Katie Watkins (LLB 2021)

Katie WatkinsI left school at 16 and although I went to college, it just wasn’t right for me so started full-time work at 17. I managed a successful career in IT Project Management and then in technology risk as well as being a Mum of three children.

Although I really enjoyed my work, I was always drawn to legal matters and in 2013 I volunteered to be a magistrate. In 2014 I was sworn in and started working in the criminal adult court, later on, I also joined the youth panel. Being a magistrate really filled a gap for me and I love every minute of sitting in court. I had never really given further education a second thought, I have professional qualifications, but my highest level of education was my GCSEs. A friend posted on their Facebook page that they were going to do a law degree at The University of Buckingham and my interest was piqued.

I met with James Slater and discussed the possibilities of whether I met the criteria and what it could mean for my career. It is my ultimate intention to become a judge or at least work full time in the courts… paid for a change! I got a place on the course and was the most nervous I’d ever been on that first day. Being on the part time course meant we were a very diverse range of students and luckily everyone else was as nervous as I was, I was most scared that I would be the oldest there… but I wasn’t, I met so many people who will be lifelong friends.

The course is tough, but there is so much help available and having a good group of friends is imperative. It was made even more difficult with the COVID-19 outbreak when everything went online and my support network felt even further away but the teaching and assessment regime adjusted to Covid and that was fantastic. I had no idea that law was so far-reaching, and I’ve found interest in areas I never even knew about.

I graduated with 1st Class Honours… Part of me still doesn’t know how, I used to think I wasn’t the clever one, I’m not studious. I was holding down a full-time job, managing a household, running a football club and volunteering as a magistrate but the topics were interesting and kept my attention and the lecturers were so helpful on topics that I couldn’t make head nor tail of. And determination and hard work paid off.

I am now looking to complete the SQE or LPC once I’ve had a small well-deserved break. I can honestly say that signing up for this course is the best thing I’ve ever done.