Bristol Law School students attend annual Eid on the Wharf party

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On 28th September a diverse group of law students from Level 1 to LLM responded to the opportunity to attend an annual Eid on the Wharf party hosted by Clifford Chance and the Association of Muslim Lawyers (AML).

Koser Shaheen, Chair of AML, offered free tickets to UWE law students to attend the networking event at Clifford Chance’s Canary Wharf offices.  Facilitated by Dr. Zainab Kahn, interested students worked together to prepare for the trip.

First year LLB students Kashif Imambaccass and Lizzie Greco-Turner reflected on their experiences:

“Having only been studying at UWE for two weeks, this was our first law networking event. We were awestruck walking into the imposing thirty floor skyscraper at Canary Wharf that houses Clifford Chance. Once we arrived at the venue, we were greeted by fellow UWE students, ranging from second year LLB to LLM students.

The opportunity to network with 250+ city professionals, who were very impressive leaders in their field, gave us an invaluable insight into what a legal career in law entails.

The highlight of our evening was interacting with Halim Uddin, an associate at Clifford Chance. Uddin was down-to-earth and friendly, willing to answer all the questions we had on the work required to become an elite lawyer.

In addition to the networking, the Eid party exposed us to a number of Islamic speakers and entertainers.  We felt humbled listening to an address by Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, who recently received the Queens Award for Voluntary Services.  Also on top of the list of entertainment was the engaging and often funny speech by Lauren Booth, referred to as one of the most ‘fascinating Muslim Personalities of our time’.

As Law is often portrayed as an exclusive profession, it was refreshing to network with a diverse team of lawyers from a wide range of backgrounds. Thanks to our lecturer Kathy Brown, who believed in us; we have obtained a drive to excel, to work harder and pave the way to becoming the very best of who we are. Now, the idea of working for one of the ‘Magic Circle’ firms, seem slightly less daunting.”

In accordance with the inclusive nature of the activity, travel was funded for the students by the Bristol Law School.

 

Student event: Start of the Year Careers Forum

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After a summer filled with sunshine, we’re holding a welcome back careers event next week as part of induction week. The Start of the Year Careers Forum will shine a light on opportunities for graduate jobs, placements and internships with leading legal and non-legal employers from the South West and across the UK.

The forum will take place on Wednesday 19th September from 10am.

The forum will consist of a mixture of employer stands and breakout sessions with short talks. Expect:

  • Employer stands with information and freebies.
  • A chance to meet and hear from legal and non-legal employers from the South West and across the UK. All of the attending employers recruit law graduates.
  • Insights into working in different job roles and sectors.
  • Tips to help you stand out in application processes for placements and graduate jobs.
  • A window into the future of how technology and other trends are changing jobs and industries.

Whether you want to become a solicitor, a barrister, or do something else entirely, this event is designed to appeal to all law students with a wide variety of interests and ambitions. It will give you the chance to talk to non-legal employers and find out why they value and recruit law students. There will be law firms present, as well as a wide range of other employers who are interested in your skills as a law graduate.

These employers have an interest in speaking specifically to you. Employers signed up include:

WHEN & WHERE: Wednesday 19th September, 10am-2pm, Floor 3 in the Business School. This will show in your timetables.

This event is aimed at second and third years in the Faculty of Business and Law, and we will be issuing a full programme shortly. Keep up to date on Twitter @UWELaw.

Don’t miss out!

Guest blog: My Day at Clarke Willmott as Part of the Faculty Advisory Board Mentoring Scheme

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Guest blog by Noëlle Quénivet: 

The Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School launched at the inception of the 2017/2018 academic year a pilot Faculty Advisory Board Mentoring Scheme, the chief aim being to contribute to UWE staff’s personal and career development and provide further, external feedback on the 360 review that all senior academic staff had undergone in the past few years. Among, the wider purposes of this scheme are to create a culture of positive employee engagement and develop a broader understanding of external organisations and the dynamics within an external business so as to be in a position to engage at the right level in target organisations.

As someone who had never worked in a private company and teaches subjects that lead to careers in the public and charity sector as well as in international organisations the opportunity to meet with someone completely outside my world was incongruous, albeit intriguing. I signed up to the scheme and was allocated Karl Brown, a Senior Associate in the Commercial Property team of Clarke Willmott in Bristol, as my mentor. That was no doubt a full immersion into the private and commercial world! We arranged for our first meeting to be over the phone and used the 360 degree feedback as a guide to help kick off the discussions and identify some specific areas for discussion. Designed to be relatively informal this kind of mentorship works well. Whilst overall as well as specific expectations and objectives are set for such meetings, there is plenty of leeway to broach new issues, topics and challenges I am facing in the Bristol Law School, both as a researcher and a lecturer. It also gives Mr Brown, a member of our Advisory Board, the opportunity to get a glance into the academic world. Furthermore, such meetings are an occasion to exchange ideas and discuss the potential involvement of the private sector in academic life. In other words, it is a two-way street, not just a mentoring scheme.

