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Rachel Innes

From dancer and musician to professional martial artist, mum and even TV ad star … Rachel’s list of achievements was already impressive, but she dreamed of one day adding ‘lawyer’ into the mix as well. Thanks to The Open University, she’s well on her way.

“I’ve had a brilliant creative career in dance, music and martial arts, but I’ve also had a long-held dream of becoming a lawyer,” she said.

Not for the faint-hearted

Taekwondo martial artist Rachel – who has represented Great Britain in the sport – juggles a busy life running her own taekwondo school and parenting her three children. 

“Things are busy, but I decided it was important to follow my dream,” said Rachel. “The journey has not been for the faint-hearted, but I’ve done it!”

She signed up for the BA Honours Law LLB in October 2018, and proudly graduated with first-class honours in June 2021. During her studies, she got involved in the Open Justice Law Clinic (OJLC), giving free legal advice to members of the public under the supervision of qualified solicitors. She was delighted to receive the runners-up prize in the ‘Outstanding Individual Contribution’ in the Open Justice Awards 2021, part of the OU Law School’s annual Student Achievement Awards.

“Navigating full-time study, three children and a part-time taekwondo school means that my time management skills have needed to be fully operational at all times. There have been moments when I’ve definitely had to reinforce my desire to see things through to the end! This was particularly true during the pandemic,” said Rachel, who recently starred in a TV advert for E45.

With schools closed, Rachel found herself home-schooling each day and running her martial arts school during the afternoons, followed by doing her own studies from 7pm-3am … then waking at 7am the next morning ready to do it all again!

“I also had to support my students and family to stay strong during lockdown. It was all quite overwhelming but I had to stay committed to my degree. I am proud to say that, along with my fellow teammates in the OJLC, we made it to the end!” she said.

The future’s bright 

Having graduated, she is now studying for her LPC and Master’s degree at the University of Law in Guildford. She’s also added ‘writer’ to her seemingly never-ending list of talents, and is now doing some ghost writing work for a legal blog. This came about when she had a blog published on The Open University’s OJLC website, about her understanding of the value of pro bono work, titled ‘The best things in life are free’.

She said: “I get to write blogs which is a passion of mine and it also means I keep up to date with current legal topics such as the new no-fault divorce law.”

Rachel added of her Open University experience: “I cannot thank The Open University enough for creating this opportunity to study online and develop my full legal potential.”