In 2021 we announced that Jodie Proctor had been awarded the Daniel Turnbull Scholarship, offered to an individual who is disabled as defined under the Equality Act 2010 to complete the LPC at any of the University of Law’s campuses.
We are pleased that Jodie has now completed her studies, and graduated from the University of Law (University of Sheffield Campus) with the LPC and the LLM in Professional Legal Practice.
More about Jodie
Jodie completed her qualifying law degree at Durham University in 2020, graduating with upper second class honours. She has hypermobility syndrome, which affects her hands, knees, hips, back and ankles. Because of this, she is unable to complete handwritten work and must instead use a computer for writing tasks, including exams.
In her dissertation, Jodie explored the unfair treatment of minority groups within the legal system and issues of prejudice due to a lack of clarity in the law. Beyond her studies, she co-founded the Durham Family Law Network, acting as treasurer and organising events in coordination with the university’s pro bono society.
We spoke to Jodie about what the scholarship meant for her, and her future plans.
What first motivated you to study law?
Part of the reason is one of the more clichéd answers for law students – I had always been interested in crime documentaries and TV shows. Although they are not always a true depiction of the law in reality, those are what first sparked my interest in law as a subject. However, this interest became more a reality when some of my family members were part of divorce and child arrangements proceedings. I also had close friends who were in the care system and witnessing how the legal system affected them personally made me want to start a career in law.
I then studied Law at college. It was there that my law tutors encouraged me to start my journey into the legal profession as they believed that it would be a good fit for me. Thanks to their help and encouragement I was then able to secure a week’s work experience at Symes Bains Broomer Solicitors and this is what finally made me realise that I would want to be a solicitor in the future.
It is all these experiences combined that motivated and guided me into studying law.
What did the Daniel Turnbull Scholarship mean for you and your studies?
The scholarship gave me the financial stability I needed to be able to focus solely on my studies and not have to juggle a full time job alongside them. Without the tremendous support from Stewarts and the scholarship, I do not believe that I could have achieved what I did in my LPC LLM.
The scholarship allowed me to have extra free time to fill with extra-curricular activities and social events which would have otherwise been occupied with work. I would have missed out on the tremendous experience of attending the West Yorkshire Family Justice Board’s conference on domestic abuse, and would not have had the time to be part of the pro bono mentorship scheme where I was fortunate enough to be paired with a Mental Health Solicitor who was a tremendous help in my studies and search for a training contract.
The scholarship also provided me with the confidence that disabled students, and lawyers, can and will be respected in the legal profession. My experiences with my studies and work have not always been positive, so it was refreshing to see that, despite certain stereotypes or lack of understanding, there are people who will embrace and support those with a disability. This is particularly important to me as someone with a hidden disability who struggles to get people to see my disability for what it is instead of how I appear to be presenting.
How has completing the LPC shaped your perspective of the law?
Completing the LPC has given me a new view on the legal system. It has allowed me to explore new areas of law that I had not previously experienced such as immigration law. The LPC also allowed me to have a more realistic understanding of how the law affects day to day life as the LPC is taught in a much more practical manner compared to the LLB.
In particular, I focused on the new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 in my masters research report. This specifically opened my eyes up to how the law works in reality and how although the law has developed massively in recent years, there is still a way to go in improving it. This research built upon my knowledge of the potential prejudice in the legal system I discovered as part of my dissertation project in my LLB on radicalisation cases in the Family Courts.
My eyes were also opened to how the “traditional” means of working in law, as taught in the LPC LLM, are not ones which are always inclusive of disabled individuals. Completing the LPC has allowed me to have a new perspective on my search for work, focusing on how I would need to find a firm which both understands and supports those with a disability.
Which areas of law are you most interested in?
I have always had a passion for family law since my first work experience placement in 2017. This is a passion that has stayed with me and grown throughout my studies over the past six years, beginning with my studies at John Leggott College. I also began to develop an interest in real estate following my experience at Acis Group Limited in 2019.
However, I have also gained a strong interest in employment law, in particular cases that involve discrimination as it is something which I can personally relate to. The LPC allowed me to develop this interest through my studies along with giving me a new interest in wills and probate and immigration law.
What are your plans for the future?
Although I am still currently working in retail, I am very much still in the search of a training contract to hopefully fulfil my goal of becoming a solicitor in the future. I am also currently actively searching for roles within the legal profession to further expand my knowledge and experience – with a particular interest in roles associated with family, employment, wills and immigration law.
The Daniel Turnbull Scholarship
The Stewarts Foundation has set up an annual scholarship with The University of Law in memory of the firm’s partner Danny Turnbull who died in 2017. The scholarship will be awarded to an individual who is disabled, as defined under the Equality Act 2010, to undertake the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at any of the University of Law’s campuses.
Danny joined Stewarts as a paralegal in 2000, going on to qualify as a lawyer and then join the partnership in 2010 before his passing in 2017. He was a trustee for the Back Up Trust, a spinal cord injury charity that Stewarts has supported for many years. In November 2017, Danny posthumously received the David Norman Cup for an Inspirational Person with a spinal cord injury.
Dan Herman, a partner and close friend of Danny, said when the scholarship was first announced:
“Danny was a man whose determination and zest for life inspired everyone who met him, particularly those who, like him, had a spinal cord injury. He was also a terrific lawyer who spent many years working towards qualifying as a solicitor so that he could do even more to help people with spinal cord injuries.
“Following Danny’s passing, the trustees of the Stewarts Foundation decided to establish a scholarship in his memory to assist other disabled people realise their ambition of becoming a solicitor.”
To find out more about the Daniel Turnbull Memorial Scholarship and to apply, please visit the University of Law’s website here – University of Law’s Postgraduate Scholarships & Bursaries