Sussex Uni law grad raises ten grand towards Oxford masters through crowdfunding

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By Alex Aldridge on

Now this is how you crowdfund


Finally, after a host of law crowdfunding fails, a wannabe barrister has showed that it is possible to get random members of the public to give you thousands of pounds to pursue your legal education dreams.

Meet Rachael Owhin (pictured), a Sussex Uni law graduate who has bagged a place at Oxford University this autumn to do a masters in migration studies.

Owhin was, however, on the verge of forfeiting the prestigious Wolfson College Msc because she missed out on a scholarship towards the £18,110 course fees. But rather than quit, the 23 year-old — whose commercial nous was honed during work experience at Clifford Chance — decided to have a last gasp shot at cobbling together the money she needed through crowdfunding.

And sensationally it worked.

After launching a page on hubbub last month, Owhin managed to raise her target of £10,000 in a mere eight days following a whirlwind campaign which saw two kindly benefactors give her £1,000 and 195 other sponsors give smaller amounts. Donors were offered a range of sweeteners, ranging from “a public thank you on Twitter” to a mention in the acknowledgements section of Owhin’s masters to an invitation to join the student at a formal dinner at Wolfson College.

To the £10k of crowdfunding cash, Owhin has added £6,000 in savings and a £2,000 contribution from her mum, and plans to take out a career development loan to cover living costs.

So what differentiated Owhin’s plea to strangers to give her cash from the host of recent unsuccessful crowdfunding ventures? (Regular Legal Cheek readers will be aware of this flunked bid for Legal Practice Course (LPC) fee money, this largely ignored cry for help with law school fees direct from “the Kingdom of God” and this unanswered call for £35k to start a law firm.)

Well, having become something of an expert in such ventures, the Legal Cheek team reckon Owhin’s imposing of a tight, ten day deadline was very smart indeed — giving her campaign a sense of urgency lacked by others.

Plus we like her catchy ‘£10,000 in 10 days’ headline, memorable #OXFORD10000 hashtag and her decision to use all the social media — from LinkedIn to Facebook to Instagram — in order to maximise the reach of her call for readies.

As for Owhin’s crowdfunding video…the sound wasn’t great, but, most importantly, her message was delivered very clearly and persuasively — which bodes well for her barrister ambitions.

Owhin — who spoke of her love for the law and hopes to use it “to help change people’s lives” in the Law Society Gazette this morning — starts her masters on 6 October.

She told Legal Cheek that she hopes the course will help her to develop an interesting take on human rights law, commenting:

“Specifically I’m interested in human rights law. During a mini-pupillage at No5 Chambers I had an opportunity to observe immigration cases, and doing the masters will give me a deeper understanding of migration issues both in the UK and worldwide.”