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Knowledge Management Lawyer

All the expectations I had from the things which drew me to Leeds Trinity (its excellent reputation for teaching, its employability-focused approach, its ethos that students are known by name and not seen as a number, and the helpfulness of staff) were met by my experience there.

Why I chose to study at Leeds Trinity

Approximately 14 years into my career as a solicitor specialising in employment law, I was looking for a new challenge.  Through my career, and my own experiences as an employee, I’d developed an increased awareness and interest in the importance of psychology in an occupational context and took the decision to develop my career by gaining a deeper understanding of human behaviour. 

I started researching courses and the Psychology (Conversion) course appealed to me - as an introduction to a variety of psychological concepts, it was a course which could give me the foundation I was looking for, and helpfully also with the ability to continue a career in psychology if this is what I decided to do. 

During my research, I was impressed by the excellent reputation Leeds Trinity has for teaching, its employability-focused approach, its ethos that students are known by name and not seen as a number, and the helpfulness shown to me when I started enquiring about the course.  I was encouraged and reassured by this that Leeds Trinity was the appropriate choice for me to embark on my return to study as a mature student.

 Alison Heaton main image.

My best student memories

I really enjoyed the fun and interactive lessons, including the teaching styles, methods, and technological advances made for a very different learning experience to when I was a law student in the early 2000s! I am also fortunate to have made a number of good friends on the course, who I continue to be in touch with since finishing studying. Making friends, and the ability for us to provide each other with whatever support we needed to meet the demands of the course, significantly enhanced my student experience.

Graduation is also particularly memorable. I was really proud that my hard work had culminated in being awarded a distinction and the class prize, and graduation was the opportunity to celebrate my achievements with friends and family.

Skills gained on the course

Aside from the new knowledge gained about psychology from the academic perspective, the course helped me to learn a lot about myself.  For example, I started the course doubting my ability and being overly self-critical, but I gained confidence in my ability to achieve despite having stepped out of my comfort zone by returning to academia and a new subject.

I learned that I had the drive and motivation to commit to regular self-study and was able to adequately plan work and assignments.  In my career I’d been used to having a to do list where work activity was clearly defined and compulsory, and deadlines often short, so I was reassured that I was able to work effectively to long deadlines and where work activity was often self-directed. 

Enrolling on the course was uncharacteristically spontaneous for me, so I’ve learned that spontaneity is positive, and I shouldn’t always procrastinate over big decisions!

The course reinforced how I enjoy working with and being around other like-minded people in a work context, and made me realise that long periods of time working on my own (e.g. thesis time!) were difficult for me.  The course also helped me to shape decisions about my future career direction, making me ready to return to a professional workplace rather than continuing to study, or looking for home-based freelance work (both of which I had contemplated).

I learned that I was able to show resilience and actively manage the stressful times of the course, maintaining a work-life balance despite largely being in control of my own time. I found myself feeling very privileged that I was in a position to return to academia as a mature student, and approached the course with this mindset, eager to learn and maximise the opportunity I was being given. 

My career after graduating

I have been working as a knowledge management lawyer in an international law firm, providing professional support to a team of employment lawyers. Whilst I didn’t need the MSc qualification from this course for my new role, the academic learning and the confidence gained from my period of study have proved to be a great help.

My new role involves providing professional support to a team of employment lawyers, helping to improve their legal knowledge and keep up-to-date with employment law developments, as well as taking steps to improve individual and team efficiency and effectiveness.  Experience from the course has allowed me to bring a different perspective to the role rather than a purely legal one, combining my legal background with a now deeper understanding of human behaviour and personality.  This is helping me to shape and adapt my approach to communication, building relationships, and maximising learning, engagement, and motivation.  

My advice to prospective students

Do it!  It’s an excellent course, well taught by knowledgeable and approachable tutors, and highly enjoyable.  All the expectations I had from the things which drew me to Leeds Trinity (its excellent reputation for teaching, its employability-focused approach, its ethos that students are known by name and not seen as a number, and the helpfulness of staff) were met by my experience there.

That said, it’s hard work – there is lots to learn, lots to read, and plenty of assignments to work through, so don’t underestimate what’s involved and bear this in mind when considering how the course fits around other commitments.  A cliché but you really do get out what you put in, and hard work and dedication will serve well.