Essex Law Clinic: Alumni Profile – Thomas Russell

This article is an account of my time after graduation, peppered with brief advice, in case it may be helpful to you as you consider what to do next.

After a summer punctuated with pro bono work, I started an MA in Medical Law; an interest I developed after researching the law for a moot problem. I have found further legal study both enjoyable and rewarding. It can be a fantastic way to take your legal understanding to the next level. However, there is an important cautionary note: there will be a lot of reading. If the idea of working your way through a long case list or dense articles on theory fills you with dread, it might not be for you.

I knew I wanted to continue doing pro bono work so I started volunteering with King’s Legal Clinic and Z2K (a charity concerned with poverty and the social security system). I represent clients in the First-tier Tribunal who are appealing benefit decisions that reduce or remove their entitlement to a benefit. Working in the Essex Law Clinic gave me a fantastic foundation and I rely on the skills I developed in the work that I do.

While I’m far from the finished article, I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring some students. This has not only been of benefit to them (at least so they tell me), it has also helped me to reflect on what has and hasn’t worked as I progress my career. I would recommend it for both mentor and mentee as it can a useful way for both of you to focus on your career.

Looking ahead, thanks to the generosity of the Inner Temple I start the Bar Course in September and I shall continue doing all I can to pursue a career at the Bar.

Before I sign off, let me wish you the very best of luck with your studies and your future plans, and to give you one final piece of advice. In these final months of your degree, do as much as you can. There will never be an easier time than being an undergraduate!

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