Law School networking event leads to training contract

Law School alumna Leigh Leach has secured a training contract with a leading law firm in Kent thanks to a networking event organised as part of the School’s Professional Mentoring Scheme.

Leigh, who graduated last summer with a Law LLB degree, attended the scheme’s annual networking evening with legal professionals in London last year where she met Solicitor David Bowers from Thackray Williams Solicitors.

Leigh said: ‘Initially, we all took part in a small workshop where we played a few games to practice introducing ourselves, shaking hands and asking open questions. We were then encouraged to put our newly enhanced skills into practice by networking with the mentors. Unfortunately, my mentor could not attend the event but, I approached David and spoke to him about his experience as a newly qualified solicitor and his work in the personal injury department. I was particularly interested in this field and David kindly gave me his business card along with an invitation for work experience at Thackray Williams.

‘Following the networking event I emailed David and arranged a week’s work experience in the personal injury department. During the week I was lucky enough to attend court, meet with clients and work on some personal injury cases with David. My work experience was key in my decision to apply for a training contract at Thackray Williams and David also kindly assisted me with my application form.’

Since graduation, Leigh has obtained an LLM in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Law in Guildford. During her studies, she also worked three days a week as a Client Services Assistant at Mayo Wynne Baxter’s Solicitors. She is due to begin her Training Contract at Thackray Williams on 1 September 2017.

Leigh said: ‘I am excited for my first seat in the Business Services Department. I would encourage anyone looking for a career in the legal profession to participate in the Professional Mentoring Scheme. Like so many law students I did not know anyone in the legal profession and this scheme gave me the opportunity to gain an insight into the legal sector and make some important contacts. I was also lucky to be assigned a mentor who guided me, answered my questions and helped me improve my CV. Most importantly the scheme has been crucial to my career development as without it I may not have met David and secured my training contract.’

David said the scheme’s networking evening is a great way for mentees to start building up their own connections: ‘It’s something that Thackray Williams is trying to do itself through hosting our own Young Professional Networking Events. The benefits for us are found in our trainee recruitment, the mentees are committed and hardworking, and it is a chance for us to meet high calibre candidates before they apply. We have had a number of work experience students go on to be successful in applying for a training contract here.’

David urges all mentees to do their research and to find out who will be present before attending the scheme’s annual event: ‘Make sure you do approach the mentors. These events are a great way to build your own network and opportunities will follow.’

The Professional Mentoring Scheme aims to help students make career choices, understand the way the legal world works and navigate the application process for both work and study. It is coordinated by Kent Law School’s Employability, Career Development and Alumni Relations Officer Jayne Instone.

Jayne said: ‘One of the many benefits of the scheme is that mentees receive training in “How to Network Successfully” and hone their skills at a professional networking event attended by mentors (ie legal professionals).  This affords the opportunity for mentees to expand their network beyond their assigned mentor. Mentees who prepare well will leave this event with new contacts in their professional network. Those who follow up invitations to connect and/or take action have frequently enjoyed additional career development opportunities including additional mentoring, introductions to a wider network and work experience.  

‘I am delighted that this scheme has proven to be such a key event in Leigh’s own personal journey to become a lawyer. It is crucial that students invest time in learning the art of networking and take advantage of the many opportunities to practice in a safe environment whilst at Kent.  This skill is highly sought after by employers and, in my opinion, it is those students who embrace this activity that have most success in progressing into the careers they seek, be it law or otherwise.’

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Mentoring Scheme inspires confidence and self-belief

Being a mentee as part of Kent Law School’s Professional Mentoring Scheme has been an experience that has surpassed the expectations of law student Chantal Cohen, inspiring her with greater confidence and belief in her own achievements.

Chantal, a Senior Status LLB student from Canada, was mentored for the past year by Barrister John Nee of Becket Chambers in Canterbury.

John is one of more than 100 mentors currently subscribed to the Scheme, many of whom are alumni. Mentors 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 the beginning of the Autumn term until the end of the Spring term.

