Andrea Hounto

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Law
Job title: Stagiaire
Subject of study: History & Politics
Year of graduation: 2016
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

European Court of Justice

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

After graduating from Exeter, I went on to do the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), which is also known as the law conversion course. I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from the law school (BPP), which covered the majority of my course fee. I then obtained a place on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and decided to do an integrated Master of Laws (LL.M) with it. Upon successful completion of the BPTC, I will be getting called to Bar of England and Wales in a few weeks’ time. I am currently undertaking a six-month internship at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, as the lucky recipient of the Hon. Sir Peter Bristow Scholarship. I was given this opportunity by my Inn of Court, who is funding me to be here. It is an amazing opportunity to develop both my legal experience and my language skills (French).

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I chose this career because I am passionate about speaking up for those who are unable to speak for themselves; for the rights of all who are destitute. I want to be an advocate for the vulnerable and marginalised, those who are often overlooked by our legal system. What I enjoy most about my work is knowing that I am using my skills to impact lives in a positive way and bring hope to those who may have lost it.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

What I enjoyed most about Exeter was the atmosphere.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I chose to study at Exeter because it is a renowned Russel Group University, where I could see myself thriving. I knew that I would be challenged academically and pushed to be the best version of myself, in every way.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

My degree put me in good stead for career at the Bar in that, it developed my critical and lateral thinking skills. I particularly enjoyed writing my third-year dissertation titled: Is Margaret Thatcher the Ultimate Feminist Heroine?, which explored the significance of Margaret Thatcher’s election as prime minister. Due to the largely polarized opinions of Thatcher, I was required to extract objective facts from tendentious material; a skill which will be invaluable at the Bar. Academics aside, being president of the ACS society during my second year significantly boosted my confidence with regards to public speaking. Similarly, being BME Officer on the Liberation Committee in my third year gave me insight into what it means to advocate on behalf of a group of people and represent their interests.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

I would advise all current students who wish to pursue a career in law, regardless of whether they want to be a barrister or a solicitor, to start their research early. Try to find out what the difference between a barrister and a solicitor is as early as possible and then work towards building your experience in that field. Don’t worry too much about specialisms, just try to get whatever legal experience you can get your hands on. The more experience you have, the easier it will be for you to ascertain which areas of law you like and which areas you don’t like. I would also recommend applying for as many scholarships as possible to fund your legal studies (GDL, LPC, BPTC, LL.M etc.). Lastly, I would say: don’t let the statistics scare you. Yes, law is competitive. Yes, you will face rejection and bumps in the road. Yes, getting into a top firm or chambers is extremely difficult. However, as long as you are prepared to work hard to achieve your goals, there is no reason why you can’t do it. Be confident in your abilities!

What are your plans for the future?

When I return to the UK, I will be seeking to obtain pupillage in a London-based chambers, which is the final step to qualifying as a barrister. Ultimately, I am planning to become a human rights barrister and then qualify as a judge.

 

Similar Alumni

Richard Ive

Farrar’s Building. After leaving Exeter in September 2016, I moved to London to commence the law conversion course – the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). I completed this in June 2016. In September 2017, I commenced the BPTC – the Bar Course. I completed this in June 2018.

Jasmine Murphy

Gatehouse Chambers. After leaving Exeter in 1998 I undertook Bar School part time while working part time in London as a receptionist. In 2002 I obtained a pupillage at Hardwicke Building, following which I was offered a tenancy. I have practiced there (although we changed our name to Gatehouse Chambers in 2021) ever since and specialise in personal injury and professional negligence work.