London Connection Q&A: Andreia De Barros

Current LLB Student Andreia De Barros tells us about the decision to continue her education, getting a job to pay for it and plans for her future law firm
Current LLB Student Andreia De Barros
Andreia De Barros: "Learning motivates me on a daily basis and law definitely offered that challenge."
It can be hard at times balancing work and studying but I have managed to organize a schedule, which facilitates to keep everything in order. I must admit it doesn’t always run that smoothly, we're only humans at the end of the day and not super heroes

You were born in Madeira and moved to Jersey when you were nine; how difficult was it for you to adjust to a new place?
It was difficult in terms of the language barrier, as I didn’t know how to speak English. Luckily, I was still very young and I quickly adapted to the language. My class at Plat Douet school was very welcoming and supporting. In addition, I had private English lessons after school to help me develop my speaking skills.

At 16 you decided you wanted to take your A levels back in Madeira, why was that?
Leaving Madeira from such an early age left me with curiosity in regards to “what if” I had never left and “what would it have been like if I stayed”. Having friends and family also encouraged my decision.  

Due to the poor economy and lack of jobs you made another decision to return to Jersey to live with your parents. Did you feel somewhat disappointed in the plans you had thought would happen in Madeira?
To a certain extent I felt disappointed because I intended to go to University in Portugal and pursue my legal career from there onwards. After all there is no place like home and I can most certainly say that if I get the opportunity to return I wouldn’t think twice. 

You had thought about moving to the mainland to go to University, why didn’t this happen?
Moving to the mainland would have been too expensive for my parents, they couldn’t afford to pay for university fees plus accommodation/food/maintenance etc.

What attracted you to the University of London law degree?
A friend informed me about the programme, as she knew I was interested in law. I decided to enrol because it was in a perfect location and had a flexible programme, which would allow me to work in between lectures.

LLB Student Andreia De Barros

You say the area of law always fascinated you, how so?
From an early age I have always been a book nerd. Learning motivates me on a daily basis and law definitely offered that challenge.  

What are you enjoying about the degree so far?
I mostly enjoy learning about case law. I find it very amusing/fascinating that unthinkable “occurrences/stories” actually happen on a daily basis.

You started working part time to pay your fees, but this eventually became full time. How are you finding the work and study balance?
It can be hard at times balancing work and studying, but I have managed to organize a schedule which facilitates to keep everything in order. I must admit it doesn’t always run that smoothly, we're only humans at the end of the day and not super heroes (as I tend to think I can do anything and everything).

Do you think the cost of education made you question if you really wanted to pursue a degree?
It surely did, the high cost of fees influenced my decision to stay in Jersey. Had I gone to the mainland I would have been struggling to survive,  it would have been impossible for my parents to dispose that amount of money for maintenance, eventually I would have been encouraged to find a part-time job.

Your first job was with an offshore law firm, was it what you expected and what did the job entail?
I worked at Mourant Ozannes for a month through their student scheme. I was exposed to the Litigation department of which I assisted with daily administrative tasks: setting up meetings, organizing court bundles, dealing with confidential documents, scanning, dealing with incoming mail etc.

You are currently working with a law firm that deals with everything from property, trust, personal and risk dispute law. Is there a particular area of law that has started to interest you more?
I have started to sparkle an interest in the area of family law due to my people skills – as you tend to work more closely with the clients. I love dealing with peculiar matters and find it very interesting to deal with complicated circumstances (definitely keeps the brain cells working).

Do you intend to go into a legal career?
Yes, definitely. I am an analytical thinker and I love to learn. Law fits my personality because you never stop learning. I love that the relevance of books and research is crucial.

You went Euro-railing this summer. What was your favourite place?
My favourite places were Berlin, Turin and Barcelona. They were all very beautiful cities full of glowing energy.

You really enjoy travelling and discovering new places. What or where is on your bucket list?
I would love to travel South America before I embark on adventures around Asia.

Where would you like to be in five years time?
In five years time I would like to be a fully qualified family solicitor working towards building a career and law firm in Madeira along with my friend (she is in the process of completing her degree in Lisbon). We have both been fascinated with this dream for quite sometime and are willing to make it work. The areas we are thinking of offering would be family, probate and commercial.