Chantal said: ‘Being a mentee often starts as a game of expectation versus reality. Engaging in a mentoring experience means, managing your expectations and engaging in any opportunities that become available to you. Of course, I, like many students, need actual hands on experience in order to compete in today’s job market. While you are told that this is not part of the mentorship agreement, you nonetheless go into the experience hoping that she/he can help you get further in your career.

‘While, those were my hopes, my experience with the mentoring scheme this year, surpassed my expectations and provided me with far more than I thought I needed. Too often in a competitive job market, new students are left feeling like they have very little to offer firms. This is where I think the schemes really shine through, and this is especially true of my mentor John Nee. What I received through this scheme was a lesson far greater than any job placement, which do not get me wrong, I am very thankful for having received, but the confidence I gained in myself is really the success of this experience.

‘My mentor made sure that he was always providing constructive criticism. This led to a dynamic, which reinforced and provided me with the confidence I needed to recognise that my skills obtained prior to law school, would enable me to stand out from the crowd of other applicants. We worked collectively to ensure that I presented myself in a light that would showcase my achievements and would ensure that an employer would see them as advantageous.’

Commenting on his experience as a mentor, John said: ‘A mentor’s experience is steered by the enthusiasm of his or her charge. It was a pleasure advising Chantal, who took advice well, acted on it, and showed such sustained keenness that I was quite happy to arrange for her to shadow some barristers.

‘Seeing someone grow in stature is a pleasure, and I will watch Chantal’s career with interest. She is very welcome to contact me as she wishes into the future, on the condition (as already agreed between us) that when she is a qualified lawyer, she does the same for the next generation.

‘Good luck Chantal, and well done Kent Law School – there is a world of difference between text book law and the realities of work. This scheme allows students to question mentors about the differences. When a student is as mustard keen as Chantal, opportunities really do appear, provided that student has the chance to meet a mentor wanting to encourage.’

Chantal said she cannot recommend the Mentoring Scheme enough: ‘The best advice I can give is do not worry if a job opportunity does not come out of it, that can come from anywhere. Take advantage of the real highlight and opportunity that comes out of being a mentee, which is as a learning experience.’

Aside from receiving a mini pupillage from Becket Chambers through John Nee, the scheme also enabled Chantal to connect with other legal professionals. An opportunity to network with James Clark of Grosvenor Law at the Mentoring Scheme’s annual networking event in London, led to a two-week work experience at his firm. Chantal credits her mentoring relationship with John for giving her the confidence to be able to maximise her chance meeting with James. She said: ‘I believe the mentoring experience is twofold, it’s partly about getting work experience but it’s also about personal growth.’

Previous participants in the Scheme, who say their mentoring partnership and/or the networking opportunities it affords led to offers of employment include:

  • Kent Law student James Mapley – last summer he was in the enviable position of being able to choose from one of three offers for a training contract
  • Kent Law School alumnus Patrik Jacobsson – last November he began work as a trainee with a leading firm of international solicitors.

In addition to legal professionals working in the UK, the Scheme includes mentors based in Canada, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia, UAE, and the UN in Switzerland. Each year, the Scheme also hosts a networking event in London where mentees have an opportunity to meet their mentors and to develop their networking skills.

The Law School’s Professional Mentoring Scheme is managed by the Law School’s Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone. Full details about the Scheme are available to students on Moodle (see: DP1950 Employability).

Students beginning their studies at Kent Law School in September 2017 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.

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Kent LLM graduate appointed Goodwill Ambassador to UK by University of the Gambia

Kent LLM graduate Solo Demba has been appointed a Goodwill Ambassador to the UK by the University of The Gambia (UTG) in recognition of a ‘life-changing’ donation of law books made by him to its Faculty of Law.

Solo graduated from Kent with a Master’s degree in Law in 2016 and is currently working in the UK as a medic whilst waiting to begin the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) in September.

Solo chose to make a donation of books to UTG in a bid to help raise the quality of legal education in The Gambia.  In an online interview for JollofNews, Solo said: ‘From a realist perspective, the protection of fundamental rights goes beyond the mere application and administration of the laws. Indeed, it is through teaching that practitioners acquire the knowledge and the skills necessary to justly apply laws for the greater benefit of the society. There can be no doubt that with a sense of collectiveness, we will make the Gambia a fairer and just place to live by enhancing and supporting legal education.’

