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Case Study

Hannah Cullen

Middlesbrough, UK

LLB (Hons) Law

Hannah Cullen didn't get the results she had hoped for in her A-levels. She gave studying law a go at Sunderland but struggled with being a single mother and chose to work instead. Despite challenges, Hannah came back to University when COVID struck and graduated with a First-Class Honours in law.

To summarise my journey, I didn’t do amazingly in my A-levels. I started a foundation degree in law at Sunderland in 2013-2015 whilst working and raising my one-year-old as a single mum. I was raised in a low socio-economic area, and I'm the first generation in my family to attend university. When I met my now husband and had my daughter, I took a break from education and focused on working. When I decided to go back into education, Sunderland was a no brainer due to the support I had received previously. I enrolled onto the second year of the LLB. 

However, COVID hit and everything that could have possibly went wrong did. Despite the odds, as a working mum of two battling a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, I completed my LLB graduating with a First-Class Honours. I've just finished my LLM Legal practice with a distinction. I'm currently a paralegal in a fantastic firm and start my training contract in September. My aim is to qualify as a commercial property solicitor.

During my time at university, I was president of the Student Law Society. I helped raise money for LawWorks and we were granted an award at the House of Commons. I was marketing champion in the Law Clinic one year and then wellbeing and fundraising champion the next. We won academic society of the year from the SU while I was president. I secured a training contract with an amazing firm and I cannot credit University of Sunderland and the amazing staff enough for aiding me on my journey and getting me where I need in my career. The Disability Support Team were incredible too as they made a difficult journey a lot smoother.

The best thing about my course was the community and being surrounded by a group of like-minded people. Also the experienced and knowledgeable lecturers made the course really enjoyable as I have a keen interest in law. My experience in the Law Clinic gave me valuable skills that have helped me in my working life, such as client engagement, drafting, general day-to-day legal practice, as well as skills like networking and public speaking.

My advice to any students looking to study at Sunderland would be don't hesitate or put it off. Take advantage of all the extra curricular activities that the University has to offer. If I could sum up my time at Sunderland in one word it would be memorable. I'll never forget the time I spent here and although I was always looking towards exams being over, now that they are done, I will miss it.

Published 15 April 2024

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