Seeking a legal career? Apply now for a mentor!

The 2018/19 Kent Law School Professional Mentoring Scheme launches this week and Law School students seeking a legal career are encouraged to apply now for a mentor.

Mentors, many of whom are Kent Law School alumni, volunteer their time to help students develop their understanding of the legal world. They offer expert advice on CVs, assistance with applications and mock interviews in a bid to help guide their mentees through the application process for both work and study. They work with their mentees over the course of one academic year, from June until the end of the Spring term.

Law School Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone, who coordinates the scheme, said: ‘This is a great way to build a network in law, have your questions answered, get support with applications, understand the profession and achieve success.’ And Jayne encourages students to apply as soon as possible: ‘Those whom apply early will achieve the best match to a mentor.’

Previous participants in the Scheme have attested to the benefits of a mentoring partnership and/or the networking opportunities afforded by the Scheme:

  • Law student Chantal Cohen (pictured left) gained a new sense of confidence and self-belief. She also gained a mini pupillage, enhanced networking skills and a two-week work experience placement
  • Law student James Mapley (pictured centre) found himself in the enviable position of being able to choose from one of three offers for a training contract
  • Law School alumnus Patrik Jacobsson (pictured right) began working as a trainee with a leading firm of international solicitors.

The scheme comprises more than 100 legal professionals working in the UK and in countries all over the world including: Canada; Nigeria; Trinidad and Tobago; Malaysia; and the United Arab Emirates. It’s open to any law school student returning to study at Kent in September 2018. Full details (and an application form) are available on Moodle (see DP1950 Employabilty).

As the Mentoring Scheme develops, Jayne is also keen to hear from students seeking mentors working in non-legal professions:

Students beginning their studies at Kent Law School in September 2018 are encouraged to watch out for Jayne’s weekly emails and to follow her Employability Blog for news of further possible mentoring opportunities towards the end of this year.

Kent Law School makes every effort to help prepare students for successful and rewarding careers and our excellent international reputation means that our students proceed to practice in numerous countries worldwide:

  • For graduate prospects, Law at Kent was ranked 7th in The Complete University Guide 2018, 15th in The Times Good University Guide 2018 and 15th in The Guardian University Guide 2018
  • Kent Law School is ranked 11th in the UK for career prospects (and 19th overall) in the Simply Law Jobs University Rankings 2018
  • Of Law students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 97% of those who responded to a national survey were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
  • Explore our alumni profiles for more insight into what our graduates do
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Summer School in Nigeria on Global Trade Law

A four-day Summer School on Global Trade Law will be held in Nigeria in September.

It’s the first Kent Summer School to be hosted in Africa and is being organised by Kent Law School’s International Commercial Law expert Dr Gbenga Oduntan.

The Summer School will focus on aspects of the law and practice of international business transactions and the legal regulation of the relationship between buyers and sellers as well as interactions between businesses in different jurisdictions.

Guest speakers include Dr Ruth Cain, Dr Alex Magaisa and Dr Oduntan, all from Kent Law School.

Topics to be addressed during the Summer School include the legal rules governing export sales, international sale of goods, their transportation, finance of transnational trade and their insurance implications, international marketing operations, dispute settlement and mechanisms.

Classes will take an interactive and comparative approach and special attention will be given to current and critical perspectives such as Brexit, the explosion of international mergers and acquisitions, international commercial arbitration and alternative dispute resolution techniques as well as the transportation and carriage of goods by sea.

The Summer School will be hosted by the Kent Centre for International Studies in Lagos, Nigeria, from Monday 3 September to Thursday 6 September. It is likely to be of interest to students, professionals in law, business, logistics, economics or the social sciences, professionals exploring options for postgraduate study, business owners, civil servants, policy makers, political leaders and civil society officials.

The cost (£350) includes tuition, and drink and lunch receptions. Attendees will cover their own travel, accommodation and subsistence fees. (The organisers will be happy to recommend and help arrange hotel accommodation once the venue is confirmed.)