Speaking on behalf of the Faculty of Law at UTG, Professor Abubacarr Senghor expressed gratitude for Solo’s generosity, explaining that, given the economic situation in the country, many parents are not in a position to be able to buy books for their children. He said: ‘This is a life-changing contribution. It is no doubt that Solo contributed significantly to the promotion and strengthening of legal education in our country because the most important instruments for us today are the books.’

Since his graduation from Kent, Solo has also been volunteering at a local community legal centre to develop his legal skills.

The Kent LLM is an innovative one-year Master’s in Law that enables students to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of law by specialising in one or more different areas, according to their career interests and aspirations, even if they are a non-law graduate. More information about the programme and the pathways available can be found on our website, our YouTube playlist and via the student-authored blog, Mastering Law.

Image: Peter Kalment Mendy is pictured presenting the books on behalf of Solo at the office of the Dean of the Faculty of Law, in Kanifing.

Image credit: JollofNews

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Redefining international law through prism of selected WWI artefacts

In a special issue of the London Review of International Law, Dr Luis Eslava and Dr Rose Sydney Parfitt from Kent Law School are amongst five scholars exploring the impact of World War I through the prism of individually selected historical artefacts in an experiment to redefine the field and archive of international law.

Dr Eslava chose a 24-foot-long panorama – The Great War (2013) – by graphic novelist Joe Sacco for his article, ‘The materiality of international law: violence, history and Joe Sacco’s The Great War’. Sacco’s black and white drawing, folded numerous times into a book format, depicts the events of 1 July 1916, the first day of the infamous Battle of the Somme.

Dr Eslava explores two distinct yet interconnected questions that he believes reside at the core of our study of international law; the first about the temporal location of violence in international legal accounts of WWI and the second about where—in which places, sites and objects—we can apprehend the history of the international legal order. What, in short, is the archive of international law?

Through his analysis of Sacco’s panorama, Dr Eslava reveals the structures of authority that underpinned much of the violence of WWI and that continue to permeate the material world that surrounds us today. For Dr Eslava, this is a world that is produced by, and inseparable from, the international legal order.

For her article, Dr Parfitt selected the Anti-Neutral Suit (Vestito antineutrale), a man’s costume designed in 1914 by the Futurist artist Giacomo Balla. With its multi-coloured flame pattern in the red, white and green of the Italian flag, and with its equally eccentric asymmetrical design, the Suit was designed to explode (quite literally) the drab, uniformed turn-of-the-century European world by forcibly transforming the subjectivities of all those who encountered it.

In ‘The Anti-Neutral Suit: international legal futurists, 1914–2017’, Dr Parfitt argues that reading international law through the Suit clarifies the discipline’s role in rendering permanent, ubiquitous and desirable the violence of the ‘First’ ‘World War’. In her analysis, Dr Parfitt considers the Suit alongside present-day anti-neutral outfits and suggests that international law’s most important (individual, collective) subjects are not, in fact, definitively peaceable and egalitarian but rather violently expansionist.

Both articles are amongst five on international law and WWI by members of the HAAIL (History, Anthropology and the Archive of International Law) project, with Madelaine Chiam (Melbourne), Genevieve Painter (Berkeley) and Charlotte Peevers (Glasgow).

Madelaine Chiam’s artefact is an anti-war poster created by the Industrial Workers of the World in Australia; Genevieve Renard Painter analyses a letter to King George V written by members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy from Ohsweken demanding the return of their sons who had enlisted to fight in the Great War; and Charlotte Peevers’s artefact is a memorial to fallen members of the Australian Imperial Forces erected at Port Said, Egypt in 1932, subsequently destroyed in the aftermath of the Suez War of 1956, and later re-erected in Albany, Western Australia, and Canberra, the Australian capital.

