Alex: Poland, England, the LPC, LLM, GDL and a PhD
My decision to become a lawyer was made while watching ‘The Devil's Advocate’. I was 13 back then but already determined and quite certain about my future. My parents preferred medical studies, so you can imagine how miserable they have been from the beginning.
The first step in legal education were 5-year legal studies in Poland where I have obtained an international LLM title. You cannot compare Polish and English studies, for these are two different legal systems (civil and common law). Nevertheless, after studying in both systems I have to admit that Polish studies are more demanding – in one semester you can have up to 6 completely different modules, and not only you must pass the final exams, but also partial ones during tutorials. That system gave me a chance to gain knowledge in many commercial law modules, such as company law, insolvency law and even quite narrow ones like European company law. I have also started LLM programme at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, however I have not finished it (at least not yet!). I was the member of the Commercial Law Society at my university and participated in a commercial law seminar run by one of the Polish Supreme Court Justices.
During studies I worked full-time as a legal assistant for two different law firms (not at the same time). How did I manage to study law and have a full-time job? I was always a good student with a good retention of knowledge. As a classic bookworm I treat spending up to 16 hours a day in books and in front of my laptop like something normal.
After the graduation I started working for the civil appeal division of the Regional Court in my home city as a judicial assistant. Amazing experience that gave me a chance to be a part of decision-making process and be closer to real people and real cases. It makes you realize that each case is ‘the most important’, and as a lawyer, whether a paralegal or a judge, you need to respect that. I was on my way to become a judge.
Right now I am a career changer who will finish her GDL in July. I have always preferred civil modules over criminal ones, so my plan is to secure training contract with one of the bigger City law firms, because of their practice area, namely commercial law. I am also planning to start my LPC and PhD this autumn, as well as sit California bar exam next year.
I am the founder of fromlawyerslife.com and legal Instagram – mlle.lawyerette. The idea behind my social media is to motivate students by showing my journey, give them study tips, build their commercial awareness, but mostly to network. So far I have met many incredible people who keep me going.
The idea behind fromlawyerslife is to give students an insight into international opportunities waiting for them, and to remind that they are not alone – many of us have been in the same situation and might have similar experience. By facilitating communication my website gives them a chance to stay in touch with other students, graduates, and young practitioners who might provide them with advice regarding their career and study plans. Fromlawyerslife.com is in fact an international legal network with the aim to support its members.
Before undergraduate studies my greatest hobby was dance and I would love to do that again. Apart from that, I love reading (classic bookworm, mostly crime thrillers) and learn languages. I speak English, Polish, French, and German (though this one is rather rusty, for I use it only when spending time with my family, thus, maybe once a year).
In case of any questions, you can always catch me on my social media.
Alex (Ola) Nowicka LLM
University of Westminster