Niall Pearson-Shaul, Year 13, has been conditionally offered a place to study law at Oxford University. He explains how this offer is a dream come true for him and how applying for law felt like the natural progression of his studies at Framlingham College as well as his propensity for debate.
“Anyone who knows me, will tell you, I’ve always had a thing about arguing and debating and always throw myself into things whenever I get the opportunities. Law felt like a natural progression of that,” says Niall, now in his final year at Framlingham College. He adds: “For me, Oxford was always an aspiration. There was a feeling that the top of my academic career would be going to Oxford and being in such a prestigious environment.”
Niall’s fascination with the law and current affairs began in his childhood, watching TV shows like Judge Judy and following the news agenda closely. As he has grown older, his interest in news and politics has only intensified. “I suppose I follow politics more strongly than I follow law,” he says. “But that’s because it’s far easier to know what’s going on, and what’s important, in politics. But often they are really intertwined. Like in the recent Prorogation Case. I was hugely into that.”
Niall is clear in his ambitions to be involved in Criminal Law and wants to work for the Crown Prosecution Service. He adds: “My long-term plans are very loosely structured. I get a lot of inspiration from Kier Starmer because he was a human rights lawyer and then joined the Crown Prosecution Service. I think he’s a good role model for me to have.”
Niall lived in Norfolk until he joined the school in 2016 and is grateful to the teachers and school environment that have nurtured his desire to pursue a legal career. He says: “I really appreciate the opportunities the school has given me. I’ve been able to do so much through the school. Everything that I have done has shaped me in some way, those experiences cannot be separated from the school. And I will forever be thankful for what Framlingham has given me.
“My greatest thanks to Mr Goldsmith who oversees all the applications to Oxbridge. He secured me a few practice interviews. And between those practice interviews, they were the real learning curve. It helped me get my mistakes out of the way early so I went into the actual interview in a stronger position.”
Niall needs three A grades to secure his place at Oxford and is expected to attain at least those grades, with several A* grades predicted. While Niall will have to wait until the summer to know for sure that he will be attending Oxford University from September, he has clear advice for those who may be considering applying to Cambridge or Oxford: “’Go for it’ is my message. There is nothing to lose. If you think you’ve got the application, then go for it. You can do it.”