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!

 

 

 

What you wont be prepared for studying law.

Hello, my freaky darlings.

this is my first post here, just wanted to say hello and that 🙂

Im currently in my second year of LLB law at university, its been awesome at times and absolutely soul destroying at others.

there are so many things i wasn’t prepared for, but id have loved to have been told about, and after asking a lot of people, some seem pretty common 🙂

so, for anyone in first year, or whos looking at law school, here are  the things i wish someone had sat me down about :

you may as well get your post forwarded to the library :  indeed, that place will be your home, canteen, bed, and torture chamber, all wrapped into one, book filled place. particularly around assignment time, its better than any social networking site known to mankind for bringing your entire course to one place. piece of advice : get the books you want quick, they go fast. also, the coffee in the vending machines, that black sludge with a caffeine content that would tarmac drives with ? it will be your new best friend by October. come Christmas, you wont even notice the taste.

you will make some awesome friends : i personally have met some incredible people on this course, and there’s no quicker bonding experience than hammering out an essay in the early hours and trying to make lord of the rings puns about the direct effect of EU directives. admittedly, if you’re like me and your family haven’t been solicitors and barristers since the dawn of time, you will feel a slight intimidation of those people. you’ll recognize them fast enough. advice : don’t get intimidated. just because mummy and daddy are successful doesn’t mean they know more than you.

your friends new favorite question will be ” is it legal …?” leading to hilarious, and often worrying, consequences that will cause you to wonder about what kind of people you associate with. my personal favorite is still ” if i kill someone using a metal bar, and then have to get home. will i be allowed to get on the bus with the bar?”. A quick answer, if you don’t know “if you have to ask, probably don’t try it”

you will never quite get the facts of certain cases out of your head : there are some cases that will burn and burrow their way into the deepest recesses of your soul, if not because they’re particularly vile, but you’ve studied it for so long now you can quote verbatim the judges decision. R v Brown, and R v Slingsby are my personal ones (which, considering the facts, says things about me im not willing to address), which leads to not being to look at an individual desk without wincing. awkward at exam times.

buy a good, strong bag. them law books are heavy! ive had three strap bags break under the weight of the law (i think im funny). also, your shoulders will hate you.

so thats it basically. im aware this seemed overwhelmingly negative, its not.  law school is interesting, even if its hard work. enjoy.

Mia.

European Union Legal Careers – Have you Considered them?

Found these two videos which could be pretty useful. It’s all about a career in the EU. Working for the EU of course sounds very interesting. But many students from the UK aren’t eligible because of the language requirements.

As part of the application process of working for the EU, you need to take a test in your second language. Therefore a strong grasp of one of the (non English) languages of the EU is essential. Depending on the role sometimes yet another language is required.

 

 

Some LLBs offer a year abroad with a combined language degree. This sounds like a seriously good idea for those who know they want to work for the EU.

But the problem is knowing you want a career in EU law from a young age and picking the subjects you take at college and university accordingly.

Other nationalities usually start learning another language from a young age. So many are fluent from very early on in life. Unfortunately in our education, unless languages is a real passion, you’re not going to know another language by the end of uni. So by the time you’re doing some proper thinking about your future career it could be too late.

So even if you love EU law, and were really good at it, if language wasn’t a passion of yours in earlier education you could be out of luck. This is really unfortunate. Ideally you’d want to know of your desire to work in EU law before college. But that’s virtually impossible. People don’t even know if they want to go to university at that stage!

Ahh well, if you’re passionate enough about it you can always learn a language in your spare time…

For more information go to http://europa.eu/epso/index_en.htm

What is the LPC Like?

A video about what it’s like to study the LPC at Sheffiled. Although other courses will be similar in regards to the modules which are taught, the teaching structure may be different. For example there may be more / less face to face teaching.

To know exactly what a certain course is going to be like, we strongly encourage you to go to an open day.

Allowing you to choose when you take the teaching does sound like a great idea. Especially if you’re a parent or have a part time job.

What is the GDL Like?

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a very intensive post graduate course. Watch this video from Northumbria Law to see what it’s like.

Find out a little bit about the course structure and the workload.

Transcript:
When I was looking for law school, I was looking for one that was known to be successful and had staff that were enthusiastic about what they did. A law school with really good links to local firms in thinking of them. I was looking for one that had a good reputation both with employees and with the students alike. I wanted to go somewhere where it was a good city to be in.

GDL stands for the Graduate Diploma in Law and it’s essentially a program that can be taken over one or two years. It allows you to get into a career as a solicitor or a barrister if you don’t have a traditional law degree in your background so anybody with any sort of degree can come onto the Graduate Diploma in Law and then go onto the LPC or the PTC.

