First Canadian to graduate from the Inns of Court

First-Class Senior Status Law Degree student Jeremy Kingsford shares his story as an international graduate and his forthcoming pupillage

What made you chose Kent Law School?

I first heard about studying law in the UK from a childhood friend who had just finished studying there herself. She had recently returned to Canada and had finished writing her equivalency exams to enable her to write the Bar in Ontario. I learned from her about the undergraduate nature of law studies in the United Kingdom and the existence of Senior Status programs for those with previous degrees, seeking to accelerate their studies. I discovered the University of Kent’s program when looking at the various schools that offered such Senior Status degrees. I was attracted to the locality of Canterbury and the reputation of the University’s law clinic as the best in the country.

As an international student from Canada, tuition was a daunting hurdle to overcome. However, I was awarded one of two annual scholarships for international students which I maintained for the length of my degree. I went on to achieve a First-Class Senior Status Law Degree before going on to be the first Canadian to graduate from the Inns of Court College of Advocacy with a postgraduate degree in Bar Practice.

What extra-curricula experiences did you get involved with?

During my time at Kent, I was able to obtain a number of valuable experiences that empowered me to succeed. I joined both the Canadian Law Society and the Kent Law Temple Society on campus. These groups allowed me to become involved in mooting as well as the attendance of numerous talks from barristers who were able to share their experiences at the Bar. While the pandemic limited social interactions, I was able to participate in the Law School’s mock trial module taught by Darren Weir and alternative dispute resolution workshops led by Bernard Richmond KC.

I partook in the Law School’s professional mentorship scheme. On the advice of my mentor, I began volunteering as an Appropriate Adult with the Young Lives Foundation in Kent. As an essential service, this provided me with the chance to gain legal experience even in the most severe times of the country’s lock downs. While this was not court experience it gave me insight into police interview and questioning techniques as well as the role of legal counsel during such events. Working with juveniles in this environment has also inspired me to focus my criminal practise in the future on the Youth Court.

In my second year, I took on a leadership role as president of the Kent Law Temple Society and focused my efforts on providing students with advocacy opportunities despite the online nature of the majority of the academic year. This included introducing bail applications to the society’s existing advocacy program and the creation of the George Pulman KC competition. As president, I had the opportunity to interact with many of our guest speakers which provided me with a network to consult and receive guidance from. The most insightful experience achieved through this was a week-long criminal mini pupillage which allowed me to attend a crown court trial from beginning to end.

And tell us about your pupillage.

This mini-pupillage opportunity combined with my reading of the Secret Barrister confirmed my desire to pursue a career with the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom. While my Canadian peers made plans to return home, I had my first experience of the pupillage application process. Though unsuccessful, it was immensely valuable to understand the process and what the interviewers were looking for. These lessons combined with my experiences enabled me to succeed in my second attempt at obtaining pupillage with the Crown Prosecution Service.

After completing the rigorous Bar Practice Course (BPC) at the Inns of Court College of Advocacy, I am now set to begin my pupillage locally in Canterbury with the Crown Prosecution Service this September. I am immensely grateful for the experiences and guidance I received during my time at the University of Kent and am certain that I would not have achieved pupillage without them. Law school is demanding work but making the time to become involved in extracurriculars particularly those related to law can give you insight and provide invaluable opportunities which will set you apart from the volume of other candidates competing for the limited number of pupillages available each year.

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