There comes a time in a youngster’s life when holding on to his parents’ hands and keeping cover in their shadows is no longer an option. One is expected to pull up his socks and embark on a voyage, an academic journey, which ultimately leads to the formation of one’s chosen profession. In Malta, this decision comes, in my opinion, at a rather premature stage, at the age of eighteen.
For some, the decision may be simple and straightforward. In a rather closely knit society like Malta, many of these decisions are driven by factors such as ‘what my father does and what his father did before him’. Thus, some pupils may have their life laid out for them, even before their conception. Then, there are those who start from scratch.
Being a long, stressful and hefty course, the law course might prima facie appear to be harder to reach than the Everest. For the minority, the law course is a back up plan, when all else fails, since the entry requirements are quite broad. In turn, a variety of students choose to turn to law just for the sake of getting a degree. Others are attracted to the prestigious title –Doctor of Laws –or perhaps the thought of wearing branded clothes and suits to work.
Following this decision, you step into this ‘new world’, expecting the unexpected. Going into the lecture hall is like a stampede of students, many eager to get the front seats and absorb all the knowledge the lecturer has to offer, laptops come out, making the student with paper and pen seem like the odd one out. With a student body of approximately 200 students, one on one attention from the lecturer is virtually impossible. The system in Malta follows a rather uptight top down approach; students as a general rule are at the receiving end, rendering participation minimal. However, lecturers are approachable and permit students to liaise with them via email or through meetings/tutorials aimed at clarifying queries. Being such a large group also allows students the opportunity to have a larger social group within which to mingle.
Thomas Mogford (who Lawbore interviewed in October last year) has made the longlist for the prestigious Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Dagger 2013. The CWA John Creasey Dagger is awarded for the year's best crime novel by a previously unpublished author.
Tom's first novel Shadow of the Rock is a crime thriller based in Gibraltar where the book's central character, tax lawyer Spike Sanguinetti, gets embroiled in a murder case whilst trying to save the accused, old friend Solomon.
Shadow of the Rock received much acclaim; described by The Times as 'evocative, engrossing and entertaining', Mogford's work has also been praised by William Boyd, author of Restless, Ordinary Thunderstorms and Waiting for Sunrise, as 'Very original … and brilliantly rendered … a rare and enviable talent'. Judges of the CWA John Creasey Dagger described Mogford's book as:
'Well written, beautifully crafted with a wonderful sense of place and voice. This fast moving adventure is more than just another accidental private investigator racing through an exotic landscape, this is a first-class thriller in which lawyer Spike discovers the underside of the Gibraltar dream and establishes a major new character in the criminal pantheon'.
Since writing Shadow of the Rock, Tom has also published the second in the Spike series, Sign of the Cross.
The inaugural edition of the City University Students' Union Law Society's magazine The Gavel has been published. Editor-in-Chief Jordan Shay explains its beginnings: "This publication was conceived with the belief that students should have access to a medium of sharing academic work that circumvents a curriculum or grading rubric".
Board of Editors includes:
Jordan Shay (Editor -in-Chief)
Mattia Banassi and Kamran Zaheer (Managing Editors)
Patrick Smith, Omar Joseph, Greg Weedon and Cody Moskovitz (Editors)
Justin Wong, Musawwar Alam, Nivetha Yogonathan, Eshver Singh, Nimra Ehsan, Veera Thakral and Tahsin Cashmawala (Committee Members)
All articles have been written by students at The City Law School and cover topical issues like squatters rights and regulation of online social media. Full article listing as follows:
Christopher Vallis - Marital Coercion: Obsolete in the 21st Century?
Eshver Soor - Sexual Assault in the Military: Why is the Law So Ineffective?
Myles Kaufman - Squatters and Finders: An examination of possession in English Property Law
Jack Schiffer and Miranda Meades - M & A in Germany for Anglo-Saxons
Mattia Benassi - "Une petition est un poeme, et un poeme est une petition": Why the USA is no Country of 'Poets'
Shrene Shergill - Regulating the Phenomenon of Online Social Media
Hayley Silvertown - A Law Degree with Nowhere to go
Nimra Ehsan - Miscarriages of Justice
Nivestha Yoganathan - The Diversity of the Judiciary
So you’ve recently graduated, or on the track to this year. You’ve studied law and are eager to get the ball rolling on your future career. Unfortunately, you’re entering into a level of competition in the work-place that is unrivalled by generations past. Nowadays, your CV needs to be perfect, concise, relevant and professional; but also engaging. You need qualifications alongside work experience, and most importantly, you need to spend the next few years working hard to secure the position you so desperately seek.
Tomorrow is promised to No-one!
Law is a very serious game, and too often those engaged in it forget that they are, in fact, not just a body of legal utility. The seriousness of the profession – the stress, the hard work – it can be a difficult thing to adjust to. Though, the rewards are certainly worth the toil, why don’t you weigh up your options and consider ways to get professional experience, life experience and qualifications all while utilising the most important characteristic freshest graduates have at their disposal: Youth.
International internships are a great way to fulfil all of the above criteria and have a great time in doing so! You can earn money, travel, meet new people and learn things about the world and yourself, whilst in the meantime still maintaining the thread you want to pursue in the future.
Many legal practices take on international interns, and, if you were to secure one you would have a stand-out, unique addition to your CV. Something that’s certain to put you ahead of the curve in the job market.
