Attorney General gives career talk to UCL Laws students
8 November 2023
Victoria Prentis KC MP, the Attorney General for England and Wales, talked to students at the UCL Faculty of Laws about the rich possibilities of a legal career and her nearly 20 years’ experience as a government lawyer.
Mrs Prentis, who has served as an MP since 2015, is the first ever Attorney General to have had a career in government as a lawyer. From 1997 to 2014 she worked for the Treasury Solicitors’ Department (now known as the Government Legal Department), providing advice on military, prisons and national security matters and representing the government in court.
She was welcomed to UCL by Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost, and Professor Eloise Scotford, Dean of UCL Faculty of Laws. During a talk to LLB and LLM Laws students, she discussed different routes into law and how the work of government lawyers impacts all aspects of public life.
The Attorney General then answered questions from law students on subjects ranging from the use of statutory instruments to the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Attorney General said: “Today there are many routes into law for aspiring legal professionals. Whether that’s in private practice or the public sector, the opportunities to practice the law are immense.
“It was an honour to visit the UCL Faculty of Laws, where I was able to endorse a rewarding and exciting career as a government lawyer. If you want to work on some of the most complex and sensitive legal issues of the day, then there is no better place to work than in the government – something I can personally vouch having spent close to 20 wonderful years as a government lawyer.”
Professor Scotford said: “We were privileged to host the Attorney General at UCL Laws today. Legal careers in government are at the centre of our commitment to, and conception of, the rule of law. Indeed, the legal profession is, at its core, a public service career. The Attorney General’s insights today have illuminated the invaluable work of the Government Legal Service for UCL’s talented lawyers of tomorrow.”
Paul Julian Holler, President of UCL Law Society, said “Learning about the Attorney General’s career path and, more generally, the work of the Government Legal Department was an enriching opportunity. On behalf of the UCL student body, I would like to express our gratitude to the Attorney General for the valuable insight she provided into her office's significant contributions to upholding the rule of law both nationally and internationally.”
Government is a popular route into law for UCL Laws graduates. The Government Legal Department, whose core purpose is to help the government to govern well and within the rule of law, employs more than 2,000 solicitors and barristers providing advice to central government departments.
Students at UCL Laws are offered a broad range of careers support, including advice on improving applications and enhancing CVs, practice interviews to help build confidence, and the opportunity to meet potential future employers at networking events and careers fairs.
Students are also encouraged to take part in pro bono opportunities, allowing them to put their knowledge and skills to practical use in the community and see how the law can be used as an effective instrument for social change.
- Top image: Professor Eloise Scotford, Dean of UCL Faculty of Laws; Victoria Prentis KC MP, Attorney General for England and Wales; Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost with UCL Laws students. Bottom: the Attorney General with Professor Scotford, Dr Spence. Credit: UCL / Rob Chadwick