St Mary’s University Launches New Law School

St Mary’s University today launches its new Law School, by announcing an innovative Masters in International and European Business Law (LLM) to be run in collaboration with the Catholic University of Paris (Institut Catholique de Paris – ICP), which will see students gain awards from both universities. Together with a new Masters degree in International Business Law (LLM), the new degree will be offered from September 2019.

The launch at the St Mary’s campus in Twickenham features an address from Justice of the Supreme Court Lord Kerr on the ‘Challenges of Learning Law and the Social and Ethical Questions arising in International Law’ and will be attended by legal professionals, academics from the UK and France, and students from the University.

The new Masters degree in International and European Business Law will see students spending one semester at St Mary’s University and a second semester in Paris at ICP, an historic French university renowned for its excellence in its core academic fields such as Law, Education and Theology.

The LLMs in International Business Law and International and European Business Law offer a distinctive focus on current and future changes in the global and regional legal order. These features will form a crucial part of the courses through the focus that will be placed on International commercial and business operations, and will be aligned with the international and ethical orientation of both St Mary’s University and ICP.

The St Mary’s Law School aims to educate the whole person, not just academically, but by providing an ethical foundation that will serve the student throughout their career. It will offer three undergraduate programmes alongside its new postgraduate LLM degrees. It will also take an active role in the University’s research output through its Centre for Law and Culture and through its close links other centres in the faculty, such as the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery.

Commenting on the launch of St Mary’s Law School and the LLMs, St Mary’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Francis Campbell said, “The new Law School and the LLMs underline our commitment to innovation, partnership and providing the best educational, social and […]

Inside an Impressive Mind: Law School alumni advice on how to excel

The event was introduced by Dan Schaffer, Law School alumnus (LLB 1986), Chair of the Law School Advisory Board and partner Slaughter and May (sponsors of the event) Chaired by Professor Joanne Conaghan (“Impressive minds don’t spring into place, they have to be crafted”), the event consisted of a panel of alumni reflecting on the key elements of their approach at Bristol that led to their success in securing top flight jobs.

Their analysis of how to achieve excellence was complemented by that of two Law Professors, Michael Ford QC and Alan Bogg , and by Slaughter and May partner and Law School alumnus (LLB 1996) Robert Byk , who has led recruitment within his organisation.

Advice from the panel included: Serena Crawshay-Williams (LLB 2016 LLM, future pupil Old Square Chambers) shared tips on studying and standing out, and how to approach essay questions; her advice was to read widely (research articles, practitioner blogs, etc) so that your answer doesn’t simply echo the content of lectures and textbooks, but also to think carefully about how to interpret a question so that your answer can remain relevant but tackle a different angle.

Emma Loizou (LLB 2014, BCL, pupil Radcliffe Chambers) recommended handwriting rather than typing up notes, and finding your personal strategy to read in an engaged manner to avoid spending hours of reading without taking content in. Her talk reflected on seeing the bigger picture, reviewing material strategically (such as through making tables for cases with different categories) to place cases into context and make connections between them clearer.

Tristan Goodman (LLB 2017, trainee Slaughter and May) talked about overcoming awkwardness by speaking up and engaging in tutorials: take advantage of being new to a subject, peers are likely to have similar questions, and tutors are there to help and might even be inspired by thinking about familiar topics from new angles. His advice included drawing analogies with topics you’re already familiar with and intrigued by as a way of engaging with and remembering material more effectively.

Professor Joanne Conaghan expanded on this point, commenting on how to make your […]

How many hours should I spend studying for the bar exam?

Getting ready to take the bar exam? We know you have a lot of questions. We’ve compiled the most common ones here, with answers from two experts.

Ashley Heidemann is owner and founder of JD Advising, a law school and bar exam prep company. Patrick Lin is founder of Bar Exam 101, a Los Angeles bar exam tutoring company. He is a former grader for the California Committee of Bar Examiners .

How many hours should I study for the bar exam?

