The 20 most influential aspiring lawyers in Britain
Legal Cheek reveals the biggest names on campus law faculties
Law students, they’re a funny old bunch.
The media is rife with less than complimentary law student stereotypes: they’re all selfish, over competitive, quasi-alcoholics that have no ambitions beyond being filthy rich and powerful.
And maybe the stereotype is true — but every now and then a law student comes along that breaks boundaries, that stands out from the crowd. The future Prime Minister types, the forward thinkers, the entrepreneurs. These are the people you want to endorse you on LinkedIn.
Here is a run down, in no particular order, of the country’s 20 biggest and best law school heavyweights. You can vote for your favourite below.
1. Ted Loveday
Law student hero Ted Loveday shot to internet fame last year when he was able to answer 10 starter questions in the final round of super brainy quiz show University Challenge, leading Cambridge’s Caius College to victory. Adoring viewers couldn’t help but fall in love with the now BPTC student’s virtuoso performance, and his knitted jumper. Loveday has racked up more than 6,000 followers on his personal twitter account, and is now moving on to even bigger things. Legal Cheek revealed last April that the aspiring lawyer had bagged a pupillage at top set Maitland Chambers, which he’s due to start this September. We don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of this obscure Greek phrases prodigy.
2. Saima Ahmad
Do you remember your first ever tort lecture? Duty of care, neighbour principle, all that stuff? We’re sure — for fresher’s flu reasons or otherwise — most people don’t. But King’s College law student Saima Ahmad is different. A true champion of pulling out the ‘I’m a future lawyer’ card when it really matters, the second year student hit the headlines earlier this year when she — Legal Cheek understands — used the classic case of Donoghue v Stevenson to demand a lifetime supply of KitKats after she received eight wafer-less bars. This is law in action at its best, and totally beats drunkenly slurring piecemeal sections of human rights law in a hearty attempt to demand re-entry into a club.
3. Garry Caprani
In the strive for diversity and inclusivity, law firms and chambers love a bit of extra-curricula flare and talent, and it’s safe to say that Garry Caprani has it in buckets. Garry Caprani isn’t just a Russell Group LLB-er, he is also a singer. The final year Queen Mary law student and Berwin Leighton Paisner brand manager reached the Boot Camp stage of the X Factor in 2014, and has not given up on his R&B career dreams. But, he told Legal Cheek last year, City law firm domination is also very much on the cards, with his interests lying in commercial, media and IP law. Singing chart-topping R&B hits and advising big name clients on acquisitions and mergers … it sounds like chalk and cheese to us. Who knows which way he’ll go? Watch this space…
4. Ntokozo Qwabe
The tale of Oxford Bachelor of Civil Law student Ntokozo Qwabe is one of many twists and turns. Qwabe was behind the famous ‘Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford’ movement, an aggressive campaign to have a statue of Cecil Rhodes removed from the uni’s Oriel College. He managed to drum up the support of thousands of Facebook users, and was seen as a pioneer for standing up against racism and discrimination at the prestigious university. Fast-forward to December, and Qwabe ran into troubled waters when it was revealed that he had accepted a scholarship in the name of the top imperialist — the very statue of whom he was campaigning to have removed. Qwabe’s campaign was, ultimately, unsuccessful, and a recent run-in between the post-grad and a waitress in South Africa prompted calls for his scholarship to be revoked — but who knows where his tenacity and passion will take him next.
5. Saffron Sheriff
She is studying law at a top university, she boasts a stellar online following, and she looks as though she could kill you with her bare hands — what’s not to like about Saffron Sheriff? When it comes to Instagram fame, the Lancaster fitness sensation is the real deal. The rightful owner of the ‘UK’s most followed law student’ crown, Sheriff could — if she wanted to — command a hefty salary from promoted posts alone. But she doesn’t want to. She’s determined to make it in the fiercely competitive world of energy law rather than resting on her, ever growing, social media presence, and for that we applaud her.
