremely supportive and knowledgeable faculty, as well as many alumni who are very happy to help.