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Discounted SQE preparation with BARBRI collaboration

  • Goldsmiths’ students will now have access to an exclusive discount for BARBRI SQE1 Prep.
  • Students at Goldsmiths engage with SQE subjects and methodologies and can select an SQE module, during their LLB degree.
  • BARBRI will now be the preferred SQE provider for Goldsmiths, where students can successfully prepare to sit the examination.
  • This collaboration will broaden access to the profession.

We are delighted to announce our collaboration with global legal education provider, BARBRI, to offer increased access to Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) preparation.

Officially introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in 2021 to diversify the profession, the SQE will replace the Legal Practice Course (LPC) as the new route to qualification for aspiring lawyers in England and Wales. With over 1,000 candidates receiving their inaugural SQE1 results in January 2022, more prospective lawyers are now hoping to pursue the SQE.

Through this timely collaboration, our aspiring lawyers at Goldsmiths will be able to prepare for the SQE1 with BARBRI at a discounted rate. Developed by internationally renowned legal and training experts, BARBRI’s SQE Prep has been carefully crafted with LawTech at its core to equip students with the in-depth knowledge and tools needed to achieve SQE success.

BARBRI’s courses help students prepare for both elements – SQE1 and SQE2 – which include multiple-choice questions and skills assessments.

Commenting on the collaboration, Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Head of Department of Law at Goldsmiths, said: “Goldsmiths has a rich academic heritage, and we pride ourselves on our thought-provoking environment and ability to innovate, including with the outward-looking approach we take to legal education. This collaboration with BARBRI will bolster our ethos of constantly pursuing synergies between legal theory and professional practice and will support our students and alumni beyond their university experience to thrive in their future endeavours.”

“We were one of the first Law Schools in the UK to incorporate SQE content and methodologies into our degree, as early as 2019. We did that by introducing a specialist SQE module in the final year of studies and embedding SQE materials across a range of foundation and elective modules. We were looking to complete this preparation programme for the SQE by carefully selecting a preferred external SQE provider, and we are thrilled that we will be working with BARBRI. As the preferred SQE destination for our students, we are looking forward to creating opportunities for BARBRI to work with them throughout their degrees. All this will ensure our aspiring lawyers can prepare for the new SQE with tried and tested preparation methods and access mentor support from industry experts to ensure success.”

Chris Jorgenson, Senior Director of Institutional Partnerships for BARBRI, said: “We’re proud to be working with Goldsmiths to support their students and widen access to our SQE Prep courses. We’re proactively working with carefully selected university partners and firms to help increase accessibility and ensure we are creating a profession that is truly representative of society today. We appreciate that this is a key mission for the SRA but to truly make this achievable, education providers, firms and third-party organisations all have an essential role to play. We look forward to seeing Goldsmiths’ graduates successfully navigate the SQE pathway and effectuate positive change in society as solicitors.”

​​BARBRI’s innovative testing and learning technologies provide future solicitors with the best opportunity to succeed. It offers a range of full-time and part-time course options to prepare candidates for SQE success.

 

 

Climate justice, BLM, human rights: Goldsmiths Law workshops in schools continue apace

Our Department of Law is passionate about connecting with young students in schools across London and the UK, and across a range of educational settings, with a view to engaging them with, and giving them a platform to participate in, contemporary debates through a socio-legal lens.

Our Knowing Our Rights project, which seeks to raise awareness about the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights in the UK, through the Human Rights Act, has provided a great platform for this work, enabling us to connect with approximately 3,000 students, both in person and virtually, since launching the project.

At the end of March, we were delighted to virtually visit St Margaret’s School, an independent co-ed school in Bushey. Our Dr Fatima Ahdash delivered an exciting and highly relevant workshop on human rights, social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The workshop was a great hit: dynamic and highly interactive from the start. St Margaret’s impressively brilliant students were highly engaged. They actively participated in a debate on whether the Human Rights Act 1998 should be repealed and replaced with a British Bill of Rights — a highly controversial political project — and they offered some truly insightful reflections on how, and the extent to which, human rights law can tackle institutional racism in the UK.

