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Aeon McFarlane

CertHE Legal Methods

Aeon had wanted to do a legal qualification for years before she found Birkbeck.

'I work as a freelance paralegal for a firm of solicitors, and for years I’d wanted to do a legal qualification but could never afford it. I’ve been working for the same firm for the last seven years but I didn’t think I had the right background to be able to do a legal course.

'One day in Stratford I saw some people leafleting for a Birkbeck open evening. I’ve got two kids and I thought I’m too old to go back to college, but when I found out that Birkbeck offers part-time evening courses for mature students I thought I’d go and have a look. As I needed no prior qualifications this course was perfect for me. I was getting a qualification, part-time evening study was really convenient for me, and I also liked the fact that I could complete the course in a year.

'When I came to Birkbeck, I hadn’t studied for a very long time, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to cope with it. At first I found writing essays very challenging and I didn’t know where to start. But I did some study skills courses at Birkbeck, which taught me how to analyse the question and structure an essay.

'I got to know my class well; there were people of all different ages and backgrounds, and all there for different reasons. Quite a few of us have gone on to do the LLB which was really nice. My tutors were very supportive and I could email them anytime I needed help. They recognised the fact that I was juggling a lot alongside my studies, and that I hadn’t studied for a long time.

'I thought the fees were very reasonable, but as I work freelance, my income isn’t guaranteed. I couldn’t manage all the fees so I applied to student finance and they paid a bit of it for me which was really great. The financial support I got from Birkbeck allowed me to do the course.
The certificate has already helped me with my job and I understand much more when I’m listening to legal arguments in court. It has also enabled me to apply to work for a human rights lawyer. The LLB will improve my job prospects further as it gives me more choice of where I can go with career.

'The course gave me a lot of confidence and I found it mentally stimulating - which was such a change from being a mum and doing my kids’ homework! It’s not easy, but I’ve enjoyed it because I’m doing what I want to do; it’s been the right time for me to study and I’m still at Birkbeck doing a part-time LLB. Birkbeck opened doors for me and has given me great confidence. I would definitely recommend people to come here – it’s been perfect for me!'

Find out more about our law and legal studies courses.

'The course gave me a lot of confidence.'