Senior Lecturer Dr Eslava works in the areas of International Law, International Legal Theory and History, Anthropology of International Law, Global Governance, Public Law, Law and Development, and Urban Law and Politics.His research focuses on the relationship between international and domestic legal orders, and the effects of this relationship both on our jurisprudential understanding of these areas of law, and on the constitution of everyday life in today’s global order. His recent book Local Space, Global Life: The Everyday Operation of International Law and Development was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

Lecturer Dr Parfitt is interested in the relationship between law, history and art. She is particularly interested in the concept of legal personality (or legal subjectivity) and its role in the distribution of wealth, power and pleasure within states and across the global legal order. Her current research project aims to put pressure on the taken-for-granted opposition between fascism and international law.  Her book, Conditional State(ment)s: A Material History of International Legal Reproduction, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.

Both Dr Eslava and Dr Parfitt are Co-Organisers of the International Law and Politics Collaborative Research Network (CRN) at the Law and Society Association.

The London Review of International Law is a peer-reviewed journal for critical, innovative and cutting-edge scholarship on international law. The latest issue (Volume 5, Issue 1) is available free and in full online.

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Final few law students at Medway reflect on experience of part-time study

This summer, six of the last ten law students on Kent’s Medway campus graduated from Rochester Cathedral after completing six years of part-time evening study.

Going forward, all students applying to study law, whether full-time or part-time at Kent, are now taught at Kent’s main campus in Canterbury (with part-time study at Canterbury offered during the daytime only.)

As Kent Law School prepares for its final year of teaching at Medway, staff and students have been reflecting on their experiences of juggling home and work commitments with their studies.

Dr Karen Devine, Academic Lead for Medway, said: ‘On behalf of all the staff that have taught at Medway over the years, we are delighted to see our (almost) final cohort of part-time evening Law LLB students graduate from Rochester Cathedral. To successfully combine study with work and childcare/caring commitments to achieve a degree is an amazing feat, but to have the stamina and determination to dedicate six years of one’s life to doing so is truly remarkable. We are immensely proud of them all and wish them further success in everything they do in the future.’

The six students who graduated at Rochester Cathedral on Tuesday 18 July included Gemma Blythe, Lee Georgiou, Hayley Goucher and Mandeep Pannu with Rosemary Hawkins and Kelly Sharpe graduating in absentia.

Thinking back on her decision to commit to six years of part-time study, Gemma said: ‘When I decided to enrol as a law student, I was already working at a law firm as a legal secretary so did not have time to attend lectures and seminars during the day. I also had my own personal commitments, I have my own family and children, so it had to be a part-time course that I could fit in around my then current commitments. At first the thought of the extra studies was quite daunting but once I was in a routine, everything fell into place.

‘The biggest benefit to me was being able to listen to lectures online in my own time. I would usually listen to them and read after I had put my children to bed!  Whilst studying, I applied for a job as a caseworker at my firm and was successful. I felt my employers appreciated the dedication I had shown through working and studying at the same time. I am very lucky to work for such a supportive and encouraging law firm, Tuckers Solicitors LLP (then Kent Defence).

Hayley had a three-year old daughter when she first began her LLB Law studies and wasn’t able to stop working: ‘Although it was difficult to juggle everything, it certainly was worth the effort because studying the LLB has changed me not only educationally, but also as a person and my outlook on life.  The LLB has instilled me with fantastic analytical and problem solving skills which I feel has helped prepare me for a career in law.

‘I have absolutely enjoyed my time studying law at the Medway Campus and it is a real shame that it is now closing down.  All of the teaching staff were approachable and very supportive, and because it was a much smaller circle, it felt like a close network, which was really nice.  The facilities at the Drill Hall Library were fantastic also.

‘I could not have asked for more inspirational, supportive teachers who really help you to reach your full potential.  I feel truly proud to be a graduate from Kent Law School.’

Both Hayley and Gemma agree that part-time study is an excellent option for those with with family and/or work commitments.

Gemma said: ‘ The University of Kent and, in particular Kent Law School, have been so supportive! I feel very honoured to have obtained a Bachelor of Law with Upper Second Class Honours from Kent, as it is recognised as a respected critical law school and I would recommend it to anyone with a passion for law and learning. Go for it!’