At one of these meetings Mr Brown suggested I spend a day at Clarke Willmott to gain insights into the way a law firm works. He arranged for me to be placed with Richard Moore, a partner at Clarke Willmott working in its Commercial and Private Client Litigation team which focuses on commercial litigation and dispute resolution. The date was set for Wednesday 11 July, at a time when teaching/marking is off the table. Upon my arrival I was met by Mr Brown who gave me a brief tour of the law firm. I quickly realised the size of the firm and the breadth of the legal issues its employees covered. And this was only the Bristol office as Clarke Willmott has also offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Taunton and Southampton! I was then introduced to Mr Moore who presented me to his team and explained the type of work the team undertakes. I was then whisked to attend the compulsory introductory health and safety training.

When I came back from the training three folders had been placed on my desk. Mr Moore explained that it was probably the best way to give me an idea of the type of work carried out by his team. Looking at these folders very much reminded me of my internship at UNHCR London when solicitors would send by post huge folders accompanied by a letter seeking our assistance. I remember staring at my first folder in horror, wondering how I could possibly read this folder in a couple of hours. Indeed, some solicitors would inform us that their client would be deported within days and unless we promptly intervened on their behalf the client would be returned to their country of origin. I quickly learned which documents needed to be read first (or at all) and which sections were the most relevant and thus had to be read in full and with a keen eye for details. All this had to be done in light of UNHCR guidelines and the relevant legal framework. Here, at Clarke Willmott, the case I was given related to a company that had threatened another (and a large number of its customers) with patent litigation if it continued to use a particularly product for which it claimed it had a patent. My knowledge on the subject-matter being pretty much that of a laywoman I decided to focus on the procedure and the practical aspects of the case, eg how can a solicitor know whether a patent claim and counter-claim are genuine, why does a solicitor recommend their client one procedure over another (in this case the shorter trial scheme), how are experts chosen, how is information collected, is it standard practice to reply to a claim paragraph by paragraph (ie point by point), why are there track changes in some of the official documents, etc.? As Mr Moore came back from a meeting I had the opportunity to ask him some of these questions. My next opportunity to understand better the work of a commercial law solicitor was to attend a conference call with a client who had instructed Mr Moore on a variety of litigation matters at Clarke Willmott and his previous firm. Interestingly, he explained to me that some clients even follow solicitors who change law firms. Clearly, this must be an indication of the importance of trust and confidence between a client and a specific solicitor. That being said, Mr Moore also stressed that a hugely positive aspect of being employed by a large law firm is that clients can use the wide range of services offered by the firm and thus all their legal dealings stay ‘in-house’. The conversation indubitably showed this established trust relationship between Mr Moore and his client. The issue at stake was the misuse of a franchise and, sadly for the client, it was not the first time the client was faced with this problem. Mr Moore explained in a very honest manner the advantages and disadvantages of the range of courses of action available to the client. In particular, he pointed out that a change in the law meant that using a previously favoured course of action might not yield the results expected and might be more costly. He expounded his preferred solution which was to send a robust letter to the company in question and to avoid court litigation if at all possible. At first I was a bit bemused by Mr Moore’s attitude as it gave the impression that he was simply saying to the client that they did not need his help. Yet, this would be a flawed understanding of this conversation: capacity-building is part of building a trust relationship between a solicitor and the client. He was advising his client to undertake a course of action which would save them money on legal fees and was putting his client’s interests above those of his own law firm; principle over profit.

Another folder appeared on my desk: it was a pending case relating to fraud in a company. The information was of a different type from the previous case: company reports, interviews, accounting reports, etc. Having previously taught on the module Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility that is offered on the LLM programme at UWE (see eg LLM in Commercial Law) I was flabbergasted by this example of poor practice of corporate governance. In fact, I wondered whether similar documents could be used as the basis for a student assignment. After all it would neatly fit with the Faculty’s strategic priority to offer practice-led modules and programmes. And so, on my ‘to do’ list appeared the item: ‘need to talk to relevant module leaders and suggest this type of document to form the basis of scenario to be looked at in workshops or set for assignment’.

