Life after University
After completing my law degree at the University of Manchester in 2004, the pressure was on to decide which path I wanted to take: whether I wanted to be a barrister or a solicitor or whether I even wanted to pursue a career in law. However, the decision was not so tough for me as I had made my decision about the profession I wanted to go into when I was aged just 14. I knew I wanted to be a barrister and it was my love of advocacy that drew me to the profession.
A Pupillage in London
As soon as I finished my law degree, I applied to do the Bar Vocational Course (BVC - now the BPTC) at The Inns of Court School of Law in London (now The City Law School). Before I had completed my BVC, I had already been offered a pupillage at 14 Grays Inn Square. Based in the centre of London, this was a predominantly family law set with a strong reputation in all aspects of family law. As I knew how difficult it was – and still is – to obtain a pupillage, the assurance that I had already obtained a pupillage gave me an incentive to work even harder during the BVC.
Moving back North
The hustle and bustle and the fast pace of London life is something I will never forget. It was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and I feel it helped me to grow as an individual. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of living and working in London, I soon began to realize how increasingly expensive the city was. I decided to return to my hometown of Manchester and continue my career as a barrister there. In Manchester, I joined Kenworthy’s Chambers, one of the most sought after barrister’s chambers in the North of England and a leading set in Immigration and Asylum Law. I continued to practice in Family Law and also added Immigration and Asylum Law to my practice.
I had some publicity about these law summer schools recently - locations include: India, Switzerland and New York, USA. Please be aware there is a significant cost involved.
Several City students were based at Cardozo Law School last year here's what one of them had to say:
"I did the summer intensive programme on US Law at Cardozo last year in July. I'd highly recommend it to anyone willing to experience something different. We got to learn about the US constitutional law as well as other areas of law as it works in the US system. The classes used to be very interactive and it was enjoyable learning and exchanging views on different areas of law with the excellent and friendly tutors in a comfortable environment.
We used to have activities outside the classes on the weekends and on the tuesday evenings. In those trips we were taken to witness a court hearing, visited a law firm, went to the UN headquarters, had an audio tour at the Ground Zero where the Twin Towers used to be situated, went to the Statue of Liberty Island & the Ellis Island, went for a baseball match and also watched a theatre at the Broadway. Most evenings used to be free so we could do whatever we wanted to, rest, shop, eat(food there was delicious), go for a movie, visit some known places including the Empire State building or just roam around at the Times Square.
In the last two days, we did a mini intensive trial advocacy programme. I personally got to learn a lot from that and also thoroughly enjoyed it. At the end we were all certified following a closing dinner. Overall, it has been an incredible experience being there doing a law related programme in an amazing city like New York at a lovely Law school right on 5th Avenue. It has truly been an experience of a lifetime."
Priya Chowdhury, LLB student
Imagine being near the scene of a shooting; then being arrested for this shooting along with your significant other even though neither of you had anything to do with it. Now, imagine being kept apart and held on death row for these crimes for almost two decades without access to good or experienced legal representation or a fair trial.
Imagine hearing the news that your significant other has finally been executed and it has gone horrifically wrong and it is all over the news for your children to see. Now imagine that eventually justice is served and you are exonerated due to fresh evidence surfacing but your children, who were just babies when you were arrested, are now fully grown and want nothing to do with you. This horrific story is not one in a million it is just one variation on a theme that is typical throughout the American Justice System. It is not surprising that miscarriages of justice are rife in a legal system that sets targets and rewards for the police and prosecution for results
Sam Blom-Cooper kindly wrote a piece for the main Lawbore site back in 2004 about his 5 months at the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Centre; fighting for those on death row. It's such an interesting piece that I thought Future Lawyer readers would be pleased to have another chance to look at it, maybe get inspired to look at getting some legal experience further afield?
As a special treat you can also read Sam's article:
Lethal Indifference: Tinkering with the machinery of death
This was first published in Easter 2008 issue 44 of the Middle Templar, magazine of Middle Temple. Many thanks to both Sam and the Middle Templar for permission to republish this.
Sam completed his GDL at the City Law School in 2004, his BVC at BPP and has been a member at 25 Bedford Row since 2006. Check out his profile here.