Limited financial assistance will be available in the form of scholarships for a small number of excellent applicants who would otherwise not be able to attend. The scholarship application deadline is 5pm on Monday 2 July 2018. You can still apply after this date for a paying place – the deadline for applications is Monday 20 August 2018.

For enquiries please email

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Apply for ELSA Kent’s Summer School on Migration Law

Students can now apply for places at an international Summer School on Migration Law organised by the European Law Student Association (ELSA) Kent.

ELSA Kent, a student society at Kent Law School, will host the summer school on the University’s Canterbury campus from Sunday 17 June to Sunday 24 June 2018.

It’s the second summer school to be organised by the society – ELSA Kent held the UK’s first ELSA Law School last year after securing approval from the international ELSA network. ELSA Law Schools are intensive legal courses addressing contentious issues in international law. Each summer school programme combines the theoretical perspective of expert academics together with the practical perspective of practising lawyers. They’re open to students and young lawyers across the world irrespective of ELSA membership.

Caroline Wilian, a member of ELSA Kent’s organising committee, said: ‘The Summer Law Schools are the essential ELSA experience, and participants often describe it as the best week of their life, so it appeared to us as the perfect project to pursue. It has been an exciting challenge!’

ELSA’s exacting quality control standards required ELSA Kent to demonstrate sufficient competence before their summer school in migration law could be approved. Caroline said: ‘Hosting last year’s event helped elevate our status and grow our network immensely in the UK and in Europe. It’s really put us on the map.’

The society received more than 100 applications for 30 places at last year’s event. Attendees came from: Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK.

Caroline said: ‘Many of our participants had previously studied or worked in the field of migration law and were often familiar with the published work of the specific academics involved in the programme. They hugely appreciated the benefit of being able to raise issues with them. It was very important to us that the whole summer law school embodied Kent Law School’s critical approach to law, and we were incredibly happy to see how much the academics stimulated our participants to discuss the issues. We had speakers who were able to communicate diverse accounts of engaging with migration law. This included academics but we also had Judge Ledi Bianku from the European Court of Human Rights and Sed Bikandy, a local architecture student who came to Canterbury as a refugee from Syria.’

Kent academics who contributed to last year’s conference included Richard Warren, Sian Lewis-Anthony and Dr Anthony Valcke.

Attendees can also expect to enjoy a lively social programme. Last year, social events included: a Masquerade at Westgate Towers in Canterbury (hosted by Kent Student Law Society); clubbing nights; a day trip to Broadstairs; and a three course Gala Dinner at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.


Caroline said: ‘On the last day, our participants were hugging each other in tears and planning summer trips to meet each other again as they left Kent with many new friends from all over the world. We were incredibly proud of the event and felt that everything had gone better than we had ever dreamed of.’

Members of ELSA Kent’s organising committee also enjoyed the opportunity to develop new skills. Caroline said: ‘We learned how to communicate with leading academics and lawyers, and we built personal relationships with them. We also learned a lot about collaboration as we came to rely on each other for the completion of different tasks. And we gained a great deal of confidence in public speaking – it can be daunting to direct a crowd of thirty strangers in addition to highly respected academics and lawyers. All of these skills are important to complement our learning in our future legal careers.’

Fellow organising committee member Hendrik Jonsson said: ‘The Summer Law School required a big commitment of time, but it had a hugely positive effect on my academic performance. The practical organisational and management skills I learned in the process became tools which I could use to prepare essays for my modules and revise for exams. In the end, I found my grades greatly improved.’

Tickets for this year’s summer school will be available via the ELSA Kent Summer School on Migration Law Facebook Page. And anyone interested in joining the organising committee can email

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Solicitor General commends Law School for leading the way with student involvement in Pro Bono

Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP commended Kent Law School for “leading the way” in making it easy for students to be involved in Pro Bono work during a ‘hot seat’ question and answer session at Kent Law Clinic on Friday.

