Name: Richard Yates
Degrees and Universities: Leeds University, LLB Law 3 year course. Legal practice course (LPC), Manchester Metropolitan University (so Richard could study while continuing his athletics training.)
Work Title: Paralegal at Myers Lister Price Solicitors in Altrincham.
Richard is currently the UK’s number one for the 400 metre hurdles.
Why did you decide on Law?
It is a challenging, respectable career path. A law degree provides you with many options; if you obtain a good degree classification you do not necessarily have to go down the
solicitor/office work role, there is the option of going into the police or several other avenues. I like to be involved in the quest to help people in the fight for what they perceive to be justice.
What do you actually do?
I currently have just finished the first year of my part-time LPC course at MMU while also working part-time at MLP solicitors and training almost full-time for the 400 hurdles. I was ranked sixteenth in the world last
year so training for this takes up a large amount of my time and involves a careful balancing process with my studying of the law. I had to defer part of my year one study at MMU so that I could go to Australia in February until April to train at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra where the climate and facilities are much better than over here.
What do you most enjoy about what you do and are there any downsides?
I enjoy my job at MLP solicitors because it is a very friendly, close-knit firm and they understand about my athletics commitments and do all they can to help me balance everything. The firm is particularly good because it specialises in a number of different areas of the law which allows me to experience different sectors before ultimately deciding which area to specialise in. I also find my job is a relaxing break from all of the hard training which I do and provides me with many of the necessary skills and attributes which are required to succeed in my studying of the LPC.
It can sometimes be very hard for me to balance all of my commitments. Due to my recent success in athletics I currently put my training at higher importance than my studying, so occasionally I can fall behind in various areas of the LPC. But my personal tutor and subject tutors are very understanding and do all that they can to help me catch up. I often get tired at work or when I am studying in the library due to my hectic lifestyle but I generally find that if I get enough sleep and rest, and sacrifice other things such as going out partying, I can cope ok.
What skills do you believe you need to succeed?
You need determination, a high work rate, and have to be able to keep calm under pressure. You need to work on good relationships with clients and other professionals in the workplace. Additional strengths include motivation, being able to work well under pressure and to strict deadlines.
What advice would you give other graduates wishing to come into Law?
Read up on the subject beforehand to ensure that it really interests you, and arrange some relevant work experience in multiple areas of the law if possible, as the studying you will do on the actual law degree is far different from what you will actually do in practice. Plan carefully as to which university you want to go to, don’t go there just because it is best for the law course but consider other factors such as sport, social life and location.