Author - gregorysmith

Idealism…..Where has it gone?

Intro

This blog post shall primarily be an honest and open piece focusing on idealism but also on the sad realization of reality and the annoying moment when someone tells you NO!

As a premise to this blog – I am currently writing this blog at 4.03am (insomniac), I have just watched three films (two of which I can recommend) and I had this sudden urge to announce what I shall dedicate my life to. I would like to say that I am very lucky to know what I want to do with my life and if you see me in 10 years working in some small corporate firm earning money just for the sake of earning money – Please feel free to shoot me!

I’m about to turn 21 – How can I possibly know what I want to do with myself you ask? 

It’s because I’m honest enough to admit I’m idealistic, I often cite that I want to change the world which is often met with snorty derision and countless pairs of eyes taking a spin.

But when you think about it – would you really want to live in a world where people stopped wanting to change the world for the better?

If you go back do you really think that Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa honestly thought they’d be seen as International icons of equality and protectors of Civil Rights? OF COURSE NOT!

I would like to point out that in no way am I arrogant enough to consider myself anywhere near as brilliant and visionary as these legendary people but my point is….It Only Takes One Person! Why can’t it be you and we are in no way in a state of being where everyone is protected or equal.

Why me?
Why the Hell Not? There is no criteria for people who change the world, or is there? I’m gonna quickly Google – Just Google’d and nope, still no criteria which you must meet before you are allowed to change the world so I’m still okay to continue my plans.

So what do you want to do? 

The last time I read there still remains over 80 Countries (not sure if this is U.N or Commonwealth) and at least five countries where Homosexuality is Punishable by DEATH! I mean, in the 21st century you can still be killed if you’re a man who loves a man!

So I plan to dedicate to my life to Removing the Death Penalty in Countries where it is still punishable by Death!

I recently met a truly inspirational barrister at the 11th Annual Stonewall Lecture: From Silence To Safety: Protecting the gay refugee and the lecture was brilliant – it certainly helped me realize what I want to do – he does some amazing work protecting gay asylum seekers in this country which included the groundbreaking decision in HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department. (Read the case)

Apparently, it is the second time of the supreme court (and i think including H of L) where the judgement was met with applause! (Little fun fact for you)

This case was revolutionary in changing the law – so if this man can change the law in this country – why can’t I change the law in other countries?

Before attending this lecture I read the No Going Back report also published by Stonewall which detailed the appalling treatment of gay refugees by the UK Border Agency so we are far from equal or free in this country? What’s worse, the treatment of LGBT people in these countries is often unseen, accepted by communities merely because of social attitudes and unjust laws.

 

What Next?

Well I’m currently a second year LL.B student, so still have somewhere to go before being in a position to do this but I have a plan –

If all goes to plan, my dissertation will exactly be on this topic – gives me a great chance to further research the area and it actually counts towards my degree…Couldn’t think of a better thing to research tbh. I’ve found an  internship with Asociación Entre Amigos working in their Anti-Homophobia Legal Clinic in which they promote better social attitudes, change policy and advance equality.  I then hope to pursue the American Civil Liberties Union as an LGBT paralegal and subsequently apply to Columbia University for their Human Rights Masters Program, but I’ll need the LL.M fellowship to do this as I couldn’t really afford $75,000.

It’s then flying back to Home Soil where hopefully I can begin a career with the Human Rights Dignitary Trust and completing the BPTC part time, being called to the Bar and securing Pupillage.

And during my practice at the Bar, I hope to gain international jurisdiction to understand foreign legal systems and to hopefully protect people on a larger scale – It then becomes a matter of lobbying, changing social attitudes and changing the law.

And hopefully the day will come where Iran, Mauritania, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen will renounce their death penalties.

Oh Don’t forget, I also wanna get married during all of this and raise children – Busy Busy Life indeed!

Wish me Luck!

 

 

 

Undergraduate Advocacy – Bored of Mooting??

About time for another entry….

Hello everyone, firstly I would like to apologise (you have no idea how many times I do that in my blogs) for the lateness of another blog entry. Second year LL.B certainly takes the wind out of you compared to first year. I have certainly found that this year is far more intensive and plus I’m doing some serious bitchy modules – Land, Equity, Criminal and Commercial….I’m not gonna love this year!

So whilst juggling a degree, part time job, columnist, bar society president and repping for national student pride, trying to upload a blog entry can be difficult, so I thought I would treat myself on a Friday night, and hopefully my readers to another blog entry.

Changing the face of undergraduate advocacy….

This blog post will give me a chance to really document why and what I’m doing with Mock Trials, in the execution of this project I’ve not really had a moment to stop and really think.

