Lucy Steven

Constituency Assistant to Member of Parliament

I graduated from Lancaster with a 2:1 in summer 2011. In addition to my academic studies, I was presented with so many other opportunities at Lancaster which have enabled me to become a well-rounded individual and develop skills that I now use on a daily basis in employment. I was Social Secretary for the Equestrian Club and Publicity Officer for the University Debating Society and competed for them at inter-varsity level on a regular basis. I went on to study the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at Nottingham Law School, however I left questioning whether a career as a practising Lawyer really was for me. Instead, I secured a job as a Mortgage Debt Adviser with the national housing and homelessness charity, Shelter. This involved advising and assisting clients who had fallen behind on their mortgage payments and were at risk of having their homes repossessed.

In August 2014 I was offered a job as a Housing Law Adviser in Shelter’s Sheffield office and moved from Leeds to take up my new post in October 2014. I advised local authorities, Citizens Advice Bureaux and small not-for –profits on all aspects of landlord and tenant law in this role. I enjoyed learning a new area of law and explaining it to clients however, I didn’t feel that I could progress any further in the legal world without getting a place to practice in Chambers. After a lot of thought, I decided that I needed to do something different.

I found my current role as Constituency Assistant to a Member of Parliament and have been in my current post for just over a month now. I handle Press engagement and social media for my MP, plan and run political campaigns, accompany my MP on his public engagements, organise fundraising and social events, co-ordinate volunteers, Chair meetings and carry out administrative work for the local Party Executive Committee.

The experience has also made me realise that not following the well-trodden path to being a practising lawyer absolutely does not make you a failure! Don’t feel obliged to do the LPC or BPTC just because “that’s what you do with a Law Degree.” You learn so many other skills that employers in other fields value, such as research, problem solving and being able to write clearly and concisely. Contrary to popular belief, careers these days rarely follow a straight path and you may have a number of careers before you find the right one.

I have always been very good at writing and I was able to develop my aptitude for research and writing throughout my degree. I recently accepted an offer of a place to study for an LLM in Diplomacy and International Law at Lancaster on a part time, distance learning basis, which I hope will help me to develop these skills further while deepening my knowledge of law and politics. I looked at applying to study my Masters at other Universities, but I really feel that my education is in good hands at Lancaster, so it was something of a “no brainer” to return for further postgraduate study. 

Going forward, I would like to stay in a Public Relations role and work towards Chartered status. The skills I developed during my degree such as arguing a point clearly and precisely and the ability to tgink analytically will definitely be useful in my future career. Law Firms and Barristers Chambers are increasingly run as businesses, which need to market themselves effectively, so I hope that I will be able to use my legal background and my newly acquired experience in campaigning to help law firms to build their reputations. I would also like to continue my political career, perhaps as a Councillor.