My last insight into the work of a commercial solicitor was fast-paced: it was a conference call from a known client who was wondering whether they could challenge a procurement decision. In a less than ten minute conversation Mr Moore first tried to get an idea of the relevant legal issues and the time-frame and then asked the client to send him the materials as soon as possible. As he put down the phone he informed his colleague who had attended the call to find out as quickly as possible whether suitable barristers were available for such a case (bearing in mind it looked like a week-end job) and to start the paperwork as soon as the client would send formal instructions to Mr Moore. It was interesting to see the beginning of a case with a team working against the clock and without any prior knowledge of the claim.

Overall I very much enjoyed my day at Clarke Willmott. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on the modules we offer and more specifically the design and assessment of these modules. Whereas an academic law degree centres upon the acquisition of relevant legal knowledge and skills procedural issues are hardly ever looked at. They are definitely more the focus on the LPC and BPTC, the professional courses we offer at UWE and prepare law graduates to become solicitors and barristers. The tasks Mr Moore undertook on that day were those taught on these courses, yet without a rigorous knowledge of company law and the law relating to copyright, patent and procurement he would not be able to deal with these cases. It is really a matter of building students’ knowledge step by step whilst giving them an insight into the next step. In fact, students who are taking part in the vast range of pro bono activities offered by the Bristol Law School benefit, like me on my day at Clarke Willmott, from a better insight into the procedural aspects of legal action; one might say, a better insight into the real world.

The African Prisons Project: Student blog

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The following blog post is part of a series of blogs on the Pro Bono Offering at UWE Bristol: 

One of the many strands of activity students can undertakes as part of the UWE Pro Bono Unit is with the African Prisons Project, led by Kathy Brown. This summer several students received the opportunity to travel to Kenya and Uganda to work directly with the prisoners in the prisons. This has provided valuable life experience for both the prisoners and the students. Here, LLB student Nakita Hedges reflects on her thoughts and experiences:

When driving from the airport I could see the corruption which segregated the rich from the poor almost immediately. The rich drove past me on their way to their gated houses, whilst the poor begged at my window and lay on the edge of the street. This is something I felt so detached from as my experience of this type of lifestyle only seemed to appear behind a TV screen. For me to see this as an actual problem was a hit of harsh reality and I didn’t know whether to feel thankful for my privileged life or awful that these people will never experience anything like it.

A similar feeling of contradicting emotions hit me when arriving at the prisons for the first time. I was aware these people were separated from the world by society who had reformed their identity with a label. Nevertheless, despite their injustice, every single student I met kindly greeted me with a handshake and smile. They were polite and insisted on me taking their seats even if it meant they would be standing for the duration of the lesson. I found it difficult to look into their eyes and accept their gratitude without feeling guilty that our little time here meant so much to them.

Their determination to learn was honestly such an empowering feeling to witness. Their level of dedication to their studies was something I had not ever seen before. If they have been set a task, each person exceeds expectations. Regardless of their lack of materials, each student would return with masses of information which they would provide examples and apply to the real world. After a few weeks of being here, our students were beginning to think like lawyers. They were analytical of their own and our work, challenging everything that was presented to them. Whenever we had a debate I almost wanted to remove their note sheet because they didn’t need a piece of paper to dictate their thoughts, it came so naturally to them. I soon learnt that their positive mental outlook was derived from their motivation to learn and make a difference for themselves seeing as nobody else was going to do it for them.

We were constantly reminded that we were “improving [their] lives” and “reforming [their] dignity”, however, for me I never thought of our students as criminals and it saddened me that it was only our presence which allowed them to feel like normal human beings. I have never thought so highly of anyone before, and I am honoured to have spent my summer with these people. They are human beings trying to achieve the same dreams as me. I hope to reassure them that they have not been neglected by humanity and despite their circumstances are recognised as human beings and not by their label.

For more information on the African Prisons Project, please see here. To find out more about the UWE Pro Bono Unit please see here.

 

 

 

 

Give us your feedback on the Bristol Law School

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As part of an exciting new research project, the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School are looking to gather opinions on their new building.

Opened in April 2017, Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School is a flagship space to attract international and home students, facilitate links with businesses, and provide collaborative spaces for staff to work together.

Stride Treglown (the building architects), ISG (building contractors) and Godfrey Syrett (furniture suppliers) and UWE Bristol Business School are collaborating on this research project to explore personal, emotional and sensory user experiences of the building through the use of social media and photography.

They want to hear from staff, students and visitors on how they have used the building.  Over the next year, they are asking everyone to take photos to show how they are using the building and how they feel about the building.

Participants can then post their pictures on Instagram using #myUWEBBSview or you can email your pictures and comments to myUWEBBSview@uwe.ac.uk

The research project is led by Harriet Shortt, Associate Professor in Organisation Studies at UWE Bristol.

