LLM International Commercial LawTinotenda Jakazi, Zimbabwe

Tell us a little bit about your background...
My home city is Mutare, in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. I did my undergraduate studies at Rhodes University in South Africa, completing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies and International Relations, as well as an LLB. I then registered as a Legal Practitioner of the High Court of Zimbabwe and practiced law in Zimbabwe for five years. I was able to initially develop a broad foundation of experience in a variety of areas of law, but gradually established a firm interest and specialisation in commercial law.

What inspired you to further your studies beyond undergraduate level?

I had a continuing desire to enhance my skills and broaden my legal knowledge and perspectives, in order to become more effective in my career. During my time in private legal practice, I also became more cognizant of larger policy and implementation issues that resulted in recurring systemic problems in my key practice areas. I was motivated to further develop my understanding of wider legal issues, so as to better contribute to the development of broader and more far-reaching solutions to my community and region; in terms of the knowledge and expertise I would be able to offer.

Why did you choose to study for the LLM International Commercial Law?

My main areas of career interest are broadly in commercial law and policy. Prior to pursuing postgraduate studies, I was a practicing commercial lawyer. I believed that the regional, multilateral and international regulation of commerce is a crucial consideration in the modern global context. It impacts issues of crucial contemporary importance, such as equitable development, prosperity and sustainability. I felt that the LLM International Commercial Law would provide me with the tools to fully understand and knowledgeably critique existing frameworks as well as contribute to shaping solutions to present and anticipated challenges.   

The LLM International Commercial Law course offered by Strathclyde was unique to offerings by other universities in its flexibility of subject combinations and options. It allowed me to tailor my studies to my own specific areas of interest. The course offered by Strathclyde also offered modules with current relevance and importance in and to global commerce.

What attracted you to Strathclyde specifically?

The academic reputation of the University of Strathclyde, as a leading research institution was of particular attraction to me, especially the rankings of its law department among other prominent global educational institutions.  I was also attracted to Strathclyde by the beauty and culture of Glasgow; a modern, progressive and friendly city with a rich history, that develops and fosters global citizens.

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde/highlight of the course so far?

I enjoyed learning from teaching staff who are passionate and knowledgeable about their fields, and engaging with a diversity of perspectives from a global array of student-peers, thereby providing me with broad insights and an overall richer learning experience.

Have you come across any challenges during your studies, and how have you overcome them?

As an international student, I experienced the challenges of living and studying in a different country. In addition, it was during my course when the Covid-19 Pandemic started, necessitating significant changes in the manner of learning, studying, travel and other facets of life and interaction.

I was able to overcome the challenges that I faced during my studies through learning about the new environments and situations that I was presented with and adjusting to them. I was greatly assisted in my periods of adjustment to new contexts during my studies by the staff of Strathclyde who were always responsive, friendly and willing to go the extra mile to be helpful. I was also able to rely on a network of supportive friendships, in the form of class peers, that I was able to develop during the course of my studies.  

What would be your advice for people considering taking this course?

I highly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in any area of international commercial law. I particularly enjoyed the overall teaching model, which put equal emphasis on foundational teaching from the academic staff and critical discussion and engagement from students. The course tackles relevant contemporary issues in international commerce and fosters the development of views and ideas within a diverse, global learning context. As a result of studying the course I have added broader international perspectives, as well as global cultural and contextual understanding to my skills as a commercial lawyer.   

What do you think of the support available?

I found the support available to be very helpful throughout my studies. I felt that the law department communicated important information well, and was responsive and attentive to my concerns. I was impressed by the level of engagement and support that extended through the course and research, ranging from seminars and open discussion sessions to social networking events; establishing a broad supportive network for students and addressing the various facets of student life. I always found the support staff to be friendly and willing to assist or provide advice.

What are your ambitions for the future?

During my time at Strathclyde I developed an interest in research, and this is an area that I would like to continue to explore. I came to understand the importance of coherent regional and multilateral international economic policymaking for broad-based and sustainable global development and would therefore like to work in or contribute towards research and development that can advance progressive policy. I am presently pursuing a career in the work of regional organisations, particularly within the areas of international trade and investment within the African Region; such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.