Companions on a Serendipitous Journey

Date01 June 2017
AuthorNicola Lacey
Publication Date01 June 2017
ISSN: 0263-323X, pp. 283±96
Companions on a Serendipitous Journey
Nicola Lacey*
This article is a contribution to the occasional series dealing with
major books that have influenced the authors. Previous contributors
include Stewart Macaulay, John Griffith, William Twining, Carol
Harlow, Geoffrey Bindman, Harry Arthurs, Andre
Â-Jean Arnaud, Alan
Hunt, Michael Adler, Lawrence O. Gostin, John P. Heinz, Roger
Brownsword, and Roger Cotterrell.
It has not been the journey that I originally planned. During my schooldays,
my main intellectual love was of literature, and my imaginative world was
peopled by novels and poems. However, like many of my contemporaries in
an era of rapidly expanding higher education, I was the first of my family to
go to university, and my parents were keen that their only daughter should
have not only the educational opportunities which they had missed, but a
career which would guarantee her financial independence. Literature
definitely didn't fit the bill! I will never forget the look of steely deter-
mination which crossed my mother's face when one of my teachers
mentioned to her that the school regarded me as a good candidate for law. An
extended tussle ensued. I triumphed in round one, and applied to university to
read English. But I hadn't reckoned on my mother's stamina, and she gained
the day when I finally caved in under sustained pressure and changed my
application to law. I was thrilled to gain a place at UCL ± I could just about
manage the idea of being a lawyer as long as I could be in the big city . .. (I
grew up in a sleepy suburb). But some ambivalence about the subject choice
must have remained, and I duly hated my first term and tried desperately to
change courses. The English department at UCL decisively refused to
entertain an application to transfer. I didn't understand it at the time, but this
was the first of the many strokes of good luck which have helped to shape my
*London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton St, London
WC2A 2AE, England
ß2017 The Author. Journal of Law and Society ß2017 Cardiff University Law School

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