Ciara Ramsbottom BCL

Ciara Ramsbottom Graduate of the BCL (Law and Society)

Tell us why you chose the Bachelor of Civil Law (Law and Society)?

I can't remember the exact moment I decided I wanted to study law; I think it was more of a gradual realisation that it was what I wanted to do. During Transition Year in secondary school my class took part in a mock trial in the Criminal Courts of Justice and I remember being so enthralled by it - the courtroom, the advocacy element and even the preparation and build up for the day. That was the start of my realisation that I might be good at being either a solicitor or a barrister and then when I went into Leaving Certificate I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to do. 

I love helping people, researching and solving problems, all of which compliment my chosen career path of being a solicitor, so I think 17 year old me made the right decision when she put law in DCU on her CAO form. DCU appealed to me in particular because the course itself focuses on the interaction between law and society which sets it apart from other universities. DCU is also smaller which makes interactions with lecturers much easier and I found that to be really helpful all throughout my degree.

What are the highlights of your undergraduate experience at DCU?

During the third year of my degree, our year group was the first year of BCL students who were given the chance to take part in DCU's INTRA programme and that year was undoubtedly the highlight of my undergraduate experience. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made to take part in the programme and it has opened up so many doors and experiences for me. 

Outside of the INTRA, taking part in mooting throughout my undergraduate degree is something I will always be glad I did. Mooting allowed me to make friends, build my confidence and gave me a head start for my career. Taking part in the National Moot Court Competition with my mooting partner Conall and placing 2nd (beating Cambridge for a spot in the final) is one of those experiences that will stay with me forever.

What are your career plans or hopes?

Since graduating, I have completed my FE1 exams and spent a year working as a paralegal with the regional legal team in Google Ireland. I am now getting ready to begin training to qualify as a solicitor as on the back of gaining so much experience during my INTRA year, I was lucky enough to have been offered a training contract with A&L Goodbody (ALG) beginning in September 2022. I'm really looking forward to getting started with ALG and getting on the road to qualifying as a solicitor!

Have you any advice for incoming students? 

If you're planning on studying law in DCU, if you want to develop your legal advocacy and research skills, take part in mooting in college. DCU has a mandatory moot module and organises external competitions. During these competitions, you will meet barristers, solicitors and possibly have the chance to moot in front of Supreme Court judges and you will learn so much about yourself. It also looks great on your CV.

If you can do a work placement with your degree, DO IT! BCL in DCU now includes a built-in INTRA programme where you spend the 3rd year of your degree working in a company/firm. It was one of the best things I ever did and I would highly recommend it.

Outside of BCL, I would definitely recommend joining a club or society but don’t wait until final year to do it. It will open more doors than you could imagine and will help you to make friends. Nothing bad will come from it! You will get to meet people from outside of your course and you'll learn so much about yourself and other people.