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LLB Scots and English Law - Graduate Entry Savio Baptista, Canada

What were your reasons for taking on a postgraduate degree, and why did you decide to study at Strathclyde University?

The pursuit of a law degree has always been a genuine, life-long aspiration of mine, and I feel that now is the right time to accomplish my dream.  I am strongly motivated to obtain a legal education because my academic and professional background have allowed me to develop knowledge and skills that would be best explored by a career in law.  Pursuing Higher Education in another country has also been a dream of mine.

I believe that such an experience will allow me to become a more well-rounded individual, since I will need to adapt and learn from a different culture.  My extensive search for the ideal Law School led me to enquire into the educational opportunities available within the United Kingdom.  While researching graduate-entry Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programs in the United Kingdom, I was captivated by the University of Strathclyde's Law School and its degree programs.  

In particular, the Dual Qualifying Accelerated (Scots and English Law) LLB program at the University of Strathclyde stands out amongst other graduate-entry LLB degree programs, since it allows an individual to gain an in-dpeth understanding of both English and Scottish legal systems.  Therefore, following graduation and completion of post-degree professional training, gradutes have the opportunity to practice law either in England/Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.  Based on these reasons, the University of Strathclyde would be the ideal academic institution in which to attain a legal education, and study as an international student. 

What do you like about your course/ department/ faculty/ Strathclyde?  

At the University of Strathclyde, students will greatly benefit from the quality of teaching. The manner in which lectures are delivered opens the door to deeper learning. I myself have consistently been challenged since I am required to be innovative, and think more critically as I go through my course work and assignments. Altogether, there is no doubt that this teaching method has led to a rewarding learning experience. It is also important to mention that, in the event that there is any confusion or uncertainty regarding the course material, the faculty staff members are very helpful, and quickly respond to any inquiries whether in person or via email.

What specialist knowledge / professional skills have you developed whilst studying the course?

I have learned to use the OSCOLA citation style. As well, I have found new ways to effectively research academic resources. 

How is your course specifically helping to enhance you current career / prepare for your future career?

My education has encompassed a variety of fields. I obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society from York University in 2010. Then, I graduated from the Law Clerk (Accelerated) program at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in 2014. My education has allowed me to study law from an interdisciplinary approach, and deepened my understanding of the role that the law plays within society. It has also provided me with a strong foundation of the practical application of legal principles in a real-world setting. The privilege of obtaining a legal education would allow me to further expand upon the knowledge and skills that I have developed in my past studies, and achieve my goal of becoming a lawyer. 

What are your ambitions for the future? How do you think your postgraduate degree, and your time at Strathclyde, will help you achieve your goals?

A law degree is very advantageous in either a legal career, or for any other profession that involves the use of legal knowledge and skills. It is also a job requirement in the career path that I intend to pursue. I am highly motivated to attain a law degree so that I can pursue a career as a real estate lawyer. As a real estate lawyer, I would be expected to have a strong understanding of the law in areas, such as property law and contract law. These are courses that will be taught in law school.

This knowledge will be utilized when providing legal advice to my clients. Secondly, I will need to possess a range of skills in order to successfully handle the legal aspects of residential and commercial real estate transactions. Such skills will be developed as I undertake courses in law school so that I will eventually be able to think like a lawyer. Being a real estate lawyer would allow me to provide various legal services to numerous businesses and individuals. For example, in a real estate transaction involving the purchase of property, I will be tasked with helping my clients understand the voluminous paperwork involved so that important details are not overlooked or misinterpreted. Therefore, during law school, it is vital to attain the analytical and oral communication skills necessary to properly interpret and clearly explain complex legal documents.

In the event that a mistake occurs, I would have to work diligently to correct the problem in order to avoid negative outcomes, such as delaying the closing date of the real estate transaction, and/or having the client spend more money to correct the error. Such an error will prompt me to rely on effective negotiation and problem solving skills, which are also engrained during law school, in order to arrive at a swift solution for my client. These are some of the subject areas and professional skills that I look forward to learning as part of my legal education.

What have been the main challenges studying by distance learning?

I have not yet taken any courses by distance learning.

Why did you choose to study at Strathclyde?

The pursuit of a law degree has always been a genuine, life-long aspiration of mine. I have experience working in the legal industry. As well, I have also worked as a Television Show Extra. This job was especially memorable since it gave me the opportunity to work on the sets of popular television shows, including the legal drama "Suits", in which I had to act as a fictional Courtroom Lawyer.

These experiences greatly contributed to my decision to pursue a legal education. My extensive search for the ideal law school led me to inquire into the educational opportunities available within the United Kingdom. While researching graduate-entry Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programs in the United Kingdom, I strongly considered my options in both England and Scotland. I was accepted by all five of the law schools that I had applied to within the United Kingdom.

