Interview: Law student facing exclusion from Sussex Uni will draw upon Occupy legal challenge to fuel barrister dream

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By Legal Cheek on

Most law students would consider the prospect of being excluded by their university to be a nightmare. But Michael Segalov is aware that Sussex University’s decision to suspend him last month for his part in a protest against privatisation on campus is a potential career opportunity.

Having won public sympathy for his plight, Segalov and the other members of the “Sussex Five” scored a major coup two weeks ago when superstar QC Geoffrey Robertson and a team of other Doughty Street barristers agreed to represent them in the disciplinary case that will decide whether or not they are expelled.

Scary stuff, but also a chance to get some pretty amazing legal work experience, as Segalov recognises…

“We are interacting with barristers on a regular basis, we’re at the forefront of a legal campaign…I had to sit through the first disciplinary campaign, basically being a defendant using the law to fight for justice,” he told Legal Cheek.

Segalov adds that in a very competitive legal job market evidence of his passion about law and civil liberties will hopefully help him to stand out.

“I’m not doing it for that reason, but I’m getting to the point where I have to consider my future,” he says.

And for anyone suggesting that Segalov’s run-in with the Sussex University hierarchy will mark him out as a potential troublemaker to potential legal employers, the wannabe public law barrister has a nice response:

“You can read in the papers that lawyers are taking strike actions in protection of legal aid to ensure people have access to justice. This idea that lawyers aren’t interested in putting themselves on the line to some extent to ensure that justice is served is outdated if it ever was true,” he continues.

Segalov himself is involved with the movement to protect legal aid, spearheading a group for law students protesting against the government’s proposed cuts. Anyone interested in getting involved should email

Listen to Legal Cheek reporter Thomas Connelly’s interview with Segalov in full in the podcast below.