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Icenian Interview – Grace

In 2010, Grace joined Langley in Year 7, leaving in 2017 with A-Levels in Design and Technology, Accounting and Finance, and Law. Here we find out the inspiration behind her degree selection and the experiences that got her where she is today.

Grace HockoldDuring school, did you know what career you wanted to pursue?
I had an inkling that I wanted to pursue law but, in all honesty, I thought I wasn’t smart enough to do it at University. I did debate doing a design degree since D&T was my strongest subject, and I enjoyed both the practical and academic side of the subject. However, with support from my teachers at Langley, I did pursue law and I have no regrets.

Which of Langley’s extra-curricular activities were you involved in?
I was always keen on sport and was involved in the hockey team and equestrian team. Under the brilliant guidance of Mr Wright, the 1st XI team were unbeaten in my final year. I also competed in the equestrian team at dressage, which allowed me to compete at regional and national championships most years with great success.
I was also part of the Royal Navy in the Combined Cadet Force. I was promoted to Warrant Officer and led the end of year parade in my final year. This was certainly one of my proudest achievements at Langley, and I truly believe my time in the CCF helped me become more confident; a leader, and perform well under pressure.

‘Langley is the best choice for any student, regardless of where their strengths lie. It provides an excellent well-rounded education, and you’re supportively pushed to become the best person you can be.’

Have these activities helped you since school?
I know that the skills I gained through my time at Langley have played a significant part in my career development thus far. The confidence brought from CCF has allowed me to navigate interviews and approach partners of law firms. Teamwork skills from hockey has allowed me to collaborate with fellow students as well as colleagues on tasks and legal matters. I’ve been able to utilise skills such as creativity, attention to detail, and innovation from my study of Design and Technology when faced with problems to solve. Despite not studying Business, I learnt entrepreneurial skills inadvertently through Accounting and Finance. While this isn’t an obvious skill needed in law, being able to understand a client’s priorities and where their needs lie are important parts of being a good lawyer and they highlight the need for commercial awareness.

What are you doing now?
I’m currently in my final year at Nottingham Law School (Nottingham Trent University) studying law with a year in industry; otherwise known as a ‘sandwich’ degree. NLS has been a brilliant University to study at and the opportunities given to students are second to none. I have developed a strong passion for sports law, undertaking a module on the subject alongside a dissertation on the International Olympic Committee’s protection of freedom of expression at the Olympic Games, which is a hugely topical area in sport as athletes continue to take the knee.

So far, what have been your post-school highlights?
My NTU hockey team became BUCS trophy league champions in 2019, and I’ve also enjoyed individual and team successes in the equestrian BUCS team. For my placement, I was fortunate enough to join national law firm Shoosmiths Solicitors as a Junior Paralegal. In my role I dealt with the litigation and rehabilitation of mortgage accounts on behalf of banks and building societies. I was given the opportunity to file cases at court, complete witness statements and apply for warrants to proceed with evictions. I also became trained on surplus matters to deal with distributing funds to next entitled parties once my client’s balance had been satisfied. This utilised my knowledge from Accounting and Finance, which I obtained at A-Level. I have recently received an employment offer from Shoosmiths to rejoin the team post study, which is why I am such a huge advocate for students embarking on placement years!

On reflection, did your time at Langley help your attitude towards career choices and progression?
Yes. My achievements thus far are a testament to the confidence, resilience and maturity I developed through my studies and extra-curricular activities. The high work ethic that was instilled in me at Langley has been a catalyst to my professional progression. It pushes me to have no fear and the confidence to take on a new challenge, but also an understanding it may go wrong sometimes and it’s ok to not get it right every time.

What advice you would give to students considering Langley, their A-Levels or careers?
Langley is the best choice for any student, regardless of where their strengths lie. It provides an excellent well-rounded education, and you’re supportively pushed to become the best person you can be. With regards to career, do something that makes you happy and you are interested in. If you have your mind set on a certain career, ensure you choose subjects appropriate to that career. But, equally, look into all the different avenues to get to the career you aspire to – there’s never normally just one route to it and don’t feel pressure to take the ‘traditional’ or ‘popular’ route. Take any opportunity you can to get work experience, speak to people, and don’t just network but create meaningful relationships with these people since you never know when these relationships may come into fruition.

Your fondest memory of Langley
There’s too many to mention since I really enjoyed my time at Langley! I remember staying on Navy bases, attending dinners, end of year parades, and being drenched in the middle of a forest in Thetford (I know Mr Cooper would tell me it’s my fault for not putting the cover up correctly). Listening to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ during almost every Law lesson following with an air guitar riff from Mr Read. But the general support and understanding I received from all my teachers through the years was excellent, as well as the friendships I’ve developed which, despite life taking us in different directions, I am always grateful for.

Shout-outs
To the staff who tirelessly organised so many sports matches. The then Heads of Sixth Form, Mr Kempton, Mrs McRobert and Ms Beaumont who provided academic and personal support during A-Levels. Mr Holmes and Mr Cooper for allowing, and trusting, me to take lead on the parade (as well as wave a sword around!). And to Mr Read who inspired me and helped me to believe I was able to study law at university.

Published On: March 18th, 2021Categories: Icenians, News

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