Future Lawyer Blog

National Law Student Forum round-up – Ghazi AbuYounis

National Law Students Forum - thanks to HEA for image

My name is Ghazi AbuYounis, I’m the LLB2 Student Rep. I was elected by Margaret Carran (LLB Program Director) to represent the City Law School at the National Law Student Forum (NLSF) hosted by Nottingham Law School (NLS).

The Forum takes place annually, and gathers LLB undergraduates from various UK Universities. It aims to improve the student’s legal learning experience.

At the first session, we were introduced to the team running the UK Legal Education Network (UKLEN) which is a student-led organisation piloted to improve student commerciality and business knowledge for LLB undergraduates across the UK. All attendees were appointed UKLEN ambassadors. Therefore I will soon be working closely with the City Law School to implement UKLEN.

We then discussed with Martin Partington (Former Professor, Barrister, and Law Commissioner) whether our law schools are ‘fit for purpose’ i.e. answering whether we feel our law schools prepare us well for the profession. Although discussions ran subjectively, we tried creating an objective ground in answering what we think an ‘ideal’ Law School should focus on/contain. Slides available via Slideshare.

To complement this, we then evaluated with Sue Clarke and Andrew Slim (Career Advisors at the NLS) what employers look for and assessed whether our law schools provide us the support required. See their slides!

Our fourth session was delivered by Alison Bone (University of Brighton) and Erica Bone (HR Advisor -John Wiley & Sons Ltd) who took us further into the ‘employment’ sector and shared with us useful tips on how to draft our CVs, write our applications and prepare for interviews. This session was followed by a drinks reception and dinner where we sat with NLS Alumni who shared their experiences with us to further discuss whether law schools are fit for purpose. Check out the slides.

At dinner, I asked two qualified solicitors whether they think the law school they attended prepared them well for the profession they exercise day to day; and I was surprised to hear their mixed views -bearing in mind that they graduated from the same school. We realised that the student experience depends on the student’s own involvement in the opportunities provided by the school. Personally, I’m not one who signs-up for every event/opportunity, but I attend a fair number each year and unfortunately I’ve been witnessing a low student turn-out recently. This proved to be a cross-university issue, and the reasons behind that are quite uncertain. It might be that Universities do not provide opportunities which appeal to students. Therefore, I thought I can solve this for next year by gauging the recommendations of students to make them have a say in the events taking place and thus (hopefully) attract a majority.

Here's Superman's, but what's your law school's weakness? Credit: ZaCky

Also at the Forum, we realised every law school has its strengths and weaknesses. Speaking of the City Law School for example, our strength is Lawbore. I was happy to see students outside our university use it and recommend it to others; it makes us special.

Our second day started with a ‘negotiation’ session with Becky Huxley Binns. Her talk was great as she unravelled the secrets of effective communication. This was followed by the social networking session presented by Michael Bromby who concentrated on ‘modern recruiting’: he outlined that some employers search for candidate’s on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and might possibly use their findings as a guide to help in short-listing graduates. Many of us were surprised to know about this.

With regards to Twitter, Mr. Bromby provided us with advice on ‘who to follow to impress’. “Following” on Twitter is subscribing to another’s account where you receive their posted updates. Bromby strongly recommended following Lawbore which made us unique aside other universities.

The third session was presented by Dr. Jane Ching (a member of the Research Team at the Legal Education and Training Review). We were asked to identify the flaws in the current legal qualification route and to come-up with alternative routes, which we think best favour individuals within the system: students/graduates, employers, and universities. It was interesting to see the varying ideas as it indicates that the current system is in need of reform.

The last session was presented by Jeremy Robson who tested our advocacy skills. Mr. Robson assigned us a cross-examination exercise which was both useful and entertaining.

Lastly, I learned a lot from the Forum, and I hope to use the ideas I gathered from other students from different universities to further improve our learning experience at City.

Have a great summer!

See more photos of the event.

Thanks to Ghazi AbuYounis for this great write-up of the Forum, Ghazi will be entering the final year of his LLB at City in September 2012.

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