Law not as glamorous as TV makes it look

Harriet Chebet Ng’ok.
Harriet Chebet Ng’ok is a former investment banker who works as a legal, finance and entrepreneurship consultant.

What is your alma mater?

I studied at the London School of Economics. At the time, I was simply looking for a good school in the United Kingdom and had selected a range on my UCAS  (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) application form.

Why did you opt to study law in London and not Kenya?

I actually studied law at the University of Nairobi for a year. This was my first choice after my KCSE. During the long break between KCSE and university, I pursued an International Baccalaureate diploma at St Mary’s school in Nairobi. It here that I was accepted into London School of Economics. While at University of Nairobi, campus was closed for an indefinite time and I decided to go on to London finish the course there.

Did you suffer culture shock?

It was interesting to find out that 90 per cent of my classmates were drawn from different nationalities. I felt rather lonely and perplexed initially, until I made friends. To date, I still value the friends I made in those early days. I also had trouble coping with the cold weather.

What are some of the misconceptions people have about law as a course?

Most people, probably from TV depictions, imagine law to be glamourous. The fact is that law involves mountains of paperwork and technical details for the most part. Depending on which country you live in, it can be a tedious process working your way through the legal system and its peculiarities.

What was your favourite and worst units?

My favourite unit was Jurisprudence, particularly Foucault’s Law and Power. I was fascinated with the theory and found it more of history than law -interesting stories of how people were governed in medieval times. Company Law, on the other hand was excessively technical, boring and repetitive for me.

Who was your favourite lecturer?

My favourite lecturer was Prof Damian Chalmers of European Union Law. I found him very accommodating and approachable.

Did you have side hustles?

Yes. I ran the Student Union Café during term time and managed the halls of residence during holidays when they were rented out.

How did you manage your finances?

It was quite simple as there was never any extra money to manage. You had to pay your rent up front and buy enough food to last you the week. You had to pack sandwiches to save lunch money. I also got free food working at the Café. You also needed to look for all kinds of discounts and deals when spending any money on entertainment. Having a student ID also gave you access to the same, including cheap tickets home.

Where did you hangout?

Anywhere in Covent Garden – Corks and Moonlighting.

Did you date in campus?

I did not – there was no time if you count class hours plus working. It was a serious competitive university and you would find students studying in the library from dawn to midnight. It was the kind of place where students would rip out pages from books to deny others the same information.

What are your best and worst moments in campus?

There was nothing I dreaded more than the outdoors inhospitable weather while nursing a flu. The highlight, as expected, was sitting outside with friends in the summer when it was warm.

Tips on studying abroad?

Stay focused. You are competing with people who have more resources. Make it worth your while.  

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