6. Ahmd Emara
As far as law BNOCs go, they don’t get much bigger than the “king of UWE” himself. The Egyptian born post-grad holds every campus rep job title under the sun — Frenchay campus officer, NUS delegate, student representative, law department representative, and he’s going to be president of the SU as of next year. Not just that, but he’s former legal counsel at the world’s biggest law firm Dentons, and has a social media presence to die for. His fame around his uni campus is simply undeniable, but can he move further afield and conquer the City?
7. Deon Fang
Law student Deon Fang of Oxford Uni a capella group fame takes commitment to the cause to the next level. ‘Out of the Blue’ — the singing group that Fang manages — has squeezed in none other than a tour of the USA this year. And let’s not forget the troupe’s hugely successful Christmas single. Running such an accomplished group must be a time-consuming venture, so it’s lucky Fang doesn’t have anything else to vie for his attention — like a law degree from one of the country’s most academically demanding unis. But be under no illusion, Fang is a total genius, and we have every confidence that he’ll boss his final exams. Just check out his LinkedIn page (feat a much appreciated Legal Cheek namecheck).
8. Katherine Baker
Katherine Baker has commercial awareness written all over her. The second year Durham student clearly knows the beauty vlogging market inside out — she has amassed nearly 15,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel since late 2013. The work behind developing and maintaining a social media following of this size is not to be sniffed at. She works for nine hours on each of her videos, yet her CV still screams future City lawyer. She’s done three vac schemes, she’s campus exec for Allen & Overy, and she’s on track to receive a first-class degree. Is there anything this girl can’t do?
9. Maurice Banerjee Palmer
Final year LLB studies are tough, for anyone. Just think how much tougher they’d be if you woke up one morning and your name was splashed about on every tabloid newspaper going. This is exactly what happened to Maurice Banerjee Palmer earlier this year, when he — ironically — filed a motion to have his university’s free speech society banned. It seems like a classic law student publicity stunt, but that’s far from what it was. Speaking exclusively to Legal Cheek, Palmer was at pains to point out that he didn’t want the fame, and was actually pretty upset about how the press took on the story. Time will tell whether this self-induced, though admittedly unexpected, media frenzy will help or hinder his commercial barrister dreams.
10. Jazmin Sawyers
Jazmin Sawyers really does have it all. She is in her final year of her law degree at a top university. She’s a talented musician, who sings and plays guitar in her spare time. Oh, and did we mention she’s an internationally acclaimed athlete with a silver Commonwealth Games medal? Yes, Sawyers is a long jumper, who won a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games for her remarkable 6.54m jump (though she did have to miss her criminal law exam to qualify). It’s an achievement a full-time, professional athlete would be proud of, so we’re in awe of Sawyers for managing to bag such a renowned medal while studying one of the most academically rigorous degrees at one of the country’s most academically rigorous universities.
11. Josh Hepple
City University LPC student Josh Hepple has had a lot to contend with in his life. He has cerebral palsy , uses a wheelchair, and has severe speech problems. It’s been difficult for him to access areas of the university because of his wheelchair, and he’s hardly picked an easy (if there is such thing) area of law to pursue a career in. Hepple is gunning for a job in the fiercely competitive world of human rights, and it’s proving tough for him to get his foot in the door. But he would never sell his soul for a life in the City (despite its wealth and, therefore, resources for disabled employees). He’s a fighter; he doesn’t shy away from his personal struggles, and told Legal Cheek in November that he uses his disability to his advantage when it comes to training contract applications. “Yes I am disabled,” Hepple tells prospective employers, “but look how much I’ve achieved.”
12. Amy Woolfson
All hail Amy Woolfson for achieving something that no one had ever achieved before. A few years ago, she was a humble Legal Cheek blogger, studying for her law degree at the — often sniffed at — Open University. A couple of years and a first class degree result later, she’s now studying an LLM at Harvard Law School. An impressive achievement, made even more impressive by the fact that she is the first ever Open University graduate to be awarded a Kennedy Scholarship to study at the world class, Ivy League law school. With a staggering seven mini-pupillages and a whole host of other impressive achievements under her belt, we’re really not surprised.