Students taking the part-time route at Canterbury study the equivalent of the full-time LLB over a total of six years, covering the same content as the full-time course but with half the course load each year. Part-time study takes place at varying times Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm, alongside full time students.  Anyone interested in applying for part-time studies at Kent should apply directly to the University rather than through UCAS. There is no fixed closing date but you are encouraged to apply for your programme as early as possible.

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Law Clinic solicitor completes Antarctic expedition

Kent Law Clinic solicitor Sheona York spent her vacation completing an expedition in the Antarctic this summer, following in the footsteps of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Sheona, an immigration and asylum specialist, is also an accomplished rock climber and mountaineer with 30 years of experience amassed from climbing in the UK and across the world.

This year she joined an Australian commercial expedition to mark the 100 years’ anniversary of the final leg of Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. In 1917, Shackleton was forced to sail 800 miles with five men to seek help from a remote whaling station in Stromness on the island of South Georgia while his remaining crew of 22 men were left stranded on a tiny rocky beach on Elephant Island.

Sheona began her own epic journey in Ushuaia, on the southern tip of South America where she sailed in a Russian boat with a Russian crew, 50 passengers and 10 expedition staff to the Antarctic peninsular. From there, following in Shackleton’s footsteps, the expedition crossed the Weddell Sea to Elephant Island and then on to the island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean. Sheona was one of only six experienced climbers chosen to make the two-day traverse of the South Georgia mountains.

The gruelling voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia took two weeks for Shackleton but only three days for Sheona although 12 hours spent sailing in a force 12 gale proved to be a daunting experience. Sheona said: ‘It felt like being in a washing machine on spin, with the ship juddering as if cars and locomotives were being thrown at it, and waves breaking over the entire deck. Hard to even remain lying down in a cabin bunk without being thrown onto the floor with all our belongings. Hard indeed to imagine how six men survived in an open wooden boat, navigating by dead reckoning and making calculations with a pencil from damp log tables and chipping ice off their only sail.’

By the time Shackleton reached South Georgia his small crew had run out of fresh water and were forced to land on the west coast of the island. To reach the whaling station on the east coast, Shackleton took just two companions to cross the unmapped mountainous interior of South Georgia – in winter.  After successfully following in Shackleton’s footsteps across crevasses and high passes to reach Fortuna Bay, Sheona’s team was rejoined by the rest of the crew and passengers for a final 7km hike over a pass to Stromness.

In the museum at Grytviken, a remote whaling station on the island where Shackleton is buried, Sheona later saw the climbing equipment used by Shackleton’s crew – a brass sextant, a Primus stove, leather boots with screws for crampons, a carpenter’s adze for an ice axe, and some old ship’s rope. Sheona said: ‘It was sobering for us climbers, with beautiful lightweight modern equipment including GPS, and absolutely perfect weather, to cross this terrain. Even for us there was no prospect of any rescue, since we were the only serious climbers on the ship, and the nearest medical services were on the Falklands, another three days sail away. Crossing through the crevasses, our guide would say “Footwork of your life, ladies!”

Sheona has previously climbed extensively in the Arabian desert where she was among the first Europeans to ascend many traditional Bedouin routes without a guide. She has also climbed the Munros in Scotland, her own account of which is available from Amazon (and a film of her climbing her ‘last Munro’ is on YouTube.)

Back on terra firma, Sheona is also a Reader at the Law Clinic where she is involved in teaching, research and policy work. Before joining the Clinic, she practised for many years at Hammersmith & Fulham Community Law Centre and was Principal Legal Officer for the Immigration Advisory Service. In April 2015, the ITV drama Code of a Killer highlighted the pivotal role that Sheona had played in pioneering the use of DNA fingerprinting in legal proceedings in 1985.

Sheona on the ship’s bridge

Descending through crevasses from the Tridents

Lunch at Crean Camp

Crossing towards the Nunatak

Beside Shackleton’s grave

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Kent alumna wins Junior Lawyer of the Year Award 2017

Kent alumna Melanie Christodoulou has been named Junior Lawyer of the Year in the Kent Law Society Awards 2017.