Take a look at the project website for more details.

UWE Bristol climbs into top 40 in latest Guardian league table

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The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has climbed to its highest ever position in the Guardian university league table. Moving up 15 places, the University is ranked 37th out of 121 UK institutions in the newspaper’s latest annual guide for students.

Continued strong performance in the National Student Survey (NSS) and an increase in spend per student have helped the University break into the top 40 in the 2019 guide.

Three subject areas, Education, Film Production & Photography and Philosophy, have been ranked in the top five nationally while Architecture earned a place in the top 10.

UWE Bristol has been ranked 12th in the country for its value-added score, which compares students’ degree results with their entry qualifications to show how effectively they have been taught, and 26th for satisfaction with teaching.

The Guardian league table focuses on the quality of teaching, student satisfaction and employability. Compiled by independent company Intelligent Metrix, the guide ranks universities according to: spending per student; the student/staff ratio; graduate career prospects; what grades applicants need to get a place; the value-added score; and how satisfied final-year students are with their course, based on results from the annual NSS. For the first time this year, the newspaper has included a continuation score based on the percentage of first-year students continuing to a second year. The overall Guardian league table is accompanied by subject rankings, showing how universities perform across 54 areas of study.

It is the third consecutive rise up the Guardian table for UWE Bristol, which has also performed strongly in the Complete University Guide and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, said:

“This represents a giant stride forwards for our University and it is immensely pleasing to receive recognition for our continued progress in this national guide. Our rise in the table is richly deserved and testament to the tremendous efforts being made by our staff to ensure the student experience is at the centre of everything we do.”

Rt Hon David Lammy MP launches 2018 Equity Speaker Series at UWE Bristol

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Rt Hon David Lammy MP, author of the Lammy Review launched the 2018 Equity Speaker Series on Wednesday 24 January at the UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Lammy, who is an popular campaigner and outspoken social and political commentator, spoke on the topic of  ‘The Confidence to Be: What next for the BAME graduate?’

Following the talk, 200 delegates enjoyed networking and a Caribbean inspired canape reception courtesy of Calypso Kitchen restaurant , the brain child of UWE Bristol Alumnus Will Clarke.

A number of pro-diversity organisations were also in attendance as exhibitors to promote opportunities to BAME students.

About UWE Bristol’s Equity Programme

Equity is an innovative positive-action talent and professional development programme for home-BAME students at UWE Bristol.

It was launched in the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School at the University’s annual Link event in October 2017 which attracted approximately 300 students and professionals.

Its principal objectives are the improvement of graduate outcomes specifically in terms of increasing professional employment and self-employment rates as well as supporting them to aim for careers which offer promising earning potential.

Equity days take place once a month and include race and identity coaching and workshops entirely facilitated by external BAME professionals and entrepreneurs. Each Equity day concludes with a keynote speaker that reflects the best of British BAME talent.

(Equity Curator Dr Zainab Khan and Race Equality Programmes Officer Alex Mormoris are both based within the Bristol Business School, any queries should be addressed to raceequality@uwe.ac.uk you can also follow the programme on Twitter @Bristol_Equity )

UWE Bristol re- launches the International Talent Scheme

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In response to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s report on ‘Supporting and Enhancing the Experience of International Students in the UK’ which highlighted the need for universities to engage with employers, promoting the international student body as a talent pool of cultural knowledge, language skills, and international contacts, UWE Bristol has formed the International Talent Scheme.

The scheme enables international students to access UK businesses and work placement activities whilst completing their academic studies. In turn, these students provide UK organisations with valuable international perspective with a view to trading overseas.  Employers are able to access a wide portfolio of export services such as translation and interpreting, researching and identifying new markets, liaising with key suppliers, customers and clients in specific markets, and providing cultural insight.

Dr Nick Wilton, Academic Director for External Engagement in the Faculty of Business and Law at UWE Bristol, asserts that student insights are enhanced by the school’s curriculum design that develops critical graduate attributes, including global citizenship and cross-cultural awareness.

International Talent works closely with regional SMEs and International Business Councils to promote engagement opportunities and project activity.

A case study from Phineas Products Ltd showcases the exciting scope and versatility of the International Talent programme:  “Liliana took the role of launching our company into the Spanish and South American markets. With the aid of a UKTI OMIS market report she was quickly able to identify the key players in our target market and start communicating with the decision makers. Her native Spanish language was invaluable in building relationships with key buyers in PLC corporations and understanding the market in depth”.