I previously studied at Durham University and I did music degree with French.
I studied geography and Newcastle University.
I studied at the University of Leeds and I studied French and German.

I chose Northumbria because I already lived in the Northeast so it was just a brilliant location for me anyway and because it’s got a great reputation amongst all schools that offer it.

I chose to study the GDL at Northumbria it’s got a great reputation amongst the students in a great city and it has got fantastic facilities in this building.

It has a lot of computers so there is always a free computer and there’s a as a library as well which has a lot of resources.

Because you set out with seven different modules in the different areas of the law and then have a further area of law which is like a dissertation you have chance to go and explore the different areas that really interest you.

From September to November each subject has two lectures per week and then from November to the end of May it drops down to one lecture per subject per week. Running alongside we have 10 seminars per subject on a fortnightly cycle so every two weeks you have a seminar in each particular subject.

I really enjoy the seminars because they emphasize the practical application of the law often we’re given fictional scenarios which you could really imagine happening so we get to apply what we learned in the classroom and put into practice, in a real-life situation. That’s great could really help in practice.

At Northumbria law school we have a dedicated law career service so they are able to provide one-to-one help with preparation of CV’s, application letters, interview practice and things like that. So that’s available year-round. In addition we have regular presentations, almost one week, where local and national firms come into the University and give presentations about life as a lawyer and what it takes to secure work experience in a training contract as well.

My tip to anybody looking for a training contract again do your research. You have to know the kind of them that you want to apply to. Look past the Graduate Recruitment pages you have to know the kind of clients, the kind of business the law firms interested in. You have to do with your research and don’t blanket apply, please do pick a handful of firms that have a genuine interest in and concentrate and tailor your application form to those firms.

Today my experience of Northumbria has been 100 percent positive. The lectures have been brilliant back in go to them whenever I need any help and the structure the course is absolutely brilliant as well.

My experience of Northumbria to-date has been fantastic. Everyone is so friendly and everyone really enjoys themselves her.

Stuff like teaching the credit timing of course many them taught it for many years students are really enthusiastic very committed they are focused on their legal careers it’s a really good course to teach on.

For anybody who wants to convert too law I would say definitely go for it. Especially if you’re like me and you a little bit an older student in your career change it but doesn’t matter there’s nothing holding you back. You need to be sure that is what you want to do because it’s hard work and is a big investment, but don’t let anything hold you back.

What I enjoyed most was going into studying the GDL not knowing a single thing and coming out the other end and feeling ready and able to use that knowledge to advise people. It was such a great sense of achievement because it was a very intensive year. And it did require a lot of hard, work, but it really paid off at the end. And what was nice through that process was that we made some good lasting friendships because you’re dropped in at the deep end and have to work together. You come out at the end feeling really proud of yourself knowing that you’ve got a great career ahead of you.

Being a Trainee Solicitor in London

A brief video explaining what it’s like to work as a trainee solicitor in a London firm which I thought could be useful. This is another video from icould:

“icould is about inspiration, encouragement and discovery. The idea is to help you make the most of your potential and talent, by showing how others have used theirs.”

Some of their videos are pretty inspirational which is a nice change. The legal news these days is pretty depressing to say the least.

The video explains the route to becoming a trainee and some of the advantages and disadvantages of working in London. It also touches on Gap years and some of the motivations behind becoming a solicitor.
 

The Role of a Judge

Lord Neuberger describes the role of a judge and his career path. It’s very encouraging to know that even a judge as respected as Lord Neuberger didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do at university. Even two years after he didn’t know he wanted a career in law. Once he knew he wanted a career in law he didn’t just easily waltz into the profession either.

It took hard work, persistence and determination.

I’m sure many of you are in a similar position. You don’t know exactly what to do with your career and are maybe feeling a little lost. Or maybe you know exactly what you want to do but aren’t there yet. Give the video a watch – things in your life can turn around so quickly.

My Favourite Fictional Lawyers

I waste spend quite a bit of time watching American comedy, and in those shows there’s usually a lawyer character. So I came up with an idea for a pretty light hearted blog post – my favourite fictional comedy lawyers! Some of them you will definitely have heard of and others you will only know about if you’re a die hard fan of the show. We’ve also included a poll at the bottom of the page if you want to tell us who your favourite is.

no money down lawLionel Hutz

Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons is by far the most well known lawyer in this list. He first appeared in season two in the episode Bart Gets hit by a Car.

Hutz is pretty incompetent but despite this fact the Simpson family repeatedly hire him as their lawyer. It’s a good thing too; Lionel has so many classic lines. Here are just a few of them:

Hutz: Now don’t you worry Mrs. Simpson, I – uh-oh. We’ve drawn Judge Snyder.
Marge: Is that bad?
Hutz: Well, he’s kind of had it in for me, since I accidently ran over his dog. Actually, replace ‘accidently’ with ‘repeatedly’, and replace ‘dog’ with ‘son’.

