Law Conversion Course enables Franco I Chung to change careerAs one door closes, another door opens: how LSBU is helping a former company director change career direction
When Franco I Chung decided to take a new career direction aged 41, the Law Conversion Course at LSBU was a natural choice. "With a mortgage and a three-year-old daughter, it was important to me that I got the best possible value from my education," says Franco. "LSBU was much more affordable than most other universities, which meant I could complete the course in one year rather than having to pay part-time fees over two years. It made a real difference. As a 41 year-old mature student, I didn't have time to waste so being able to afford to study in a single year was important to me."
Interest in law
Franco's interest in law stemmed from contractual difficulties he had encountered with the company he had founded. "I'd founded the business, an Apple Authorised Service Provider and accessory distributor, back in 2002," he says. "It was a small business offering support to companies that used Apple products – hardware, software, network, servers and web. We also performed warranty and out-of-warranty repairs on behalf of Apple, and had a number of contracts over the years with them. I didn't always read the contracts too closely, but in 2012 it became so restrictive that it stopped being a viable business."
Faced with rebuilding his career, Franco decided to pursue his interest in law. "It was a turning point for me, really. I'd always intended to take some kind of legal qualification, but when business was good, it slowly slipped down my list of priorities."
After some initial research, Franco was considering three different universities for his Law Conversion Course, but settled on LSBU after a meeting with Dr Mike Rodney. "I was impressed with the course content and the commitment of the staff, and I must say that the teaching has been great since I started," he says.
My degree has given me the right preparation for the Bar Professional Training Course, and the lecturers have been great
Franco I Chung
Student Law Society
To augment his learning, Franco has undertaken plenty of extra-curricular activities to help him, add valuable experience to his CV. "I joined the Student Law Society, and have enjoyed taking part in the mooting competitions that it organises," he says. "I reached the semi-final of an internal mooting competition and have taken part in external moots too, which all offers great experience and insight. I also took part in mooting competitions against other universities."
Quality guest speakers
Franco is also impressed with the quality of the guest speakers that LSBU attracts. "Professor Sarah Chandler has organised lots of interesting lunchtime speakers during the year, and there's always someone interesting visiting us to deliver a talk," he says. "I attended talks by Lady Hale and Andrew McFarlane amongst others. You can learn so much from their experiences and perspective."
Franco feels that LSBU has given him much more than an education, however. "During my time at LSBU I have made some fabulous new friends," he says. "Both academically and personally, I have been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people who have kindly, readily and happily supported me through the course. They've shared their knowledge with me, and given me some great opportunities along the way. One even became my sponsor for my baptism, which shows just how much I value the relationships that studying at LSBU has enabled me to build."
Looking to the future
As he looks to his future, Franco intends to put his linguistic skills – he also speaks Chinese – to good use. "I'm interested in criminal law and immigration law," he says, "but they are difficult areas to work in as they are both subject to heavy cuts. Many barristers have advised me to make the most of being bilingual, and to work in construction law or arbitration.
Whatever the future holds for him, Franco feels that LSBU has given him the solid foundations he needs to succeed. "My degree has given me the right preparation for the Bar Professional Training Course, and the lecturers have been great," he says. "LSBU deserves praise for making the course so affordable – it gives anyone with ambition the chance to succeed in life."