Earlier this academic year, on December 10, international human rights day, three students from the Human Rights Law & Clinic module joined our Head of Department, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, in an in-person visit to Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), one of the biggest sixth forms in the country, where they delivered the Knowing Our Rights workshop to students in the human rights law A level class there.

Our Knowing Our Rights workshops continue throughout May and June with planned visits to a number of secondary schools, where we will be delivering two different workshops, on climate justice and human rights, and on BLM and human rights.

We are thrilled that there has been such a positive response to this initiative, and are always looking forward to extending the reach of our work to all schools who would be interested in injecting human rights law elements into their curriculum in this way (please email us at Law@gold.ac.uk if you would like your school to take part in this programme).

In house lawyer visit to leading mobile/broadband firm Liberty Global

As part of teaching in the SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination) module, our Year 3 students have had the exceptional opportunity to visit the offices of Liberty Global, a world leader in converged broadband, video and mobile communications and an active investor in cutting-edge infrastructure, content and technology ventures, who invest in fibre-based and 5G networks.

We are very thankful to Andrea Murray for speaking to our students for the role of the in house lawyer in a major multinational firm like Liberty Global, and the career opportunities that exist there. Andrea is a senior lawyer at Virgin Media 02, one of the largest mobile and broadband companies in the UK which is co-owned by Liberty Global.  Andrea was joined  by Hannah Beresford, a legal adviser at Liberty Global, who also advised on the SQE.

The visit was organised by the convenor of the SQE module, our Lecturer in Legal Practice, Dr Sally Adams. Dr Aysem Diker Vanberg also joined the visit with some of her Commercial Law students.

Why studying Law at Goldsmiths is unique

Studying Law at Goldsmiths is a distinctive learning experience. It equips you with unique career skills. Just check out our students’ itinerary from the last two weeks and see for yourselves why.

Monday 7 March

10 a.m.: French academic Jérémy Bourgais, from the University of Poitiers, visits the ‘English Legal System in a Global Context’ class to speak about criminal trials in France and Europe. Students are asked to imagine where they would sit, and what roles they would play, in a French courtroom, and identify differences with English courts. Our programme has a strong international focus!

Head of Mishcon Academy, Patrick Connolly, speaking about training contracts to Goldsmiths Law students

4.30 p.m.: Leading law firm Mishcon de Reya visit us on campus. Students are given guidance about when and how to apply for a training contract. In your applications, show how “you are unique” is the key message; talk about all the work you have done in your programme to show how you stand out from other candidates.

 

Tuesday 8 March, 10 a.m.

Year 1 students visit the highest court in the land, the UK Supreme Court (as part of their Public Law lectures). They take part in a workshop about the history and role of the court, attend a live hearing, visit the Court’s exhibition and discuss their experience over coffee and cake with their lecturers at the end.

Friday March 11, 9 a.m.

It’s Year 1 students again. This time they’re taking part in a Crown Court mock trial, in the Council Chamber at the Deptford Town Hall, in front of barrister, and actor, Ms Shereener Browne, who plays the role of a witness.

Monday March 14, 5 p.m.

Students participate in our Law careers fair, with speakers from leading firms like Macfarlanes and Kingsley Napley to NGOs and charities such as Justice and Lawyers Against Poverty. Students meet senior prosecutors and experts from the Crown Prosecution Service too, and begin to think about careers there; the CPS is the biggest legal employer in the UK.

Wednesday March 16, 10 a.m.

We’re in the heart of legal London, visiting ‘Magic Circle’ law firm Linklaters. Our students meet Competition Law experts and learn about the competitive process of applying there. The term ‘Magic Circle’ describes the five most prestigious, London-headquartered, law firms, which offer lucrative careers to those aspiring to work in areas such as corporate law, commercial law or banking law and intellectual property.

Thursday, March 17

11 a.m.: Year 3 students in the ‘Criminal Evidence’ module do a jury deliberations exercise (The Evidence Chamber) with a former theatre company. The jury of 12 are each given an iPad and have electronic evidence presented to them — e.g. a DNA match, and recordings from the police interrogation of the suspect — before they’re asked to consider their verdict.

