Alistair Green

North Walsham High School
5 A*s, 6 As

Paston
A Level: History, A; Law, A; Psychology; A
AS Level: English Literature and Language, B; Critical Thinking, B

Currently at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford; reading for BA in Law (Jurisprudence).

Who do you work for, and what projects have you been involved in?
Alongside my degree, I am Co-President of my College Law Society and negotiate with members of the legal profession to organise careers and social events. As an executive member of the Law Joint Consultative Committee, the body representing all undergraduate law students in Oxford, I liaise with other college delegates and senior members of the Law faculty, providing a voice for the St Anne’s lawyers.
I have also completed work experience at ‘Magic Circle’ City Law Firms, sitting with lawyers and working on deals that they were involved in. I have carried out a close analysis of a prospectus in order to complete a document comparison and conducted research in order to write a briefing note for a partner in preparation for a client meeting.

What is a ‘typical day’ like?
There is no typical day in the life of an Oxford law student. I can arrange my day as I wish but this typically involves a lot of reading! With a 2000-word essay to complete for each week’s tutorial it’s vital to read around the area of law in a textbook, primary cases and secondary articles. This information is fleshed out by (non-compulsory) lectures that I choose to attend. Tutorials are the place, with just one fellow student and a world-leading academic, to talk over my work and to ask about any issues I am unsure about.
In my spare time, I sing with the Chapel Choir of St John’s College at two services a week. As a lawyer, I often attend free dinners, hosted by law firms at restaurants in town. They typically send some alumni, and they’re a great way to find out about careers in an informal setting. The college coffee shop is the perfect place meet some friends for lunch and with plenty of bars and clubs around (including one in college) as well as cinemas, talks on all topics and concerts, evenings are never dull.

What did you study at Paston?
How did that course help you progress upon your career path?
I studied History, Law, Psychology, English Literature and Language and Critical Thinking. Law, although not a requirement for a Law degree, helped to introduce me to the area I wanted to study at university. My other subjects developed such skills as research and critical analysis as well as requiring academic writing, all essential competencies for a law degree and work as a lawyer.

What are the important skills you have had to develop and hone to be successful in your degree?
To be able to read vast quantities of information quickly whilst assimilating this and picking out the key points is crucial and this is the most important skill I’ve developed while at university. With the amount of academic writing I do, as well as often having to defend my position in tutorials, the ability to argue, both on paper and orally, is also important. The volume of work that I have to complete, often to tight deadlines, has also improved my organisation and time-management.
On the practical side, lawyers need to be able to communicate clearly and work seamlessly with others. These skills further the main ambition of practicing lawyers: to negotiate a compromise that best suits all the parties involved, not least your client!

Did you ever envisage doing this while you were at Paston?
I was perhaps unusual in knowing that I wanted to study and practice law from relatively early on (and before I came to Paston). However, I could never have envisaged studying at Oxford nor being able to successfully apply to and work for such prestigious law firms. I feel honoured to be in the position I am, and largely attribute this to the amount I grew, developed and matured over my two years at Paston. The people, both students and staff, I met are now friends and were invaluable in getting me to where I am today.

What do you plan on doing immediately after graduating?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority requires all graduates to sit the Legal Practice Course before they can practice in law. This postgraduate qualification lasts seven months immediately prior to starting a two-year training contract (like an apprenticeship) at a City Law Firm. I hope to do something interesting in the time between graduation and starting this, either a bit of travelling or working in the political sphere for a short time. In five years, I hope to be a qualified associate solicitor, living and working in London.

"I feel honoured to be in the position I am, and largely attribute this to the amount I grew, developed and matured over my two years at Paston. "