Law and History Personal Statement
Louis de Bernières writes in ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin' that history is fascinating 'because everything [is] connected to everything else in the most elaborate, devious and elegant ways'.
Perhaps this explains the importance of history in understanding the modern world; it governs the way in which we view society, dictates our actions and, perhaps most importantly, provides guidance to those who establish law. Precedent comes from history, and it dictates the laws of the present day. These reasons largely explain my interest in history and law.
Public speaking is a skill that I have been working on for many years, and I have participated in everything from school debates to Model United Nation conferences.
This developed my ability to deliver logical and coherent arguments, which is vital for history and law as they rely so deeply on a high level of articulacy and negotiation. I also work to expand my knowledge and understanding of the English language by reading articles from ‘History’ and ‘The Week’, which develops my awareness of current and past events.
One of my favourite works of historiography is `Lessons of History`. I am particularly interested with Durant’s suggestion that moral codes and laws have changed through time, and will continue to change as morals `adjust themselves to historical and environmental conditions`.
This link between morality and law appears tenuous in my favourite novel, 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The historical events confronted in this novel were brought about by the laws of Stalin’s regime. I am currently reading 'A People’s Tragedy' by Figes to improve my understanding of these events.
Reading texts such as these has helped me to improve my skill and understanding in English and History and I received awards in each subject at my school’s prize-giving ceremony in Year 12.
I was delighted to build on this platform of learning by achieving 100% in my AS History Paper 2. I found studying the political history of Britain in the 19th Century fascinating as it was the route whereby the laws were created that made Britain a democracy.
I have completed work experience at law firms three times over the recent years, twice in Scotland with Paull & Williamsons and once in Oman with Trowers & Hamlins.
I enjoyed both placements as I found the opportunity to compare Roman-inspired civil law and Sharia law fascinating. I have visited the courts several times to watch different cases including family settlement, business disputes and criminal charges.
These experiences helped me to understand the outworking of the law in practise. I enjoyed seeing how lawyers managed to articulate different arguments in engaging and eloquent ways.
At school, I study History, Geography and English Literature. I have enjoyed the opportunities that these subjects have provided to study independently, to participate in group discussions, and to read extensively around the various topics. These subjects have provided me with a platform to further my research at university.
For leisure, I enjoy scuba diving, for which I achieved the PADI Open Water qualification in 2008. I assist several times a week at the local primary school and play the violin; I was the leader of the Aberdeenshire Youth Orchestra. I am the editor of the Newsletter Committee at my school and a member of the Law Society.
I have been a delegate at an MUN conference, where I had to debate issues from different viewpoints. This helped me develop empathy, as it is vital in these subjects to look at different situations from another person’s point of view. I have spent the past few years in the Middle East, which has allowed me to experience a new culture and perspective.
This has improved my understanding of the world and my confidence, which will help me to settle into university life and pursue my ambition of becoming a lawyer.