6 p.m.: the department organises a night out in London, for the opening night of the Human Rights Watch London film festival, at the Barbican Centre, where we watch Silence Heard Loud and take part in the post-screening Q & A.

An exciting range of activities follow on until the end of term, from a ‘Grenfell tort claims’ exercise to a debating exercise (in International Trade Law ) and theatre trip (in Criminal Law), a mock trial at the Old Bailey (in Criminal Evidence) as well as visits to Mishcon de Reya’s offices and the Van Gogh immersive exhibition in the ‘Art Law’ module.

Studying Law at Goldsmiths is so much more than going to lectures and seminars on campus. We have a Law programme that is uniquely vibrant, professionally empowering and intellectually stimulating.

If you want to find out more about studying Law at Goldsmiths, get in touch via law@gold.ac.uk

Letter condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine

Joining forces with 90 leading legal academics and other academic scholars, barristers, solicitors and other legal professionals, NGO experts and politicians, from across the UK and other parts of Europe, Goldsmiths Law academics have drafted, signed and widely circulated an open letter that:

(a) condemns the Russian Federation’s criminal aggression in Ukraine and all that follows from it;

(b) calls upon the UK, USA and France – the three Permanent Five Members of the Security Council – to put political pressure on Russia to accept the authority of both the ICJ and ICC for judicial resolution (noting that it is a time of reckoning for China too, which has the opportunity to support the above action).

(c) (failing that) calls for an ad hoc justice mechanism to bring Putin, and those around him, to justice.

The letter has been forwarded to the Foreign Secretary in the UK, and will be sent to relevant authorities in the United States and France too.

The Law Society Gazzette, East London Lines and The Times have reported on the initiative.

Faced with untold humanitarian tragedy, and the blatant violations of international law committed by Putin in Ukraine, our Universities, and key external organisations that UK Universities are partnering with, have a moral responsibility to actively defend international law and the rule of law, and do what they can to help stop the excruciating human suffering in the cities and towns, and hospitals, maternity wards and schools, and the residential houses that Russian aggression has indiscriminately bombed in Ukraine, and to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Our letter can be downloaded from here: Letter to Foreign Secretary on Russian aggression in Ukraine and international law

For media inquiries, please email Law@gold.ac.uk

How and why commercial law firms are changing their recruitment processes. What can students do to adapt to the changes?

On March 3d, we had the pleasure of welcoming to Goldsmiths (virtually) Craig Sharpe, a marketing consultant with solicitors firm Axiom DWFM. Craig spoke to students about how commercial law firms are changing their recruitment practices, and how they can adapt to changes. In this blog posts, he offers a more detailed analysis on this question.

A useful starting point in addressing the above question is to recognise that most if not all of the changes impacting the legal sector in the last 10-15 years apply equally to almost all other service sectors. In the legal sector, due to longstanding traditions and operating as regulated profession, change has been slower but has gathered pace.

Consequently, the following points will hopefully be useful to  students generally.

Causes of major change in the legal sector

  • Supply and demand – there has been a significant long term increase in the number of lawyers qualifying. For many areas of legal practice there has not been a commensurate increase in the demand for legal services and advice. Where a dynamic arises of an oversupply, buyers gain the advantage and this a major cause of significantly increased competition in the legal market.
  • The internet – the internet has impacted every business sector and law is no exception. Lawyers no longer have a monopoly on information and prospective clients can and invariably do research their legal issues and needs on the internet. Prospective clients will also generally look at the availability (where they are looking for local advice) and reputation of lawyers and law firms online, so developing a strong presence and good reputation online, both for firms and individuals is strongly advisable . Clients are increasingly looking for lawyers to be good overall business advisers as well as good technical lawyers. Clients expect a higher degree of “commercial awareness”, proactivity and sometimes a degree of risk sharing between lawyers and clients.
  • Erradication of professional exclusivity – historically, only qualified lawyers could offer legal advice but this has changed over the last 15-20 years. It is now possible for other professional service providers and even large businesses to employ lawyers and to offer some legal services themselves i.e not via law firms. Accountants, for example, may now offer some legal advice and services and they have an advantage over lawyers in that they will often have far more regular contact with clients than lawyers do (as many clients traditionally only contact lawyers for a specific need which may not occur that regularly). So, competitive forces are compelling law firms and individual lawyers to be far more dynamic and to consider client needs in a more holistic manner – in other words, this is another example of the importance of “commercial awareness”.