Now, don’t be fooled, an internship is not a free ticket to travelling abroad. They are hard work and can provide little in the way of immediate benefits. For example, The Hague is currently recruiting for a round of interns through a cross section of their legal departments. However, none are paid positions. The interns are informed from the beginning that they must meet all personal and financial requirements themselves. Moreover, accommodation is not provided, travel is not paid for and visas are requirements are the responsibility of the intern, not The Hague. However, thanks to the beauty that is the EU we can now travel freely through member countries, and take up residence and employment without the need for a visa or permit. So, whereas working at the Hague for free may sound like a bit of a raw deal, it is, in fact, a great opportunity for fresh graduates with a bit of money saved up to open their wings and get their first taste of a professional legal environment.
The student advisors involved in City Enterprise Services this year have been blogging to help others, kicking off their contributions during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Andria Alexandrou and Sidhant Sharma have put together some guidance pieces for The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME). Andria offers advice on Using Trademarks in the UK and Sidhant on Community Interest Companies.
The Prince's Initiative was established by HRH The Prince of Wales to help the over-50's get back into the labour market:
"...regaining the dignity of financial independence and the satisfaction of self-fulfilment by starting their own businesses"
City Enterprise Services is a legal advice clinic run by The City Law School, providing legal and business advice to small businesses and start-ups in the London area. Launched by senior lecturer David Collins and his colleague Eric Klotz, City Enterprise Services is staffed by students in the final year of their law degree. David was interviewed about the clinic for Lawbore over the summer.
I catch David Collins just as he returns from a month in Russia, teaching World Trade Organization (WTO) law to Masters students at the Pericles American Business and Legal Education Project. Russia joined the WTO whilst David was out there, and the majority of these students are working at law firms during the day and swotting up on this new area of law in the evenings. He also lectured at Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO) and gave a presentation on the WTO at the American Chamber of Commerce during his stay.
Exciting things have been happening at City this past year for students interested in combining the fields of law and business. David launched an advice clinic providing legal and business advice to small businesses and start-ups in the London area, along with his friend Eric Klotz. Eric, who gained a PhD in Chemistry before turning to law, did the GDL at City and now supports start-ups in Dublin with law and business advice.
Named City Enterprise Services, the clinic ran from January - April of this year on Tuesday evenings, and was staffed by City students who were supervised by professional advisors: solicitors, barristers, accountants and a funding expert. Students were given grounding in relevant law: commercial contracts, IP, employment and business planning. It was made possible thanks to funding from the HEA, and its success has meant that this year (2012-13) students will be able to complete a whole elective on the subject as a third year undergraduate or second year postgraduate LLB. Those on our GDL course will get the chance to volunteer at the clinic in term 2 of the academic year.
Feeedback for this year from the students was exceptional with comments like these:
“It gave me as a student the opportunity to gain some practical experience and interact with clients” and “excellent opportunity to learn and apply practical legal advice”
Two of our alumni have technology-led start-ups underway:
Lucy Sherwood, City alumni, has launched a brand-new CPD website, LawPod, with her co-founder Rob Bayne. Currently focused on Family Law, the site currently offers podcasts from a variety of family law practitioners but will be branching into other areas in the coming months.
Their launch on the 6th July 2012 was accompanied by the release of an exclusive interview with Mr Justice Ryder setting out the process and timetable for the Family Justice Modernisation Programme.
The changes brought about by the modernisation programme along with the family justice review constitute the most comprehensive and far reaching review of the family justice system since the Children Act 1989.
Mr. Justice Ryder comments: "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create and fashion a court in the image that you and I want. The vision we are developing of a new style of family justice is not only right for children, it reflects the public’s expectations of us."
The full interview with Mr Justice Ryder can be downloaded from www.lawpod.org
Lucy Sherwood, Co-Founder of LawPod commented: "LawPod has been created to make CPD learning more stimulating, topical and relevant for legal professionals. This interview with Mr Justice Ryder is a perfect example of our vision for CPD in the future."
STUDENTS NOTE! Rob and Lucy are happy to offer you access to LawPod content free of charge (full-time students only). Send them an email from your law school account with proof of your course start/end dates and all this premium content will be yours.
On 29th June 2012, one of our 2010-2012 cohort, Aurore Hochard, from the Graduate Entry LLB programme got the opportunity to present her new startup TaskHub to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson in French! The Mayor had come to officially open the Wayra Academy in London.
Aurore and her partner Rahul Ahuja were one of 16 companies selected (from 1031 entrants) to join the Wayra UK Academy at the end of May. Wayra described as 'the technology accelerator of O2's parent company Telefonica' by TheNextWeb will give the 16 selected teams office space and a fantastic support network of coaches, mentors and of course, technology for at least six-month period.
Taskhub is described by Aurore as "a buyer initiated peer-to-peer marketplace for services that will help create micro economies in communities across London and the rest of the UK soon after".
So has studying law been any use to Aurore with regards to this new direction in her life?
Although my experience as the COO of a start up and becoming a solicitor seem like 2 very different fields, I believe I would not be where I am today if I had not studied law at City. Thanks to all for your help, I have learnt how to read fast, be critical, analytical, concise and thorough and how to make connections in a very closed industry when I did not have any friend/parent solicitor who could help me.
There's a great feature on Wayra and some of the successful companies, including TaskHub, via TheNextWeb. Watch this space!