This new series of occasional pieces shows one of our lawbore team interviewing one of their peers at the City Law School. First up, Sarah Calder introduces us to one of her classmates on the GELLB programme, Nicholas Blaikie-Puk.
Nicholas Blaikie-Puk; a kind-hearted, approachable, and driven individual who has made his presence known in the 1st Year GELLB cohort. From planning Thursday night social gatherings with his peers and taking on multiple representative roles for both the Canadian and American Law Society and the GELLB 1st year program, Blaikie-Puk certainly has an ambitious stride. It’s apparent through his studies and his willingness and ability to take up a conversation with anyone, his social presence is publicly acknowledged and appreciated. Never fear to ask Blaikie-Puk a question, as he will always have an answer or be able to steer you in the appropriate direction!
Quick Fire Questions:
Leather Jackets or Jean Jackets?
Jean Jackets. You can wear a Canadian Suit, haha.
Beach or the Mountains?
I never have a good answer for this… Today I will say the mountains.
Computers or Paper?
Paper would be my preference. Computers are more practical… so computers.
Converse or Vans?
Converse! That one I don’t need to split the difference on.
Moving into Term 2, how has London and City, University of London been treating you? How have you been settling in?
I feel very settled. It’s going very well. I’m enjoying my time so far. I’m feeling optimistic about going into the new year.
It’s better than I expected in some ways, as expected in other ways, and challenging in ways I didn’t expect.
Prior to becoming a student at City, what does your previous academic background consist of?
After high school or since high school, I double majored in Anthropology and Political Science. During the pandemic I completed a Master of Information, and I did certifications between but those are the two main pillars before this.
Since graduating from the University of Toronto, in terms of employment what area or field of work has been a focus for you?
I would say sales and project management are the main areas of focus of my experience. I tried my hand at other things, but this is what the bulk of my experience is in… three years in sales and recruitment. Two years in project management.
With pursuing a career in Law, what was your driving force or motivation for doing so?
I’ve wanted to fulfill this desire for a long time and something I hadn’t necessarily acted on or scratched. In the year leading up to this program I did several internships in law firms. Many cold calls and I started to reach out to lawyers in my network and to talk to them about their experiences and I started to take it more seriously. Even since I was young, I really liked the idea of being a lawyer.
Do you have any inclination, or area of Law that you are keen on practicing?
I do. I’m particularly interested in different areas of International Law, Shipping, or Trade. Commercial work in international property, exchange of ideas and cultural artifacts and entertainment. If I were to eventually do that in the UK, it would be as a solicitor.
As a postgraduate student, any studying tips, and tricks that you would be willing to share?
Start early. Start often. I think that the hardest thing you can do for yourself where your only option is to cram and crunch. And the inverse, the best thing you can do for yourself is to restart, review, retry.
Lots of re’s, haha.
All the re’s
If you could, tell me about your experience of getting involved with Mooting? What did the preparation entail for the City Scholars Moot?
I attended the City Scholars Final at the beginning of the year with a few friends. I was both mesmerized and intimidated by the experience. And then sort of on a whim or with my group of friends we decided collectively to sign up and see where it went. It’s not the area of law I want to go into, but I think it’s a valuable and an experience to build. I’m open to the opportunity to try it and learn from it. I ran into the winner who won the City Scholars Final and learned even more and being able to share in that experience was something else. He was only a year above us and was in the same shoes just a year ago, which is something to think about.
What would you advise 1st year undergraduate and postgraduate students thinking about dipping their toes into the mooting world?
I would say don’t treat it like a test or an exam or a pass or fail experience but as a more long-drawn-out process of learning. And with trial and error sometimes the best learning you can make is from the mistakes you’ll never forget. And ideally you don’t ever make those same mistakes again, haha.
As a very involved individual in student affairs, what has your experience been like as a 1st year Canadian and American Law Society representative?
I felt very welcomed. The process has been entirely normal. City has a very large international cohort. Well, our program is sort of unusually high in terms of Canadians and people from that geographical area. There are many diverse groups and backgrounds, many thoughts, experiences, and perspectives.
Any events off the top of your head to note that are coming up for those wishing to or who have joined?
For the Student Union and Student Reps for the GE program the 1st and 2nd year there will be an event in early January… Also, for the panel on Environmental Law there will be a conference in April, anyone interested in Environmental or International Law or Public law should attend.
Being a Program Representative for the GELLB 1st year cohort, how has it been working with several peers from your classes?
I always find it fascinating and enjoyable to get to see my peers in different contexts, especially in different networking events or professional opportunities. Meeting with school staff and academics you get to see different facets of people’s personalities and abilities. You get to learn about their personal expertise, and it’s fun haha.
In terms of first year courses, and the material you’ve seen so far, what areas or subjects have you enjoyed learning about the most?
From the first term, surprisingly contract and tort are the most engaging and interesting to me. I find them practical and more immediately relevant in terms of the area of Law I am going into. This is the opposite of what I imagined! I thought criminal would be what got me most interested as its context and material appeared to be more engaging on the face of it.
Any idea of which modules you are wanting to take in 2nd year?
In terms of second term and what will be offered, I’m wanting to take International and Commercial modules, Media, and Entertainment law. And any opportunities to witness work with cross-borders.
Sarah Calder is a GELLB 1st Year Law Student at City, University of London. She graduated from the University of Lethbridge (in Canada) with an Honours BA in Sociology (2020). Her research and writing interests have stemmed from her work experience and academic studies: analyzing the politics of race and gender, looking at ableism and ableist practices, the ingrained effects of systemic and colonial oppression and the representation of marginalized groups and communities.
Sarah notes that in her new role as a Lawbore journalist, her aim is to “dissect these research areas and infuse them with a fresh legal and sociological perspective, as well as make my writing accessible and be an open platform of knowledge for The City student body and beyond”.