However, since the beginning, I was drawn to the University of Strathclyde’s law school and its degree programs. The University of Strathclyde has a strong ranking in the area of legal education. In addition, the Dual Qualifying Accelerated (Scots and English Law) LLB program at the University of Strathclyde stands out amongst the other graduate-entry LLB degree programs, since its versatility allows an individual to gain an in-depth understanding of both English and Scottish legal systems.

Therefore, following graduation and completion of post-degree professional training, graduates have the opportunity to practice law either in England/Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland. Based on the aforementioned reasons, the University of Strathclyde would be the ideal academic institution in which to attain a legal education, and study as an international student.

Was Strathclyde helpful in the application process?

Yes, the staff members at the University of Strathclyde were extremely helpful when I was applying for both my academic program and student housing. My contact for the law school was Fiona Barrie. She provided me with detailed information in regards to the LLB program along with instructions clarifying which documents to provide her for the admissions process.

Through Strathclyde Residence Services, I was able to find a flat near the University of Strathclyde as well as in close proximity to various essential services. Lastly, about a month before I arrived, I received an e-mail containing instructions of how to set up my Pegasus account. Pegasus allows students to access their online student profiles, and important course related information. Since the beginning, my questions were always answered in a timely manner, and my interactions with the staff members never left me with a feeling of uncertainty. 

Has the University lived up to your expectations?

I was well aware of the unique learning opportunities offered by the law school long before my arrival to Glasgow. The law school is comprised of various centres of research, and offers students the chance to take part in a number of student societies. As a law student, I decided to get involved as an Editorial Board Member with the Strathclyde Student Law Review. This student run organization allows students from across the United Kingdom to submit their work on any legal topic. In this position, I was required to read, critically analyze, and edit submitted articles and book reviews.

Such tasks were necessary in order to narrow down the final list of articles for publication. In addition, I currently serve as the Halls Vice Convener/President (Collegelands) for the University of Strathclyde Halls Committee. Unlike the law review, I never considered joining the Halls Committee until I attended a meeting that was hosted by Strathclyde Residence Services.

After the meeting, I was impressed with the aims of the Halls Committee, and decided to take part as a committee member. As the Halls Vice Convener/President (Collegelands), I serve as a liaison between the Residence Services, University of Strathclyde, University Of Strathclyde Students' Association, and students living on residence. As well, I take part in planning student events. Through my involvement in these extra-curricular activities, I have been able to develop strong leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills. Altogether, the University of Strathclyde has greatly exceeded my own expectations since I have been able to undergo such unique life experiences. 

What differences are there between studying in the UK and studying at home?

When comparing universities in the United Kingdom and Canada, there is not that much difference in terms of teaching style, class size, and amount of course work. However, as a law student, I have noticed that there is a great amount of emphasis placed on research and critical analysis when completing assignments and examinations. As a result, I have had to refocus my efforts on gathering my research and study materials ahead of time so that I am well prepared to deliver high quality work.

What have been the main challenges for you as an international student?

At first, it was difficult understanding the Scottish accent. I had to carefully listen and constantly ask people to reiterate their statements. However, after a few months, this has no longer been an issue. I took the time to learn Scottish culture by befriending many of my fellow Scottish classmates. I even started to utilize words from the Scottish vernacular in my day-to-day interactions so that I can communicate with ease. Another challenge was becoming familiar with the City of Glasgow.

To overcome this obstacle, I made a considerable effort to meet fellow students in my program. I also participated in various student events wherein I would meet new people and/or have to travel around various parts of the city. By doing these things, I had established a network consisting of the right people whom I could turn to whenever I had any questions. Overall, I started to feel more comfortable living in the city.

Do you enjoy living in Glasgow?

It has been an amazing experience so far. I am very impressed with Glasgow’s rich heritage, and the various opportunities that the city offers to international students. For a law student, it is even more beneficial since many of the UK’s top law firms are based in Glasgow. When I was researching these law firms, I discovered that many of them host various legal seminars and networking events.

I took the initiative to research upcoming events and submit applications expressing my interest to be in attendance. These efforts bore fruition in the form of acceptances and future invitations. As a result, I have had the opportunity to visit numerous law firms, network with legal professionals, and learn about the changes that are currently taking place within the legal industry. 

What's been the best part about coming to Scotland?

I am a recipient of Scotland's Saltire Scholarship. This is a scholarship awarded by the Scottish Government for successfully demonstrating that Scotland is the ideal destination to pursue higher education. As a Canadian citizen, I was eligible to apply for this award. I was extremely grateful for receiving this scholarship because it helped reduce the costs of studying abroad.

As a Saltire Scholar, I also received an invitation from the Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages to attend a reception welcoming all Saltire Scholarship recipients to Scotland. This event took place at Edinburgh Castle. It was truly a night to remember since it was the first time I had visited Edinburgh, which is the capital of Scotland. As well, I got the opportunity to go on a private tour of the castle. These experiences would not have been possible without the Saltire Scholarship Programme.