13. Jacob Lewis
People love a good old rags to riches story. Think Cheryl Fernandez-Versini. And then there’s Jacob Lewis, law student at Cambridge University. A university dominated by privileged public school boys and girls, Lewis caught people’s attention when it was revealed that the straight A* student had actually been homeless during his time at college. He recalls spending 12 hours a day in the college library, because “it was the only place I could study”. But it’s paid off. Hats off to the now Cambridge fresher; we’re sure he has a glittering legal career ahead of him.
14. Mehul Desai
Law school is hard, and law school is even harder if you’re short of time. Enter University of Nottingham second year LLB-er and king of time management Mehul Desai. He’s in the thick of it at a Russell Group university, he has an eight year-old daughter to look after, and he has his own pro bono family law business that he runs, pretty much, on his own. Desai’s commitment to the cause (a cause for which he receives no remuneration) is admirable: he’s helped 29 litigants with their cases in the past few years, and has plans to expand his business to help even more.
15. Alex Shattock
Nothing screams future barrister more than sticking liquid latex on your face and rolling around in blood. Just ask Alex Shattock, Cambridge PhD student and “Doctor of Gore”. When the fierce academic achiever is not researching and writing extensively on public international law, he likes to let off some steam by dressing up in horror-inspired costumes and scaring unsuspecting members of the public. Stand out costumes include the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Insect Overlord and the (creepier than usual) Phantom of the Opera. It’s a kooky hobby — one he himself admits people find strange — but his academic credentials and artistic talent are simply undeniable.
16. Zachary Confino
Law is all about sticking up for equality and justice. And that’s exactly what third year University of York lawyer Zachary Confino did when he spoke out against the anti-Jewish abuse he’d suffered at the hands of anonymous online trolls. Confino went public with his plight in what we assume was an attempt to force university authorities into action. It’s not just Confino that’s looking for support: other Jewish students, he says, have been subjected to name-calling and abuse too. By speaking out against his abusers, Confino has raised awareness about the rise of anti-Semitic behaviour in UK universities. It’s a noble cause — even Simon Myerson QC has his back.
17. Clara Ludot
Mooting is really hard. Long words, unpronounceable case names, quick witted opponents — no wonder winning a national competition is seen as such a big deal. But it’s an even bigger deal if the competition is in English, and English isn’t your first language. And that’s exactly why we admire Clara Ludot. Oxford Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) student Ludot — along with fellow BCL-ers Alice Irving, Charlotte Kelly and Eilis O’Keeffe — stole the show at LSE’s Featherstone Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Moot, and she did so despite being a French national. Impressive stuff.
18. Francis Awaritefe
The world loves a good career changer, and they don’t come much better than Francis Awaritefe. Once a professional football player in Australia — a former Socceroo and National Soccer League player to be specific — he is now a final year law student on English soil, at City Law School. Staying true to both his passions, he also spends his time writing articles on, you’ve guessed it, law in sport. That’s not all: according to his LinkedIn, he knows a lot about pharmaceuticals, management and computer science too. He’s definitely well-rounded, and employers will love that.
19. Greta Hedley-Miller
This GDL student is a prime example of why you should never get between a law student and their work. Greta Hedley-Miller became a law student sensation in February when she confronted two thieves that tried to nab her £1,300 MacBook Pro from BPP’s Stamford Street law library, allegedly grabbing one by the throat. The “adrenaline kicked in”, she said, and the Exeter University grad and some fellow students managed to pin the laptop thief to the ground. Her precious laptop (and even more precious notes) were recovered, and the thief was arrested. Law student and a crime stopper, go Greta.
20. David T Wade
Where to start with David T Wade? He’s an Open University LLB student, an ex-plumber, an entrepreneur, and he could be yours for just £25 per hour. That’s because Wade is the man behind the ‘David T Wade Student of Law’ website, a business venture that allows struggling litigants to pay for the student’s time using a, pretty advanced looking, online checkout system. He can offer advice on divorce law, employment law, road traffic law, firearm licensing law, all that good stuff. He writes a blog, will represent you in court for £200, and (according to his website) works 9am-7pm six days a week. Crazy or courageous? You decide.
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