The Solicitor General made his comment in response to a student’s question about whether law clinic work should be compulsory for aspiring lawyers. He also said it was important that the ethos for law clinic or voluntary work should “come from within”. A short clip of the Solicitor General discussing the value of Pro Bono work with Professor John Fitzpatrick, Director of Kent Law Clinic, is available to watch on Twitter.

Among other topics raised by law students Afnan Arshad, Stanislaw Braminski, Maxwell Cunningham, Sophie Griffin, Alexandra Nadasan, Kinga Stabryla and James Whitehead, was a question about the most important duty of his role. The Solicitor General said it was to uphold the rule of law, adding: ‘A particularly important part of my job is reviewing crown court sentences that are too low, which I do on an almost daily basis.’

Robert Buckland QC MP, who was appointed as Solicitor General in July 2014, stopped to answer questions as part of a tour of the new £5m Wigoder Law Building where Kent Law Clinic is now housed.  The building was opened in October 2016 by the (then) Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court Baroness Hale and principal benefactor The Honourable Charles Wigoder.

During his visit, the Solicitor General met with Law Clinic staff and some of the lawyers who volunteer their time at Clinic advice sessions in the local community, including: Perveez Sethna of Parry Law, Canterbury; barrister Lavinia Glover of Becket Chambers, Canterbury; solicitor James Muir-Little of Furley Page Solicitors, Canterbury; and barrister Richard Honey of Francis Taylor Building, Inner Temple.

The Solicitor General also heard about Pro Bono Clinic work undertaken by Law School students; Second-year Law LLB student Alexander Dickens, final-year Law LLB student Quennie Bongcac and final-year International Legal Studies student Ledjana Gashi delivered mini-presentations on their practical experience of Clinic projects and live cases involving family law, housing law and immigration law.

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From talk to training contract: how one Kent law student networked her way to success!

Attending an on-campus talk has led directly to a training contract with a London law firm for final-year Kent Law LLB student Alexandra Lima.

Alexandra secured a contract with Darlingtons Solicitors LLP after following up on advice given by their Marketing Manager, Craig Sharpe, at a talk on the importance of branding and marketing for aspiring lawyers in March last year.

Craig spoke specifically about the value of online networking and invited attendees to connect with him on LinkedIn. Alexandra was one of only two students to follow up on Craig’s invitation. Both were subsequently invited to compete for a work experience placement at Darlingtons by writing a blog post summarising what they had learnt from his talk. Alexandra secured the placement with her winning post and also successfully applied for a University of Kent Work Experience Bursary to cover her travel expenses.

During the two-week placement in June 2017, Alexandra spent time working within the conveyancing team, as well as litigation and family matters. Putting into practice what she had learnt from Craig’s talk, she connected on LinkedIn with the legal professionals that she met and maintained contact after the placement had finished. Alexandra’s online networking skills were instrumental in landing her a further two-week placement with the firm in January 2018.

Alexandra said: ‘I worked conscientiously during my second placement and was subsequently encouraged to apply for a training contract within the firm. My application was successful and from a large number of applicants, I was selected for an interview.’

Not only was her application successful but, as Alexandra discovered earlier this month, so too was her interview – her training contract with Darlingtons will begin in September 2019, giving Alexandra time to complete a one-year Legal Practice Course (currently the final vocational stage for becoming a solicitor in England and Wales).

The talk Alexandra attended last year was organised by the Law School’s Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone as part of a programme of ongoing employability support for law students. Alexandra urges current and future law students to take advantage of opportunities created and promoted by Jayne: ‘Any chance to listen to or speak to a legal professional should be taken, and further contact via sites such as LinkedIn are fundamental to future prospects. A career in law requires you to be ahead of the game and actively seek any opportunity to learn more about it. Opportunities are more common than one would expect, but what is uncommon is students actually going out and taking them.’

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PhD student secures £2k grant for legal fieldwork research

Kent Law School doctoral research student Mia Tamarin has secured a grant of £2,200 for fieldwork research in Israel and Palestine.

