LLM Human Rights LawRobyn Conlan, UK

Tell us a little bit about your background...
Previously, I studied Scots Law LLB at the University of Strathclyde, which was a simple commute between Glasgow City Centre and my hometown in East Kilbride. During the LLB, I was most interested in electives relating to human rights issues, in particular family law. Furthermore, for my undergraduate dissertation, I researched the rights of child soldiers in armed conflict and how they are perceived by international law. I really enjoyed this project, which confirmed my interest in wishing to further my studies into human rights law.

What inspired you to further your studies beyond undergraduate level?
I have always enjoyed learning and so another year at university was attractive to me! In addition, I wished to expand my career horizons beyond the solicitor route which seemed most obvious after completing the LLB. Therefore, I decided to develop my knowledge of a specific area of law which I was passionate about at post-graduate level, to see what doors this could open for potential opportunities and careers.

Why did you choose to study for the LLM Human Rights Law?
When I decided to further my studies into post-graduate level, I immediately chose to apply for Strathclyde as I knew I was guaranteed another positive experience, with an excellent campus and highly skilled and supportive staff. It was an easy decision!

The University of Strathclyde offer a wide range of LLM courses in specific areas of law, however, to dedicate an entire year of study on one area of law, for me it was important to choose something I was genuinely interested in and passionate about. As a result, the Human Rights Law LLM was an obvious choice. After reading the course content, it confirmed my selection as it contained a variety of the most topical areas of human rights law, reflecting current issues.

Did you have to overcome any challenges during your studies?
The main challenge for me was the jump between undergraduate and post-graduate workload. However, I believe if you remain organised from the beginning, the workload is completely manageable. Also, when you are studying an area of law you are interested in, it is half the battle!

What did you think of the support available and have you developed any specialist knowledge/professional skills whilst studying the course?
The support I received from the course leaders was more than I could have imagined. Not only were they dedicated to helping me through the class syllabus, but also facilitated some excellent opportunities to develop my professional skills. For one, my cohort were lucky enough to attend a CPD course on children’s rights, learning from Professor Ann Skelton, member of the UNCRC Committee, and the Scottish Children and Young People’s Commissioner, among others. This facilitated opportunity to network and enhance our specialist knowledge of children’s rights.

Furthermore, I was invited by my course leaders to undertake research assistance on behalf of the University of Strathclyde, participating in a UK-wide project on legislative Bills of Rights. In addition, I was fortunate to provide research assistance to One Ocean Hub, an international programme of research led by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance. Never did I imagine the work experience I would gain from networking with lecturers and being open to new opportunities.

What are you doing now?
Currently, I work for Police Scotland as a Stakeholder, Engagement and Collaboration Officer, which closely connects to human rights, in particular the right to meaningful participation. Thanks to opportunities for learning and developing my professional skills at the University of Strathclyde, it helped me find a rewarding career which exercises my knowledge and passion for human rights!

What would be your advice for people considering taking this course?
My advice to those considering Human Rights Law LLM at the University of Strathclyde is to go for it! Immerse yourself in the entire experience and make the most out of learning from and working alongside skilled academics in this setting. Regardless of whether you have a legal background or not, I would encourage anyone to study Human Rights Law LLM. It opens many doors, all with the most rewarding outcomes.