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Students in Goldsmiths’ Progression Scheme learn about legal careers in the City of London

GPS students visit Winston & Strawn global law firm

On a sunny afternoon in February, a group of young A-level students participating in the Goldsmiths Progression Scheme enjoyed a visit to the London office of the distinguished global law firm, Winston & Strawn, with its magnificent views of central London. There they discussed what was motivating them to consider legal careers and heard from partners and associates about the varied paths they had taken from university to their current roles; from the more traditional path of ‘law degree to firm’, to detours via the world’s conflict zones as a lawyer in the British Army.

As varied as their career histories were, the lawyers of Winston & Strawn also talked about the differences between their roles even within the same firm, with white collar crime, corporate law, commercial disputes and even middle-eastern infrastructure development being among their specialist areas. This developed into a broader discussion about the many different types of legal practice that exist – from the high street to the ‘Magic Circle’, as well as how a law degree was good preparation for opportunities even outside of the legal profession, due in no small part to the many skills that the study of law develops.

The final part of session saw the students forming two teams to debate the controversial real-life case of Charlie Gard, a baby with a rare and degenerative genetic condition who had been the subject of a protracted legal dispute between the hospital that had advocated for withdrawing life-support, and his parents, who wanted to take him overseas for experimental treatment. This gave the students the opportunity to practice some of the skills employed in preparing to try an emotive case, as well as those used in the court room, such as the art of the opening and closing statement, argument and rebuttal.

As part of the emerging collaboration between Goldsmiths and Winston & Stawn, the visit exemplified the strong emphasis on commercial awareness and experiential learning opportunities that will define the LLB Law at Goldsmiths. Students on the LLB will benefit from close links between Goldsmiths and working professionals within the legal world, in ways that take them beyond the world of academia and the traditional classroom environment.

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