So, everyone heard of mooting? Yes? Good. Talking and tweeting last year, it is of the opinion of many students and many professionals that they find mooting completely boring, actually one consenting opinion came from the lecturer who judged my moot first year, which I thought was charming.

Everyone I spoke to thought that mock trials gave a more realistic application of the law, they found it more enjoyable and far more engaging, and they thought it strengthened a student’s advocacy skills far greater than that of mooting…so.

I went looking for a mock trial competition at undergraduate level, I assumed there had to be something as there are hundreds of mooting competitions. Do you know what I found?

NOTHING!!!
There was not one single intra-university mock trial competition in the United Kingdom and this is what I seek to rectify this year and the next.

I plan to execute the first intra-university mock trial competition that this country has seen and potentially change the face of undergraduate advocacy and hopefully improve the prospects of undergraduate students seeking a career at the bar.

How?

Well in my capacity as Bar Society President, I created a training program specifically targeted at mock trials and involve such training sessions as introduction to court language and introduction to examination in chief and cross examination. Both actually running this Monday and Tuesday.

The trial papers, training materials and assessment grids have all been commissioned by me and now ready to use this year. So I thought why can’t I get other universities involved.

So I got tweeting, emailing and eventually this lead to me being appointed as President of the Bar Society, a UK Law Students Association Liaison officer which brought me into direct access with every Law Society President in the country. I confirmed my 10th University this morning.

So effectively, I have planned 10 intra-university mock trials this year, I had to see if the program could run effectively before initiating it as a mock trial competition, which I hope will run in proper competition format next year. I have already begun to plan dates and venues. I’m hoping the Royal Courts of Justice or the Supreme Court can host the finals next year in the second semester.

What Next?

Well, my current plans relate to finding professional accreditation and support from Inns of Court, Chambers and Solicitors Firms, a program such as this is not going to be cheap to execute and I’m hoping that I can get some substantial sponsorship sorted so awards can be granted.

I’m hoping to establish regional heats so not everyone has to travel to Swansea to participate and I doubt my law school or Barrister’s involved in the program could accommodate the workload, so I’m hoping to establish regional liaison universities whereby they can host a mock trial, get a participating Barrister or Judge to judge it and then record the scores of the winning team – each region then will enter 1 team into the semi finals – to be held in London.

The two winning teams will  then progress to the finals and the winning team will then walk away with a cash prize.

Of course, saying it and doing it are two completely different things, this program needs to be advertised and I’m hoping that many legal publications such as the solicitors’ journal and young lawyer magazine could advertise it to build interest.

What I didn’t anticipate…

I didn’t anticipate the amount of involvement from different universities this year and I now have to start seriously considering the plan for next semester. I need to see if it works before approaching firms and although this year has barely begun, I feel like I’m running out of time to organise such an endeavour.

I would like to thank everyone for reading, the above post was a chance for me to really get things of my chest and to formulate a plan in my head. I know its a bit scrambled but I hope it was readable.

If any university would like to enter, please feel free to email me at [email protected] or I believe my twitter is linked to this blog.

Kindest Regards,

Gregory W Smith

 

Answering a Question – Intellectual Interests

Hello Everyone, 

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read all the blog posts made on StudyingLaw, I think I can speak for all of us that do that we write these blogs purely for altruistic purpose and we want people to learn something from them, or seek refuge in them that you indeed are not alone! There are hundreds of us pursuing those elusive Pupillages and Training Contracts.

This Blog post is somewhat unorthodox in that it is merely a reply to a question posted on my first blog, I thought it might be of interest to others with an interest in Intellectual Property and other Intellectual Law

This was the question?

“I’d like to know more about your interest in “trolling”, why is this a focus for you? I’ve heard about it, but didn’t realize it had a legal side to it.” 

 

I believe Trolling is an element of intellectual law, ideally I would love to practice Intellectual Property Law, as its one of the newest areas of law…It being so new leaves a lot of room for discovery and the opportunity to learn. I’m a not-so-secret academic and I would love to have something published in a legal journal one day!

The reason why Trolling is an interest is because it currently is one of the biggest growing viral crimes hitting the 21st century, and due to an ever growing demand on social media, not just by the common public but by companies and organisations, it is a worrying concern.

Passing legislation on trolling is a difficult issue, the rights of privacy need to be respected if not we may as well accept a true Big Brother world, hello 1984! But the rights of the person must also be protected…Which rights are more important? What powers are needed? Who should be given these powers? Are all questions of Law that need to be considered to ensure the right convictions are made and the right preventative measures are put in place.

Currently, Trolling convictions are difficult and sometimes misplaced, I believe, after in depth reading into many convictions, those convictions and sentences are undeserved, but nevertheless, the courts are keen to interpret the law to secure a conviction in order to show other “trollers” that it will not be legally tolerated.