Late Ms. Bouvier [video-will]: Now let’s get down to business…
Hutz [voice dubbed in]: To my executor, Lionel Hutz, I leave $50,000.
Marge: Mr. Hutz!!!
Hutz: You’d be surprised how often that works, you really would.

Hutz: And so, ladies and gentleman of the jury I rest my case.
Judge: Hmmm. Mr. Hutz, do you know that you’re not wearing any pants?
Hutz: DAAAA!! I move for a bad court thingy.
Judge: You mean a mistrial?
Hutz: Right!! That’s why you’re the judge and I’m the law-talking guy.
Judge: You mean the lawyer?
Hutz: Right.

Barry defending George in jailBarry Zuckerkorn

There are 3 hilarious lawyers in Arrested Development – Barry Zuckerkorn, Bob Loblaw and Wayne Jarvis. However Barry Zuckerkorn (played by Henry Winkler, yep – the Fonz!) is my personal favourite.

In similar style to The Simpsons Barry is very incompetent and defends the Bluth family on a number of issues throughout the show. He makes some pretty big blunders in every episode he features, like these:

Michael: We need to speak to you about getting a divorce for Gob.
Barry: Well, I got Michael out of his marriage, didn’t I?
(Smiles and holds up hand for high five)
Michael: Actually, she died.
Barry: You’re kidding me. I’ve been taking credit for that for years!

Barry: Unfortunately, it’s a private stock, so you cannot just buy up the shares unless someone is willing to sell.
Michael: Are you sure?
Barry: That’s what they said on “Ask Jeeves”.

Barry: The will is not here, the will is at my office next to the hot plate with the frayed wires. I didn’t, uh… (Muttering.)
Narrator: In fact, Barry had lost George Sr.’s will.
Barry: …how did I get here?

Harvey Birdman

Harvey Birdman is pretty hard to describe. It’s all about a law firm – Sebben & Sebben, which is full of superheros and characters from Hanna-Barbera (The Flintstones, Shaggy & Scooby and Secret Squirrel are just a few of those featured). Birdman is the main character; apparently he was tired of fighting crime and wanted a career in law instead. Harvey usually plays the role of a defence lawyer.

In one episode Harvey needs to defend himself against and old nemesis who is suing him for injuries caused during a fight from his superhero days.

Marshall Eriksen

Marshall Eriksen is from How I met your Mother and throughout the show we see him graduate from law school and move on to being a lawyer. He’s probably the only lawyer on the list who isn’t wildly incompetent! While his character doesn’t just revolve around him being a lawyer there are lots of funny moments which occur during his time at work.

The video to the left is a clip from one of the episodes – a law school band Marshall forms called The Funk, the Whole Funk and Nothing but the Funk (sorry about the poor quality).

Marshall also coined the phrase Lawyered which is used whenever he uses facts to disprove another persons argument, like this :

Barney: Statistically, men who have had at least one relationship with a prostitute, are 75% more likely to have success in future relationships.
Marshall: You made that up.
Barney: Withdrawn.
Marshall: Lawyered.

Other lawyers worthy of mention

Uncle Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly is from a show called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He’s the uncle of one of Charlie Kelly; one of the main characters. He’s certainly the creepiest lawyer on this list. He doesn’t like his hands being photographed.

Gerald Broflovski

Also known as Kyle’s dad from South Park. There are several episodes where his legal career comes up. Like the Sexual Harassment Panda episode where everyone tries to sue the school.

The Bird Lawyer

Our second bird based lawyer. This time from Futurama; he appears in a few episodes when legal advice is needed. Unfortunately he’s not very good. I don’t actually know if that character has a name, so I’m just going to call him the bird lawyer.

All I know is that he is some sort of bird which has evolved to the stage where it can speak. And obtain a law degree. Also he sounds like he’s from Texas. Anyway the video to the right is him in action.

Judge Dredd should get an honorary mention. Although I do question the amount of legal training he’s received.

Who is your favourite?

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Mooting Tips & Advice

Mooting is a crucial bit of work experience for prospective barristers. A fantastic video on mooting from the College of Law. Some tips and advice on mooting including common errors that students make. There is also information on the structure of your arguments, enhancing argument clarity and communication with the judge.

This video is invaluable if you’re going to be having your first moot in the near future or even if you’ve got a good deal of experience already.

For more information on mooting check out the Learnmore mooting guide. The guide covers everything to do with mooting such as bundles, skeleton arguments, and public speaking.