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!
After completing my LLB at City University Law School - I decided that I was ready, willing and able to pursue my dream of being an entrepreneur. I therefore enrolled and completed my MSc Management degree at Cass Business School for what I like to think as a crash course in how to run a business.
Crucial to any business is that you are aware of the laws which affect your business, as well as how you are contractually protected when you enter into business transactions. So far in my experience of running my own business, the two sides of law which are the most crucial are contract and company and I suggest anyone who is looking to be involved in the business world should learn these two disciplines rigorously.
I use the skills which I inherited from my law degree on a regular basis. The crucial skill which you learn doing your LLB degree is to be clear and concise with your thoughts and to be able to easily persuade a reader of your argument.
This crucial skill aids you in marketing as you are able to frame the key points of your product or promotional material in a convincing way. On a day to day basis it allows you to compose well structured emails to business associates and clients, ensuring you sound well-educated and that you know exactly what you are talking about.
I completed my LLB at City in 2010. The intention was to go directly onto the BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course) but during my third year, I applied for a role as a duty adviser. Following that application, a steep learning curve acquiring relevant law and a six month wait, I was told there was one position available and I should come in for an interview. That interview ended up lasting all day! I shadowed a solicitor and a barrister whilst they carried out their duty advising and was lucky enough to be able to attend four hearings that day to observe. At the end of my rather long interview, I was told that I had the position.
Duty adviser roles are almost exclusively taken by those who already hold rights of audience (there's more about this later), and I do have to point out that I am quite a bit older than the usual LLB graduate and as a result of that I have a significant amount of relevant experience (and qualifications) that enabled me to take up the duty adviser role and cope with it immediately – i.e. to use a familiar vernacular, I was able to hit the ground running.
What does a duty adviser do?
The role involves interviewing clients, providing legal advice, guidance on possible defences, negotiating with the claimant and representing the client in front of a District Judge (on occasions cases being appealed are heard by a Circuit Judge). The service is only available to defendants in repossession hearings and only on the day of the hearing.
On the surface it may appear that the only knowledge one therefore requires is to do with repossessions, however, the clients come into the court with a variety of inter-connecting problems, many of which have legal repercussions and therefore a broad legal knowledge is required. I am frequently dealing with issues arising from debt, welfare benefits, divorce, child law, immigration, prison, occupation orders and so forth, alongside the obvious areas of law we use on a daily basis, e.g. Housing Acts, Mortgages (Protection from Eviction) Act and relevant case law relating to mortgages, repairs, illegal evictions and so on.
Are you frustrated with the whole process of training contracts applications and you don't even find the career in corporate firms appealing?
You don't want to be spending your evenings working at the office, but at the same time you want to have financial stability?
Then why don’t you give EU jobs a try, just as I did, and get to actually enjoy your career as a lawyer!
Working for the European Union institutions is not just a job; its a life experience. Since EU employees become the decision-makers of a union of 27 countries, the EU has developed a humanist approach towards its staff, enriching them with professional expertise and cultural stimulation. For me, working for the Legal Service of the Council of the EU, feels like being in a university campus. We are constantly offered a multitude of trainings, ranging from seminars on EU legislation procedure to workshops on specialized legal IT skills. Furthermore, we are entitled to free language courses throughout the year during work hours(!). Plus, we are constantly invited to various social events where you get the chance to meet EU key players, politicians and technocrats from all institutions like the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Court of Justice.
Still not tempted to work for the EU? What if I add that, the job package includes long holidays and a 9-5 working day, which allows us to balance work with our private lives and take on hobbies or go on exotic trips. When working for the EU, you get to not only have time but also the financial comfort to enjoy your days to the max.