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Alumni

Jessica Cousin

Career Path: Solicitor, Hay & Kilner
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I became interested in pursuing a career in law during high school. It started from watching various crime thrillers and documentaries, to becoming genuinely interested in the law, how it works and is implemented and excitement to be involved in such an integral part of our society. I applied to several universities to study law and much to my delight, Northumbria (which was my first choice!) accepted me to study their MLaw course.

After finishing my degree in 2017, I very quickly landed a job as a paralegal at DRS - although this was not your average paralegal role! DRS is not a typical law firm, but an outsourcing company for legal contracts and regulatory compliance. I was very lucky to get high exposure to client work from the get go, starting with my own negotiations for a Tier 1 bank in derivatives and other financial contracts. I was at DRS for five years in which time I became the client's subject matter expert for NDAs and hedge funds, as well as managing a team of up to nine people alongside my usual BAU portfolio, managing projects and assisting in the development of the company with senior management. I completed my training contract and PSC in September 2020 and qualified as a solicitor in April 2022 (due to some unforeseen administration issues which unfortunately caused a delay in being admitted to the SRA). I learnt a lot at DRS but after five years I was keen to broaden my horizons and in September 2022 I started my role at Hay & Kilner in as their commercial contracts solicitor.

What are you doing now?Jessica Cousin

I am currently working as a commercial contracts solicitor at Hay & Kilner in Newcastle.

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

I was born and grew up in Hexham so Newcastle was always a place close to my heart but it was the MLaw course that drew me to Northumbria. I really liked the idea of a four year combined course and what Northumbria had to offer by way of their flexibility (barrister / solicitor route decision) and Student Law Office.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

I very much enjoyed my time at Northumbria. There were a good mix of lectures for more general learning, which was honed in at in the smaller seminar groups. There was a good mix of learning to cover all basis in the first few years and good opportunities to tailor my learning and experience in later years.

How connected was your course with industry?

Northumbria offered a wide range of opportunities to connect with the legal industry. This was through fairs and guest lectures etc. They offered help with CVs and presented opportunities to connect with various law firms and solicitors in Newcastle.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I took part in various work experience weeks at different firms which we're very helpful in understanding which areas of law I was more interested in, as well as seeing the day to day of a life as a solicitor and how firms are ran.

What was the best thing about your course?

My personal favourite thing about the MLaw course was being able to take part in the Student Law Office. I was in the family department and helped a woman through a divorce after falling victim to domestic abuse. It was a tough matter to deal with but very rewarding knowing we could help someone that couldn't afford other help. It also helped but our knowledge into practice, and develop skills that would help when getting a job at a firm.

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

Northumbria was a great stepping stone to achieving my goal of becoming a solicitor. It offered great learning as well as opportunities within the North East due to its vast array of connections.

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

How to research, soft skills such as writing emails, general knowledge around the law.

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

Student Law Office

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

Ensure the course fits what you want and the area is somewhere you would enjoy living (it's a long time to live somewhere you don't like!).

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

Fun, insightful and developmental.

For more information about me visit:  

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