Melanie graduated from Kent Law School in 2012 with a first class honours degree in Law and now works as a Private Trusts and Estates Solicitor at Furley Page in Canterbury where she specialises in Lasting Powers of Attorney, Will drafting, administration of estates and trust creation and administration.

Melanie was one of only four solicitors in Kent shortlisted for the annual award which seeks to recognise the contribution (paid or unpaid) made by lawyers to their local community over the previous year. Nominees were judged in a number of areas, including notable achievements, innovation and creativity, and the highest standards of professionalism. The award was presented at Kent Law Society’s annual dinner in Maidstone by Nick Paterno, Managing Partner of the award sponsor McBrides Chartered Accountants.

While a student at Kent Law School, Melanie worked as a volunteer receptionist at Kent Law Clinic and was the Commercial Awareness Officer for Kent Student Law Society, one of seven student societies at the Law School. Since graduating she has continued to remain involved with the Law School and now comes back each year to talk to law students about the importance of developing and demonstrating commercial awareness. She also provides ‘mock’ interviews, is a volunteer adviser for the Law Clinic, and is an active member of the Law School’s Professional Mentoring Scheme, providing personalised advice and guidance to students seeking to pursue a legal career. Melanie also recently instigated a mentoring initiative for Greek speaking students at Kent to help highlight how Greek language skills could be of benefit in future legal careers.

The Law School’s Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone said: ‘Melanie makes a significant and very valued contribution to the careers and employability support offered to law students at Kent. She works closely with Kent Student Law Society to organise an annual mock interview competition for students and is currently mentoring five law students in our Professional Mentoring Scheme. She has always been willing to contribute her time and we are delighted to see her win this award.’

Melanie said: ‘I am extremely grateful for the award and look forward to continuing my work and assistance to the Kent Law School students.’

Melanie is one of a number of Kent alumni who have contributed their career story to the Law School’s collection of online alumni profiles. You can also learn more about Melanie’s current role at Furley Page on their website.

The prestigious annual Junior Lawyer of the Year Award was previously won in 2014 by another Kent Law School alumna (and Furley Page solicitor), Alexandra Gordon. A full list of previous winners is available on the Kent Law Society website.

Image credit: Photo-Team.co.uk
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Research Assistantship Scheme for students culminates in day of presentations

Kent Law School’s Research Assistantship Scheme culminated in a day of presentations last week for more than more than 20 law students who had been selected to work on short-term research projects.

The scheme, now in its fourth year, enables undergraduate and postgraduate taught students to develop and extend their skills in desk based legal and socio-legal research by working on an in-depth research project under the direction of an academic from the Law School.

The students, selected from amongst 40 who applied for the paid positions, spent six weeks undertaking their research before gathering together on Thursday to share their findings and experiences in a series of 10-minute presentations.

During their presentations, as well as sharing the scope and topic of their research project, students reflected upon the scheme itself and considered what they had learnt.

Law Lecturer Nick Piska, who managed the scheme said: ‘Our aim, with the presentation day, was to provide an informal and supportive environment in which students could reflect upon their work. It was also a gentle introduction to the “other” side of the academic research environment – having done the research they then had a chance to enjoy sharing some of their findings.’

The scheme, first piloted at the School in 2014, involves an open call to academic staff who wish to have a research assistant for a fixed period in June and July. The research assistant jobs (together with individual project titles) are then advertised to Law School students through Kent Union’s Jobshop.

Projects set by staff on the scheme vary broadly but can include: a literature review on a particular topic; creation of a database; scoping potential research projects; assisting with funding bids; assistance with teaching projects; knowledge transfer projects; and scholarship projects such as reports, blogs, newsletters etc.

This year applicants were selected by a panel comprising Nick, Steve Crawford (a part-time director of the scheme from the postgraduate research community) and Jayne Instone, the School’s Employability and Career Development Officer. Successful applicants were then assigned to a particular staff project with staff members responsible for providing guidance as to the specific nature of the work required over the duration of placement.

