Meet Jack: Psychology, lockdown and the @virlawnetwork
Hi I’m Jack, an upcoming final year Psychology undergraduate planning to convert to Law in my postgraduate studies. I run my own law blog & website @justicelawinsights, as well as heading @virlawnetwork with an amazing team of aspiring lawyers by my side.
My journey into law isn’t the typical story. I didn’t study it at school or university. I didn’t dream of being a lawyer when I was a child. I didn’t have any connections to the industry. What I did have was drive. I’m a person who would rather be overloaded with work to do, and under constant pressure, than have nothing going on. Even if challenging or making mistakes, these experiences give the opportunities to learn and improve yourself in the future. You’re always going to get further in life by chasing opportunities and trying to get engaged as best as you can. From a young age I always gravitated towards essay-based subjects where I could really expand on ideas and information. I really developed an interest in research, presentation, and analysis across my studies with subjects such as Psychology, Sociology, English Language & Literature, and Philosophy. Looking back, I credit my Philosophy studies a lot with how I've come to research and understand the law, as well as spotlighting my love for arguments! I never had any exposure to Law when deciding what I wanted to do at university, so it was never on my radar as a possibility. It was only after being halfway through my undergraduate degree in Psychology that I realised I wanted to pursue a legal career. I really enjoyed my subject and the opportunities I had arranged around it – but I felt like I needed an environment that was more stimulating and gave me access to more opportunities. I knew I was an incredibly motivated individual and that I would respond well in a competitive and modernising industry. After doing some research into the legal industry I was immediately hooked. I knew it was a path I wanted to go down and couldn’t wait to start my journey. It was one of those moments where everything just made sense, and it seemed like such an obvious choice that had been there all along for me! The start of my venture into law was quite strange due to COVID-19 having increased in severity and resultantly we were in a lockdown. University was closed and everyone found themselves shut inside. I made sure not to let this stop me however, I fully committed to finding as many online resources to expand my knowledge and ability as possible. This started off by just attending a few webinars, looking at various websites such as LawCareers.Net and Legal Cheek, and talking to friends who were law students. I wanted an outlet to share my experiences and that’s the main reason I started my law blog. Shortly after getting it going though, I realised there was so much more creating a law blog can actually do for you. I was constantly exposed to the newest updates and activities going on in the legal community. In order to naturally grow I had to be consistent and do my research. This coupled with all of the opportunities I found is what I think developed my awareness so quickly. After my university work and exams were finished, I essentially tried to treat each day as a normal working day. This was to get myself into a productive routine and encourage better workflow. I’ve found approaching the days in this way has made me get so much out of each one that passes. It’s important to try and give yourself a rest though, I’m definitely guilty of not ‘switching off’ and eventually feeling burned out. It’s crucial to recognise when to just call it a day, and acknowledge the work you’ve got done, in order for you to be productive the next day rather than having no energy left. The competitive nature of the legal industry makes it difficult to step away from work sometimes, but in the long-term having the ability to manage your plans and fit personal time in around work keeps you in the best place. One of the highlights of my virtual law experience was attending the Legal Cheek Virtual Vacation Scheme, which led to the creation of VirLaw Network. This was an idea to form a space where aspiring lawyers, regardless of background or barriers, could be given information and guidance to a variety of opportunities. It was much inspired by what I personally found challenging when trying to get into law. I was denied multiple opportunities purely because I wasn’t a law student, or didn’t qualify under certain criteria outside of my control. I’d seen how beneficial the internet was, and how online platforms could enable many people to access so much, and so created something out of it. My career plans are still quite open, as I’ve spoken with many professionals and heard them say how they ended up finding a vastly different career to the one they thought they’d be in. I planned to do a GDL, but with the new SQE introductions I’m waiting to see new information about SQE prep courses before deciding what path to go down. The deadlines and details for certain courses by providers are still being organised, and I have quite a bit of time before I will be enrolling. My takeaway tip for any aspiring lawyer is to be proactive – the opportunities won’t necessarily come to you and you have to be prepared to go out and find them. You have to do things that you might find really challenging or uncomfortable at first, but these develop you into a better individual, and they all start to add up in the eyes of recruiters. Best wishes to everyone in their career journeys, and please check out any of my projects to see if they can help you. Thank you! Jack Pink Instagram: @justicelawinsights & @virlawnetwork LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/jack-pink-a054181aa/ & https://www.linkedin.com/company/virlaw-network