A young woman who was homeless while taking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) has secured a training contract at a firm with offices in London and Brighton.
April Britton, 22, was studying for the LPC in Bristol at BPP University when she began sleeping in her car after a breakdown in family relations.
Britton originally stayed in hotels and Airbnbs. However, ‘the costs really racked up’ and she ended up paying £15 a night to stay in ‘crack houses’. She then spent three months sleeping in her car.
Britton said: ‘I was sleeping in my car and trying to revise. All my books and folders were in my car. I had revision notes stuck up on my windows. I would go into McDonalds or Caffè Nero to brush my teeth before classes. I kept the whole thing a secret. I was a bit ashamed, a bit embarrassed.’
She added: ‘I lost a lot of weight because I wasn’t eating properly – I got down to about six and a half stone.’
Britton, who studied Law at Canterbury Christ Church University and achieved an A and two Bs at A Level, eventually told a tutor at BPP about her situation. The university put her in touch with homeless shelters and recommended she take a break from her studies.
Britton said: ‘It was just so challenging. You start to question whether you want to be a lawyer.’
However, Britton is now renting a flat and working as a paralegal at Britton & Time Solicitors in Brighton, where she will begin a training contract in October. The firm’s director Paul Britton – to whom she is not related – offered to interview her as she had done work experience at his previous firm.
April Britton said: ‘I am really grateful that he values my determination and hard work. He has given me a chance to make something of myself and prove that I will be a great lawyer.’
Britton will finish the final stage of the LPC in January.