Nick and Steve oversaw the provision of research training and day to day supervision. They also ensured a reasonable plan and schedule of work was agreed between staff and students with both parties having a shared expectation of what the project outcome would be.

Steve said: ‘The scheme is run to provide an opportunity for students to experience a more in-depth research environment, working on an extended research project to a greater depth of study than is available during most taught law degrees. It also provides useful work experience for students who might consider research based career paths, and helps to give an insight into the nature of the current projects being undertaken by Kent Law School staff.’

Research assistant Andrew Clarke, a second-year undergraduate student studying English and Spanish Law, said: ‘ The Research Assistantship Scheme provided me with invaluable insight about conducting academic research within a set time frame. The independent nature of the scheme coupled with the opportunity to work alongside legal professionals allowed me to develop useful time management and research techniques which I can apply in further studies, such as a PHD or research masters, as well as during the remaining years of my undergraduate degree where I will be able to enhance the quality of my written assignments.’

Final year Law LLB student Aastha Aggarwal said: ‘Apart from the educational advantage, the scheme helped me build up on key skills such as analytical and critical thinking. Moreover, the work hours were quite flexible which meant that I could easily take on other commitments. Overall, it was a great experience.’

Professor Sally Sheldon, who participated in the scheme, was impressed by the quality and variety of research work undertaken by students:  ‘It was clear that the students who had been involved had got an awful lot out of their participation.​’

Senior Lecturer Sebastian Payne was also impressed by the students’ presentations: ‘It was very encouraging to see such talented students (undergraduate and postgraduate) fired up by their research work.’

The full list of students who participated in this year’s scheme, together with the topics they researched is as follows:

  • Rachel Bale: e-conveyancing – law and/as technology
  • Freya Rawlins: Multi-lateral trade and the inward turn
  • Nusrat Khan: Critical approach to cultural heritage law
  • Mark Nagy-Miticzcky: Ten years after – was the great recession a critical juncture? International Law
  • George Hill & Luminita Olteanu: The Iraq Inquiry – evaluating the impact of the international law submissions on the Chilcot Report
  • Isdore Ozuo: Resistance and the museum of international law Pamela Enekebe: Humanitarian complicity
  • Faraz Yousafzai: ISIL, foreign fighters and the emerging architecture of global security law
  • Andrew Clarke: Lists, databases and global security law Gender and Equality 1
  • Toluwani Mokuolou & Aastha Aggarwal: The Abortion Act – a biography
  • Suleen Latif & Anthony Dillon: Decriminalisation of abortion
  • Olohirere Longe & Rachel Bale: Feminist constitutionalism – a comparative analysis of constitutional provisions
  • Kylie Ochuodho: Diverse unities of law – leadership and diversity in law schools
  • Mihai Covrig: Rights of unmarried cohabitants in the UK
  • Daniel Bradbury & Roxana Cioara: Labour exploitation and illegal migrant workers
  • Sam Todd: The first women police
  • Amy Marsella: Reimagining the state and conservative Christian anti-gay withdrawal
  • Joshua Grundy: Housing regulation in British seaside towns
  • Sudip Sarker: Regulations relating to buildings in England and Wales – a review of legislation

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New book edited by Dr Simone Wong

A new book co-edited by Kent Reader in Law Dr Simone Wong explores the distribution of wealth and poverty in traditional and non-traditional familial relationships.

Wealth and Poverty in Close Personal Relationships (Routledge, 2017) is co-edited with Professor Susan Millns, Head of the Law School at the University of Sussex. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to explore the way in which money matters are structured and governed within close personal relationships and the extent to which they have an impact on the nature and economic dynamics of relationships.

The key areas of investigation are the extent to which participation in the labour market, unpaid caregiving, inheritance, pensions and welfare reform have an impact on familial relationships. The book also explores governmental and legal responses by investigating the privileging of certain types of domestic relationships, through fiscal and non-fiscal measures, and the differential provision on relationship breakdown. The impact of budget and welfare cuts is also examined for their effect on equality in domestic relationships.