Gone are the days that assault merely constituted a few violent words being exchanged by a spoken voice, can you feel imminent fear to something written on the internet.
Is that fear reasonable if the person is say on a different continent, for example, if I threatened to seriously harm someone in America, it is very unlikely that I will one day do so and therefore unreasonable that someone should still apprehend fear or imminent violence. But have I still committed assault?

Is trolling the new internet assault? How would you secure evidence to secure a conviction without breaching a person’s right to privacy or to undermine someone’s Article 2 ECHR rights of innocent until proven guilty? As, I do not think the Law stands to assume guilt before it is proven.

Kind Regards, Emma!

 

I do not admit to being an expert on intellectual property, far from it, I’ve actually never had a lecture on IP so it is strange to think that someone with no prior experience to have such an interest.

My interest peaked after watching “The Social Network” which involved many instances of Breach of IP law. Such a strange beginning, but interest in anything, including law need not be from some profound moment, and I urge students to find interest wherever it may be…as it is a common idea that the areas you find most interesting, are normally the areas you will excel in.
After watching the aforementioned film, I began looking for everything relating to IP to bolster my interest and improve my education, anything from newspaper clippings, trending articles, lexology updates etc.

If I could put that on my CV I would but I wouldn’t know how to put research on to my CV.

But learning these things will make networking easier, it will give you an intelligent opinion when talking to other professionals. Before any event I attend, I make it my mission to find out as much as I can about the guests and their practice areas in case the opportunity arises to talk to them.
Just think Anne Hathaway in Devil Wears Prada, just without the Valentino!

When I attended my mini pupillage, I researched every QC, Barrister and Pupil in the entire chambers in case I spoke to them, trust me, there were plenty of them around the coffee bar in the morning, and it is these semi-informal chances that really stick you in someone’s mind. You never know, that article in the guardian you read on the train whilst commuting may get you a business card!

Finishing… 

This blog post has ventured off into so many tangents and for that I apologise, but I do hope you have found it interesting and informative

I look forward to any and all comments!

Kindest Regards,
Gregory W Smith

A Little Hello…

Hello

I really only found the importance of blogging through the use of social media so it was quite a nice coincidence to have come across Studying Law.

My name is Greg and I’m starting the second year of my LL.B at Swansea University. But this is only the bare minimum of what I plan to do this year. As well as surviving hours of study in the library, I also write for another blog and a column in my University Newspaper.

I am also the President of Swansea University Bar Society and The Regional Rep for Wales for National Student Pride.

So from my very brief introduction, I am an extremely busy boy, but devil makes work for idle hands and idle minds…So I make sure to keep mine very busy.

The Future  

What would I like to do when I’m a barrister….Pretty much Everything.
I would love to be part of something that brought Equality Legislation to the Middle East, Africa or South America; any place that needed it to protect the LGBT population from persecution and execution.

I would love to research the law surrounding “Trolling” and help pass legislation that gave the right people the right powers to make convictions.

I would love to defend a case in front of the Supreme Court or the European Court of Justice and secretly I would love to be Prime Minister but I’m not Eton Boy, so that’s one pipe dream well and truly on the back burner.

But before I do any of this, let’s get a pupillage first!

Yes, I am an aspiring barrister, The Bar calls me far greater than that of a Training Contract and to be honest who doesn’t love those wigs! I have no idea why I have had this aspiration but its my aspiration and my dream so I wouldn’t know how to answer…”Why do you want to do Law”
I Hate that Question!

This Blog is gonna be a number of things, its gonna be my trials and tribulations during my second year, my successes and failures, some hints and tips I would like to share with other law students, my plans with the Bar Society and really anything else I find interesting when it comes to the law, learning the law and surviving the law.

One plan in motion for this blog is an interview with a Queer Theorist. he was amongst the Top 50 LGBT Twitter users of 2011 according to Pink news. (Number 26) and is a Reader in Law and Society at Sunderland University and I very much look forward to interviewing him!

Here is a link to his own personal blog if you fancied checking it out http://lawandsexuality.blogspot.co.uk/

Here is a quick photo to put a face to the blog.

Gregory W Smith >>>>> Not the most professional of Photos but It’s a face!
Fortunately, I have some photographer friends so may need to organise a professional photoshoot!

I will be uploading more photos as the year continues, photos from any society event and really anything exciting worth photographing!

I did see Lady Gaga on Sunday, but that isn’t technically Law Related.

Goodbye

I hope you enjoy my blog this year, I really want to make it as accessible and as readable as possible.

Please post any comments!

Gregory W Smith

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