Mia began her PhD in Law at Kent in 2016. Her research investigates how the law/capitalism nexus shapes our understanding and management of water. The PhD Fieldwork Grant, awarded by the Socio-Legal Study Association, will enable Mia to ground her theoretical framework within a case-study on the use and management of water in Israel and Palestine. She plans to conduct semi-structured interviews with government officials and leading NGO executives involved with different levels of water policy-making, in both countries.

Mia pays particular attention in her research to a process she describes as ‘water commodification’ and will be looking to see how this process manifests in the conflict over water in Palestine-Israel.

In addition to being hugely instrumental in enabling Mia to undertake the fieldwork element of her project, Mia says the grant will also enable her to pursue the socio-legal dimension of her research more solidly overall.

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Award for Law Clinic’s significant contribution to development and practice of law in Kent

Kent Law Clinic is to be recognised for making a “significant contribution to the development and practice of law in Kent” with a special award from Kent Law Society. 

Kent Law Society, one of the oldest law societies in England and Wales, has chosen to honour Kent Law Clinic with one of two unique awards as part of its 200th anniversary celebrations. It will be presented to Kent Law Clinic Director Professor John Fitzpatrick at a gala dinner following the Law Society’s AGM on Friday 18 May.

Kent Law Clinic solicitors, staff, students and volunteers provide pro bono legal assistance to members of the local community who could not otherwise afford access to advice and representation. The Law Clinic also seeks to enhance the education of students at Kent Law School through direct experience of legal practice.

Law Clinic students work on live cases, under the supervision of Law Clinic solicitors – recent clinic success stories involving law students include: a successful appeal for a woman penalised for failing to attend an assessment appointment that had been cancelled; a complaint upheld for a family who had been unlawfully evicted; and compensation secured for clients with cases against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Scores of students from the Law School have gone on to enter legal practice in Kent after qualifying and, currently, 13 out of 40 local private practitioners who serve as volunteers on Kent Law Clinic’s ‘Advice Session’ rota, are Law School graduates. These volunteer practitioners give advice to members of the public while being observed by Law Clinic students. 

Since relocating to the ground floor of the purpose-built Wigoder Law Building in October 2016, the Law Clinic has taken advantage of the new replica court room on the upper floor to hold innovative events for the local community such as an event to help demystify and explain family court proceedings and an event offering an insight into the UK criminal justice process.

Other recent Law Clinic initiatives include a one-day conference to discuss the challenges faced by child refugees seeking international protection in the UK. 

The Law Clinic has received numerous awards recognising and celebrating its work, including: The Lawyer Award for Ethical Initiative of the Year 2014; The LawWorks Attorney General’s Award for the Best New Pro Bono Activity for its ‘Access to Land’ project in 2012; the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for ‘enriching the academic study of law through a casework service to the community’ in 2008; the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’ prize at the Times Higher Education Awards 2005; and in 1998 the Law Clinic was a joint winner of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Civil Justice’ award in the Times/JUSTICE Awards.

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Kent Law School alumna is Private Client Lawyer of the Year

Kent Law School alumna Natalie Payne, now a solicitor at a leading London law firm, has been declared Private Client Lawyer of the Year in the UK at the Lawyer Monthly Magazine Private Client Awards 2018.

Natalie, who works for Mackrell Turner Garrett, was selected for the award for her work assisting people with Private Client matters, such as the preparation of wills, estate administrations, creation and management of trusts and charitable trusts, inheritance tax planning, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications, and management of affairs of the donors.

Natalie’s work mentoring law students at Kent and the College of Law was also recognised by the judges.

Natalie graduated from Kent in 2006 with a first class honours degree in Law. She is a member of The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn and was called to The Bar of England and Wales in 2007.

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£25k grant to research housing rights around the world

Professor Helen Carr, working in collaboration with colleagues from universities in South Africa and Brazil, has secured a £25,000 grant to research the theory and practice of housing rights around the world.

