Feature

7 law student fears about Brexit

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The future just became less enticing for wannabe lawyers

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A formal withdrawal from the EU will not complete for another two years but with little guidance from our politicians, there is huge uncertainty over what will happen.

Christianah Babajide, currently studying at City University of London, talks to law students who have been left wondering what Brexit means for them and shares their worst fears:

1. Will training contract numbers decrease?

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Earlier this year, there was actually good news for wannabe trainees when statistics from the Law Society showed an increase in the number of training contracts available from 5,001 in 2013-14 to 5,457 in 2014-15.

However, following the Brexit vote, the UK economy may well contract. Law firms could cut down on their trainee intakes or even enter a dreaded recruitment freeze.

On the other hand, though there is little doubt that there will be tremors in the economy, lawyers are sometimes (the only?) winners in a recession because of the increase in litigation.

2. Is there any point studying EU law anymore and will anyone be around to teach it?

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Graduates who have already studied EU law feel they have “wasted their time”; first year students are “reluctant” to study the module next year; some fear that their EU law lecturers could lose their jobs.

However, as Legal Cheek’s Katie King pointed out earlier this week in her article, ‘Law lecturers reassure disheartened students that their EU law studies not in vain’, it looks like some of these fears can be allayed.

3. Is employment law still relevant?

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Much of UK employment law derives from Brussels so students worry that it will be unpicked by Brexit (as do millions of workers across the UK). If this really were to happen then it would lead to drastic changes in the syllabus as well as result in a generation of students with a whole load of knowledge they don’t need.

But these laws are not so high on the Leave agenda right now; legal practitioners say that any drastic change is a long, long way off. And would it be the end of the world if we got rid of TUPE?

4. Could university funding be reduced?

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Law students fear that leaving the EU will create financial challenges for their universities because UK’s higher education providers get nearly £1 billion a year from it. Statistics show this funding supports 8,864 direct jobs and £836m in economic output inside the university sector. So will EU funding disappear? If so, what does that mean? Will it be replaced?

There are a lot of unknowns that will only become clear if and when the UK agrees a deal with the EU. And who knows when that will happen. Anyone? Anyone at all?

5. Would I still be able to study or do legal work experience in the EU?

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Many law students are concerned about not being able to travel abroad for postgraduate studies such as aspiring barristers going on to do their masters degree in Europe, particularly Germany and the Netherlands. Similarly, they fear they will lose the ability to take up internships or work experience on the Continent.

Certainly, trips abroad will be more expensive: one of the immediate consequences of a vote to leave was the value of the pound plummeting (£1 is currently equivalent to a paltry €1.21).

But it’s too early to say what Brexit means for study and work because they will depend on what deal we reach with the EU.

Professor Sir Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor of City University, made some reassuring noises yesterday about UK students studying in the EU under one specific programme, the Erasmus programme, stating that they would continue to be eligible for their grants and there would be no immediate changes to their immigration status. Other universities and scheme administrators will hopefully be sending out similar messages of calm.

6. Will international law students have to confront greater prejudice?

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One foreign law student claims Brexit has created a “social divide” between him and his UK friends leaving him feeling unwelcome within his social circle. Other students report feeling too scared to leave their student halls at night.

It has been widely reported that Brexit has opened a Pandora’s box of race-hate. It is up to all of us to stop this getting out of control.

7. Have law firms’ job interviews suddenly got a lot harder?

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Students hoping to land a contract at a commercial or magic circle firm fear that the requirement for “commercial awareness” just got a whole lot more complicated.

They may well be right. Candidates will need to be up to speed on as many commercial and legal ramifications of Brexit as possible. However, if the current lack of information is anything to go by, this could mean becoming an expert in guesswork.

Christianah Babajide is an LLB student at City University.

46 Comments

Not Amused

One of the many advantages of Brexit will be its effect upon the psychology of young people.