Dr Wong has research interests in equity, trusts, banking, cohabitation and other domestic relationships. In addition to being a member of Lincoln’s Inn in the UK, she has been called to the Bar in Malaysia, Singapore and the Australian Capital Territory. Prior to her joining Kent in 1998, Simone had practised in Malaysia (1986-1989) and Singapore (1990-1994). She teaches Banking Law as well as Equity & Trusts at Kent Law School.

Wealth and Poverty in Close Personal Relationships includes a chapter authored by Dr Wong entitled: ‘Death and the distribution of property of unmarried cohabitants.’

A further book chapter authored this year by Dr Wong – ‘Tapping into trust assets for redistribution upon divorce in England and Wales’ – is published in Trusts and Modern Wealth Management (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

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Johanne Thompson wins Barbara Morris Prize for outstanding learning support

Kent Law Lecturer Johanne Thompson has been awarded Kent’s prestigious Barbara Morris Prize in recognition of outstanding work in the area of learning support.

The first prize of £2,500 was awarded to Johanne for her work developing and directing the Law School’s annual Revision Conference and for the sustained impact that the conference has had upon stage 2 undergraduate student performance.

The selection panel, chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education Professor April McMahon, reviewed evaluative data which demonstrated an uplift in exam performance for students attending the conference across the years and described the conference as a “worthwhile and beneficial initiative”.

Johanne said: ‘I am delighted to receive this award, not only for myself but on behalf of Kent Law School.  Without the commitment of all the module convenors and the Law School’s Professional Services staff, this conference would not have been the success that it has been. The students who attended should also be congratulated; these revision sessions can, on occasion, be quite intense.’

Head of Kent Law School Professor Toni Williams said: ‘The Revision Conference is an outstanding initiative that offers students timely support tailored to their particular needs at exam time. The conference has reached out effectively to students across the School’s large and diverse stage 2 cohort and achieved impressive levels of student participation and engagement. Its success is evident in the students’ reports of increased confidence to tackle the exams and, significantly, in the substantially better exam results of conference participants.’

The Revision Conference has continued to evolve since it was first run in 2015. Designed to help consolidate learning of core modules, the conference provides sessions on how to apply knowledge and on how to employ the exam techniques required to gain maximum marks. Growing numbers of students have been taking advantage of the conference over the last three years with up to 350 students registering for individual sessions.

This year’s event, held in Woolf College in May, was extended from two to three days and included revision lectures and workshops delivered by the convenors of core modules in EU law LW593, Law of Obligations LW597, Equity and Trusts LW598 and Land Law LW599. There were sessions delivered by the University’s Student Learning Advisory Service as well as additional sessions in mindfulness and meditation exercises to help alleviate exam stress. The Law School’s Law Advisers and the Kent Law School Skills Hub team were also available during the conference to offer support. Additional resources were made available to students on Moodle (the University’s virtual learning environment).

It is hoped next year’s event, to be held in Woolf College in May 2018, will be opened up to include sessions on optional modules such as The Law of Evidence LW518 and Company Law and Capitalism LW520.

Johanne is convenor of the Client Interviewing module at Kent Law School. Earlier this year she helped organise the Brown-Mosten International Client Consultation Competition which was hosted by Kent. She is also the Law School’s Deputy Director of Mooting and is Deputy Director of Admissions with Canadian responsibilities.

The Barbara Morris Prize is awarded annually to applicants who can demonstrate excellent practice and provide appropriate evidence of their impact on the student experience at Kent. Last year the Barbara Morris Prize was awarded to both Kent Law School’s Skills Hub team (Dr Kirsty Horsey, Ben Watson, Callum Borg, Katia Neofytou and Jonjo Brady) and the team from the Law School’s Student Advice Office (Jude O’Connor, Jo Harvey, Hattie Peacock and Dr Paul Hubert).

Johanne will receive her award from the University’s Vice-Chancellor at a lunchtime ceremony for all the winners of this year’s annual University Teaching prizes on Wednesday 4 October in Darwin Conference Suite.

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