To learn more about International Talent projects and events, please contact Jessica Tomico at internationaltalent@uwe.ac.uk

 

Dr Glenn Parry speaks at Gregg Latham’s Solicitor Event: “The Internet of Us; What does privacy mean in the digital age?”

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Ed Boal, Geoff White, Emily Turner and Glenn Parry at the Gregg Latchams’ Business Network Event

On September 1st Dr Glenn Parry, Associate Professor in Strategy & Operations Management spoke at the 2nd Gregg Latchams’ Business Network Event: “The Internet of Us; What does privacy mean in the digital age?”, held at the Watershed.

The event, hosted by Gregg Latchams’ Digital and Media team, explored the meaning of privacy in the digital age.

The event started with award winning television news journalist Geoff White showing attendees how the global technology industry harvests data leaking from personal devices through a live, interactive phone hacking stage performance. Geoff also took guests into the dark web, the hidden network of websites where a parallel black market in personal data is thriving.

Glenn spoke on a panel after the demonstration with Emily Taylor, Emily Taylor Internet Research and Editor of the Journal of Cyber Policy; Ed Boal, Associate Solicitor at Gregg Latchams’; and Geoff White.

Dr Parry spoke about his research focussed on the Digital Economy, where he is the co-investigator on the EPSRC Hub of All things project that aims to give control of personal data back to the individual.

As Dr Parry explained, online privacy is objective – are you being observed? Vulnerability is subjective and relates to your individual risk.

An individual may feel vulnerable even if online privacy is high. At the moment firms you use such as electricity companies, retailers, banks etc. each hold a ‘vertical’ supply piece of data but don’t know your use context. Context exists in the horizontal at a point in time, or location across multiple vertical data sets. Part of the reason Facebook and Google offer you the opportunity to use their passwords to gain access to websites is to get that horizontal data. However, this raises important questions as to privacy and vulnerability.

Dr Parry is working as part of the new EPSRC HAT Living Lab project to ask questions about user vulnerability. He hopes the research will lead to understanding of online privacy, vulnerability and help to create frameworks that can guide business in the future.

 The full Q + A with Glenn can be found here.

Law students help launch community café

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A deprived neighbourhood was in danger of losing its only community facility – until five trainee solicitors from Bristol Law School put their coursework theory into practice – and boosted their CVs.

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The Bristol Law School Pro Bono team in the Business Law Debate Room

A new chapter in the history of a building at the heart of its local community has been written by postgraduate law students putting their skills into practice for the public good.

Last year budget cuts sounded the death knell for Bristol’s Eastville Library, but after a neighbourhood group took ownership of the 1950s building it has evolved into a community space for hire by local groups and individuals.

Making the transition from books to bookings required legal expertise to help the group explore its options before setting up a community interest company and completing the first community asset transfer (CAT) of its type in the city.

Cue the award-winning Pro Bono Unit at Bristol Law School, where students on the diploma in Legal Practice Course (LPC) – a prerequisite for professional practice as a solicitor –  offer free advice to charities and community groups on company- and property-related matters.

With the support of lecturers who are also qualified solicitors, five students completed the legal work necessary for the South Lockleaze and Purdown Neighbourhood Group to take ownership of the library from Bristol City Council.

“Pro bono work is all about students committing to involvement in a project of their own volition,” explains Cathy Biggs, head of the LPC course at Bristol Law School.

“Commercial pro bono projects are pretty unusual and our students have gained enormous benefit from involvement in the Eastville CAT, which really has shown practice-led learning at its best.

“As well as enabling real client contact from an early stage, the brief proved a great way of getting students involved in an acquisition that local people were really passionate about from start to completion.”

Now known as The Old Library, the building that has provided social and educational facilities for one of the UK’s most deprived communities for 66 years is well on its way to becoming a vibrant, modern, multi-use space including café, garden, book swap and spaces for hire.

And it’s not just the neighbourhood group that’s looking to a promising future. The Law School students who worked on the project benefited from the real- world experience and have boosted their CVs as a result.

“Taking part in a pro bono project gave me a really valuable insight into commercial work and has helped my CV stand out from the crowd,” says Scarlett Guy, who found a job with a top Bristol law firm as a direct result of her involvement.

“Eastville and other extra-curricular opportunities were by far the biggest factor in helping me secure the job I wanted. As well as enabling me to put theory learned on the LPC course into practice, I gained the confidence to hit the ground running as I embark on my career.”

Bristol Law School is part of the University of the West of England and has been educating the legal profession for more than 40 years. It is one of only a select few UK law schools that offers all stages of the legal education process, enabling students to study law and continue to qualify as a solicitor or barrister by taking a full- or part-time Master of Laws (LLM) postgraduate degree in the same, fully supported learning environment.