Southampton law student, Adam Paine, has been named as The Open University Law Student of the Year 2013 at a special event in Westminster.
30 year-old Adam Paine was presented with his award for being the highest achieving student of the year. The award was presented by leading barrister, human rights activist and Visiting OU Professor, Cherie Blair CBE QC and Head of The Open University Law School (OULS), Emeritus Professor Geoff Peters.
Adam started studying with The Open University (OU) in 2008, initially with the intention of finishing a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Adam was working full-time so he valued the ability to study law part-time. As he explains, “It wasn’t an option to study full-time, but I was keen to work towards qualifying as a lawyer as soon as possible as I am always conscious of the fact that I’m starting a career in law quite late compared to many. The OU has a reputation of being the best place for part-time study and the flexibility of the courses meant that I could study two at once during my Bachelor of Laws and finished it about a year earlier than anticipated. This ultimately brings me a year closer to starting work as a lawyer.”
Adam achieved a First Class (Hons) Bachelor of Laws and has now successfully secured a training contract with the Government Legal Service, starting in September 2014. “It’s a fantastic opportunity as it showed me that my route to qualifying as a solicitor is assured – assuming that I don’t mess anything up along the way! The Government Legal Service does a wide variety of unique work so it’s difficult to know what my role will end up being there. Ultimately, I am hoping to use the experience to pursue a judicial appointment, but that’s a long way off.”
Like many OU Law students Adam required dedication and discipline to complete his law degree, often working into the small hours to complete his studies. Adam found that “having regular tutorials was a great way to meet fellow students. It was an enormous help to know that others were in the same position as me, and to commiserate with them about the demands of the course and the dread of the next set of exams!”
Adam doesn’t consider himself a “typical” law student and attributes his academic and professional development to studying with the OULS. “I grew up on council estates, and my parents are not themselves professionals. I am enormously proud and privileged to have had the opportunity to follow my ambition of qualifying as a lawyer. I don’t think it would have been possible without the access to further education that the OULS provides to students.”
Commenting on his award Adam said:
“I’m genuinely surprised to have received the award for Law Student of the Year 2013 because I’ve never considered myself to be an exceptional student. I scraped by in my GCSEs and dropped out of my A-Levels in the second year. Back then, I didn’t consider myself as particularly academic and it was only after enrolling on the Bachelor of Laws that I realised how much I enjoy studying. It’s wonderful to receive an award for working towards something you are so passionate about.”
Reflecting on the evening and when asked what advice she would offer those who are considering and those who are new to the legal profession, Professor Blair said:
“The most important thing for all law students is to focus on achieving an excellent qualification and evidencing your dedication to academic studies and passion for law. I think that The Open University Law School students face a unique challenge: managing the demands of studying law with the pressures of their professional and personal lives in an amazing achievement.
“I would like to congratulate Adam for achieving The Open University Law Student of the Year 2013 and wish him every success in his career in the legal profession.”