Impact of changes on how law firms recruit

Whilst few law firms will openly admit it, the competitive and client pressures outlined above have compelled them to make significant changes to stay competitive.

Some law firms have adopted an approach of embracing and getting ahead of the changes in business and the legal sector. Others are still resisting the changes as much as they can or burying their heads in the sand but those firms are facing a difficult future.

So, how are the changes reflected in legal recruitment, especially recruitment of paralegals and trainees? A few examples include :

  • Law firms specifically testing applicants’ mentality, adaptability, ability to think creatively about business scenarios as well as legal scenarios and assigning a significant amount of importance to these aspects as well as legal skills and acumen.
  • An increase in the number of firms bringing in paralegals which enables the firm to better gauge the applicant’s ability to demonstrate dynamism, team play, a can do and mature approach when contrasted with the traditional recruitment approach which only offers a brief “snapshot” of the candidate. In other words, because recruiting staff with the right mentality as described above is so important in an ultra-competitive market, this is a “try before you buy” approach.

Practical ways students can prepare before approaching law firms

Given the skillsets and mindsets law firms are looking for are now often going beyond legal skills, it make sense for students to develop skills and a business approach before applying to them. There is no 100% right answer or approach but it may be worth considering :

  • Getting as much varied and practical business experience as you can – anything that is customer focused is good but sales and marketing are especially good areas.
  • Start thinking about the importance and value of building your contacts. Spotting networking opportunities, opportunities to help others, make introductions and connect with people and build relationships requires a mindset that often comes from habit. As the classic marketing phrase states “it’s a process not an event”.
  • Read some general business skills books – there are a plethora on amazon. A few examples, (not recommendations) are this book and also this one.
  • For more commercial law firms, an understanding of or some experience or skills in IP is very useful. Almost all commercial contracts and/or transactions have IP elements now.

Craig Sharpe is a marketing consultant with Axiom DWFM. Prior to his marketing career, Craig practised as a civil and commercial lawyer for nearly 15 years.

 

 

 

Visiting Professor Kirsty Brimelow QC appointed a recorder

Kirsty Brimelow QC teaching at Goldsmiths

Our Visiting Professor, Kirsty Brimelow QC, of Doughty Street Chambers, and former Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee, has been appointed as a Recorder, sitting on the South Eastern Circuit. We would like to express our warmest congratulations to her.

The Queen has appointed 163 Recorders on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, The Right Honourable Dominic Raab MP, and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Right Honourable The Lord Burnett of Maldon. See the full list of deployed Recorders here.

Kirsty has in depth practitioner expertise in criminal law and also in public law and international human rights law, with particular expertise in homicide, fraud, sexual offences, drugs and torture cases, child rights and vulnerable witness cases and the law of peaceful protest. Kirsty is bringing all this to Goldsmiths as well as leading expertise in legal practice, fact finding, mediation and diplomacy, case management, interviewing vulnerable witnesses, and an in depth experience in training lawyers, Judges, magistrates, the police and NGO workers.

Dr Dagmar Myslinska appointed a Trustee for the Migrants’ Rights Network

Dr Dagmar Myslinska was recently asked to join the board of trustees of the Migrants’ Rights Network. MRN works with and for migrant communities, by engaging in various campaign and policy projects to effectuate a more just and equal society for all migrants. In addition to influencing stakeholders and effectuating structural change, MRN builds alliances with individuals and organisations so that migrants are adequately represented at all levels of society. Its dynamic approach relies on a plurality of methods in pursuit of real change, including strengthening and supporting migrant leadership and the capacity of the organisations that work with migrants; engaging in policy and advocacy projects; and pursuing collective action and legal approaches.

Dagmar is honoured to help guide this visionary NGO’s long-term strategy, contributing to the fight to secure for all migrants the rights to which they are entitled.

