Daniel Charity

Daniel Charity

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in the city of Bath, in South-west England, and grew up in rural Wiltshire. I’m also half-Irish, so I spend quite a lot of time over in Ireland where I have many happy memories with family and friends. I’ve got quite a few hobbies - I’ve played the electric guitar for 10 years now, and I’m an avid football fan (Tottenham Hotspur).

What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?

I knew from quite early on that I wanted to grow up to be a lawyer - I’ve always been quite opinionated and up for a heated debate. When I realised I could do it alongside French at university I was very keen to keep my French going; I enjoyed it at school, and whenever I was on school trips or family holidays there I could get by quite well in French with native speakers.

Leeds really impressed me with its outward-looking attitude towards languages and study abroad. I definitely got the sense they were encouraging people to study abroad so that they could learn new skills, meet new people, grasp new opportunities; the School of Law's passion for other cultures was evident from the start, and that was really important to me.

What do you think of your course?

I would recommend it to anyone! Obviously it’s not easy, no good Law degree should be - but if you’re prepared to put in the work throughout the year, participate fully in your classes  and organise your time well, you’ll still have more than enough time to enjoy university life to the full!

Tell us about your year abroad.

The highlight for me has definitely been my year abroad. Living in Lyon in southern France for a year was something I never thought I’d get the chance to do, and I had the most incredible time there. The lovely weather, the skiing weekends, the delicious food and wine - so much to look back on, and so many memories! I met people there who I still meet up with now and I’m sure we’ll be lifelong friends. I wish I could do it all again!

How would you describe the guidance you've received?

I don’t think I would have enjoyed the experience as much without the support of my brilliant personal tutor. It’s great to have someone who sees you through the whole time you’re at Leeds, because you get to know each other well and my tutor really understands the way I think and work now. She also happens to be my dissertation supervisor this year, and I can tell she’s just as passionate about my work as I am. So much so that she once invited me into her office to discuss an important new High Court case - via Twitter!

How would you describe the facilities?

The resources you need to succeed in Law, such as textbooks or journal articles, are all easy to find in the University’s impressive libraries. I’ve never had any problem getting hold of books for research.

I’ve also been impressed with the sports facilities at Leeds. I played a lot of tennis in first and second year, and the courts were brilliant (weather-permitting). The Edge sports club is obviously state-of-the-art as well; I think it’s really important to get enough exercise at university, so you don’t get too consumed by your work.

Have you been granted any scholarships or won any awards?

I was awarded the Head of School’s prizes in Constitutional Law and French Law, for achieving the highest mark of my year. I was very proud to receive these awards from the Head of School, and happy that my hard work paid off.

Have you been involved in extra-curricular activities?

In first year I presented a radio show called Game, Set, Chat with a friend on Leeds Student Radio. It was great fun, I really enjoyed being in control of my own show and I think we did quite well at it!

Now I’m in final year, and my extra-curricular activities are more Law-focused. I’ve been writing for RightsInfo, a charity which promotes awareness of human rights laws through accurate, engaging, plain-English news reports. I’ve done quite a few articles for them now, and RightsInfo’s popularity is growing all the time. It’s a useful experience for me, because the emphasis is on clear written communication, and the ability to work independently - both really important skills for potential lawyers.

I’ve also been volunteering with the School of Law’s Legal Advice Clinic for Welfare Rights. Volunteers run one-to-one appointments with claimants applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The application is complex and daunting, especially for clients in vulnerable situations because of mental health problems or learning disabilities; as clinic workers, we help them with their application through our written and verbal communications skills, and try to make the experience as stress-free as possible for them. With the number of PIP claimants rising, and budgets falling, this service is vital to ensure that the people who need legal advice on their claims get the help they deserve.