The grant was awarded by the Academy of Medical Sciences Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grant Scheme to Professor Carr, Professor Danie Brand from the University of Pretoria in South Africa and Professor Maria Fernanda Salcedo of the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

Three interdisciplinary workshops will be held – one at Kent, one in Pretoria and one in Belo Horizonte – under the theme of ‘Home/City/World: Housing, Inclusion and Sustainability in the 21st Century’

The workshops have three main aims: to re-conceptualise home and housing rights for the 21st century; to research the lived realities of home and housing rights in a variety of global cities; and to analyse the implementation of housing rights in a variety of locations.

Professor Carr said the award panel had commended the interplay between theory and practical housing problems in the research project proposal. The panel also liked the interdisciplinary nature of the project and the fact that it built upon an existing collaboration.

In addition to research expertise in housing, Professor Carr is interested in social welfare and public law, and the regulation of the poor, especially the homeless, the asylum seeker, the anti-social and those in need of care.

In 2015, she co-authored a report Reconciling owning and renting in shared ownership housing: Moving forward that examined the practices of shared ownership in the UK. And in November 2017, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, she co-authored a major new report (Closing the Gaps – Health and Safety at Home) for housing charity Shelter, calling for the introduction of a new Housing Act. The report, co-authored by  Dr Ed Kirton-Darling (Kent Law School) and by Professor David Cowan and Dr Edward Burtonshaw-Gunn (Bristol Law School), was subsequently referenced in the Commons Library briefing paper for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19 ahead of its Second Reading in January 2018.

Previous research into housing law reform by Professor Carr contributed to a new law aimed at protecting the rights of both tenants and landlords in Wales. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, granted Royal Assent in January 2016, was described as ‘ground-breaking’ legislation by the Welsh Government. It aims to improve the lives of more than one million people who rent their home in Wales, replacing complex pieces of existing legislation with one clear legal framework.

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Kent alumnus Billy Ng speaks about diversity and social mobility in the legal profession

Kent Law School alumnus Billy Ng from Hong Kong, now a trainee solicitor in London, returned to Kent this week to speak to current students about diversity and social mobility in the legal profession.

Billy completed his Law LLB degree at Kent in 2015 and is due to qualify, in July. He’s now also working as a Mentor and a Social Mobility Ambassador for the Law Society of England and Wales, helping to raise the profile of fair access to the legal profession in the UK.

Earlier this week Billy spoke to students about the challenges he has faced, particularly as an international student and was keen to encourage students to persevere: ‘Strength lies in differences not in similarities. Despite coming from what some may call a disadvantaged background, we are not at a disadvantage. Make your differences your asset, look into yourselves and be proud of exactly who you are. Perseverance and confidence is key.’

Kent Law School Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone, who organised Billy’s visit, said: ‘Billy inspired students to reach for their goals. He made it clear that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or what obstacles you face, you can succeed if you put in the time and the effort to develop skills and experiences.’

During his time as a student, Billy was actively involved in student life and received both the Chancellor’s Employability Points Award and the Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year Award in May 2015 in recognition of his volunteering and fund-raising efforts. Billy was the Vice Chair of the Kent Law Campaign Student Group and helped raise funds for the £5m project to build the Wigoder Law Building, the building that now houses Kent Law Clinic and the Law School’s mooting programme.

Billy was particularly grateful for the services provided by Kent Law School’s Student Support Team in overcoming his own personal challenges whilst studying his undergraduate degree: ‘Pursuing a Law degree at a top Law School is not meant to be easy. As a result, frankly there were times when homesickness, family expectations, stress induced by work and deadlines, and anxiety of the uncertain future, can take its toll. I will always value and appreciate the assistance and encouragement I received from the Law School, for being understanding and empathetic towards students at difficult times. Without the relentless support, I would not have proudly graduated with a 2.1 at the end.’

After graduating from Kent, Billy was awarded a scholarship which enabled him to complete internships at commercial law firms in Bangalore, India and in Beijing, China. He returned to the UK to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and a LLM in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Law in Guildford before securing a training contract with Carters Solicitors in Pimlico.

After Billy qualifies this summer, he hopes to pursue his dream to become a Higher Court Advocate, representing clients at Crown Courts, High Courts and beyond.

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