Ashley Heidemann: If you were an average law student, then studying for the bar exam for about 400 hours will likely be sufficient. About 200 hours should be dedicated to learning the law and memorizing your outlines. The other 200 hours should be spent completing practice questions.

Keep in mind that this recommendation may change depending on your circumstances. For example, if you did really well in law school (especially your first year), you may be able to put less time into studying for the bar exam. On the other hand, if you really struggled in law school, you may need to put in more time. Further, if you graduated from law school years ago, you may need to study longer than if you just graduated. Be sure to take into account your personal circumstances when determining how much time you need to study in order to pass the bar exam.

When should I start studying for the bar exam?

To read the rest of the story, click here , where you will find our special editon on bar prep, What’s it Take to Pass the Bar Exam Today

How to write a personal statement for law: ‘forget the jargon and gimmicks’

Every year, universities receive thousands of personal statements from law school applicants eager to impress admissions tutors. While grades are still the most important factor in securing a place on a course, a well-written statement can help you punch above your weight. So with the Ucas deadline looming in January, how do you write a personal statement that will pique an admissions tutor’s interest?

Russell Buchan, senior lecturer in law at the University of Sheffield, and Joel Klaff, a law lecturer and admissions tutor at the University of Derby, offer their advice: What do you look for in a personal statement?

Russell Buchan: I always emphasis the word “personal”. Students need to move away from this emphasis on jargon and gimmicks. Saying “I read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was 12 and ever since then I have had a massive desire to be a criminal defender” really doesn’t mean much. It’s too formulaic.

On the other hand, what you say needs to be supported by evidence. Even if it is playing for a sports team at the school or college, or working in the local supermarket. What responsibilities did you have? Whether it’s leadership, effective communication skills, or interpreting rules, applying them, understanding them and enforcing them. Then develop the narrative that supports the personal qualities we are looking for. Which are of course enthusiasm, good communication skills, analytical ability, and critical understanding. The more they can make the link to legal careers, the better.

Joel Klaff: [It is important] the student has actually researched the university and shows why they want to go to there. A lot of law schools offer different levels of expertise. So it is actually a good idea to say, “I want to come to this university because I know you place a large emphasis on skills and that is what I see as important.” How does a personal statement for a law school differ?

JK: It’s all very well being open and honest, saying law is a good career and will get them in good standing. But it helps to have an […]

Why is it so much harder to become a lawyer in California than in New York?

A student studies at UC Berkeley’s law school in Berkeley, Calif. on Oct. 9. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times) The State Bar of California has done it again, failing nearly 60% of the law school graduates who took the exam in July. It was the worst outcome since 1951. And yet thousands of these graduates, if they had taken the test in virtually any other state, would now be embarking on their legal careers instead of having to prepare to take it again in February.

The score needed to pass the California bar exam — called the “cut score” — is 144. We are the only state to set its cut score above 140 other than Delaware (with 172 applicants, compared with California’s 8,071). This is profoundly out of line with the rest of the country. Nationwide, the median score needed to pass is 135.

In New York, the state with a legal practice most like California’s in scale and complexity, the cut score is 133. Among graduates of ABA-accredited law schools there, 83% passed the state bar exam the first time they took it. In California, though, the comparable rate was 64%. That likely would be 20 percentage points higher if our cut score matched New York’s. Is New York inflicting on its populace thousands of unqualified lawyers through its lower cut score? We have yet to hear of it.

The state bar, the California Legislature and the California Supreme Court — which has ultimate authority to set the cut score — need to bring rationality to our bar exam by aligning it with the standards of comparable states.

As law school deans, we witness the harm done to our graduates and to the legal profession by this unjustifiably high cut score. Those failing the bar risk losing their jobs. For the still unemployed, finding work becomes far harder. Even those who keep their jobs wear their bar performance as an albatross around their necks. The financial consequences are considerable: thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for additional exam fees and review courses, often adding to already considerable indebtedness. […]

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