As a trustee, Dagmar will collaborate with other board members to help ensure that MRN is achieving its objectives while complying with its governing document and other legal requirements. She is honoured to help guide this visionary NGO’s long-term strategy, contributing to the fight to secure for all migrants the rights to which they are entitled.

Among other key activities in the area of immigration law and human rights, Dagmar is convening the Immigration Law module in Year of the LLB programme and our Immigration Law & Policy Clinic, while she also supports the activities of Goldsmiths Law students who are working for the University of London’s Refugee Law Clinic. These are important areas for our Law programme, in line with our close, activist engagement as a Law programme with human rights and social justice.

Agent need not be a fiduciary for the civil law of bribery to apply, says Court of Appeal

In the November 2021 issue of the Cambridge Law Journal, junior barrister at leading chambers Fountain Court, and Associate Lecturer in our department, Aaron Taylor, has published a case note on ‘Civil Claims for Secret Commissions’, on Wood v Commercial First Business Limited; Business Mortgage Finance 4 PLC v Pengelly [2021] EWCA Civ 471

The civil law’s concern with bribery and undisclosed commissions is usually explained as a concern about an agent’s abuse of position for his or her personal advantage, typically to the disadvantage of his or her principal. In these circumstances, the agent is generally described as a fiduciary, and the receipt of a bribe of secret commission as a breach of fiduciary duty. But the requirement that the bribed agent be a fiduciary has often required the court to expand the definition of a fiduciary relationship, giving practical justice at the expense of principle. As the Court of Appeal noted in Wood v Commercial First Business Limited; Business Mortgage Finance 4 PLC v Pengelly [2021] EWCA Civ 471, at [46], it required the term ‘fiduciary duty’ to “be applied so widely as virtually to deprive it of content”. In these conjoined appeals, the court was asked to determine the whether the fiduciary requirement is good law. It held that it is not.

Aaron’s case note explains and welcomes the Court of Appeal’s decision. Here argues that dispensing with the fiduciary requirement reflects the reality that there is a broad spectrum of relationships in which the judgement of one person with influence over another may be swayed by a bribe or commission, and that reality is not best served by the straightjacket of the ‘fiduciary’ label. He goes on to consider to what extent the bribed person must have influence over the principal’s decision-making process. Aaron argues that something more than a minimal “role in the decision-making process” (the phrase used in Novoship v Mikhaylyuk[2012] EWHC 3586 (Comm), at [108] and quoted in Wood; Pengelly) must be required before a person can be held liable for having offered self-interested advice.

Goldsmiths Law students engaging sixth form students in human rights debate

On December 10, international human rights day, three students from the Human Rights Law & Clinic module, Cynthia, Bilaal and Jenna, joined our Head of Department, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, in a visit to Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), one of the biggest sixth forms in the country, and took part in the delivery of a human rights workshop to students in the human rights law class there.

The workshop brought to the attention of the sixth form students the government’s recent proposals for the reform of the Human Rights Act. Jenna, Cynthia and Bilaal each presented on the impact of the Human Rights Act, taking the right to a fair trial as an illustration; they had worked on their presentation with their human rights law lecturer Dr Fatima Ahdash. They also facilitated group work and debate during the workshop, and answered student questions about preparing for A levels and life at University.

From left to right, Cynthia, Bilaal and Jenna teaching the sixth form students

It was an empowering experience for our students to apply their learning, in a crucial area of Law and Politics, speaking to a young audience, hoping to inspire them, demonstrate to them that the transition from sixth form to University will give them excellent opportunities to be active learners, applying knowledge and skillsets they will have already begun to develop in their sixth form courses.

We were most grateful to BHASVIC for their wonderful hospitality, and for their most generous feedback — the workshop “fitted exactly with where we are in the course and was enormously relevant in the current climate”, commented Adam Robinson, BHASVIC’s A level lead in the course, before adding: “The students very much appreciated it as did I”.

For our Goldsmiths students, it was a unique pleasure and opportunity to visit the College and connect with the sixth form students, Prof Giannoulopoulos wrote back to BHASVIC.

This was our second visit to BHASVIC and we’re already looking forward to visiting wonderful Brighton again.