Millions of 16 to 24 year olds seem to be extremely nervous about the UK making a political decision to renegotiate our trade agreement with some of our closest friends and allies. That is on any level – disproportionate anxiety.

When they live through this. When they notice that … errr… the markets recovered within 2 days and that errr… the sky has not fallen in. Then they will emerge as a far more self confident generation. Able to stride forward in to the world without the need for constant nannying.

This can only be a good thing.

(28)(107)

Anonymous

You brexiters live in a fantasy world. The economy has not recovered. It may have stabilised for now but that is only because the legal consequences of Brexit have not begun yet.

(77)(11)

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Well I’ll certainly have to be more confident as my nanny will probably get deported. Poor nanny.

Looks like I’ll have to find a new campaign manager as well.

(25)(1)

Anonymous

Shut up you twat leaving the EU is the most retarded decision that could have been made

(52)(15)

Jacob Rees-Mogg

I don’t appreciate being called a “twat” by someone not brave enough to give their real name.

(5)(21)

Previously Legal

Presumably Not Amused is a disciple of Gove’s Maoist advocacy of ‘creative destruction’; at best, this is presumably some sort of mass psychological, social and economic experiment on the young people of the UK (including the thousands of non-UK young people living, studying and working here). Another form of stress testing on a whole population? Where does your assurance come from that this period of huge uncertainty will have a positive result? Do you envisage any losers at all? Or will young people all be winners? If not, do we just say to the losers that they are acceptable collateral in this grand experiment?

(15)(2)

Anonymous

Yes the FTSE 100 hasrecovered, 250 which is a better indicator – not so much. The pound is still through the floor and the Govenor of the Bank of England is suggesting Quantitive Easing (this is a massive deal and indicates what creak we have decided to go down). We are at serious risk of recession and inflation at this point and this is only a week after the shit show of a referendum.

Add to that we will have to negotiate bi-lateral trade agreements for the first time in 40 years (believe New Zealand are loaning some negotiators out! Pheww!), we need to keep access to the free market so as not to spook the financial services sector and will inevitably have to accept free movement of people. Given the referendum was won on an anti immigrant ticket this poses problems politically and socially…

If you honestly believe the British economy is in a better place today than a week ago you’re a moron, or a Brexiter in denial. You can chat as much about independence, and the histrionics of forging our own path, but do not downplay the severity of the position we are in.

(27)(5)

Dublin BL

Absolute Bunkum.

Also extremely condescending to 16 – 24 years olds to simply say “The grown ups have made a decision now – of course you are far too immature to understand it – but don’t worry some day, long after we have gone, you will”

The young have a well founded and justifiable concern regarding the future of their country, and it actually is a concern that resides largely outside of trade and economics.

When those who campaigned to leave fail to reduce immigration both from inside and outside the EU, concede to the demands of the single market without ever being able to alter it, place the country in further unnecessary economic hardship that will disproportionately affect the young working class, I wonder who the Brexiters will scapegoat then – now they have lost their favourite punching bag. Who will bear the brunt of their hatred…?

Maybe this was the concern of the young…

(14)(4)

Anonymous

And when they see Scotland leave the UK and join the EU they’ll feel a lot smaller, and that their fellow Englishman are a bit stupid.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Although I’ll be studying Law at a Russell Group in September I am quite worried about being able to get a city law job upon graduation in the light of Brexit. Possibly dark times ahead… 😕

(9)(10)

Interloper

Dark times already here old chap..

But lob on, it will get a whole lot darker… 🙁

(6)(4)

Anonymous

Don’t worry, being a lawyer is a crap job anyway.

(26)(2)

City TC in the bag

Russell Group? You poor peasant!

Never mind, everyone’s allowed to dream!

(2)(13)

Anonymous

Lol at the picture for number 1. Of course you’ll be on the streets looking for a job with a De Montfort LLB, Brexit or not. It just screams I wasn’t clever enough to go to Leicester or a respectable university

(29)(3)

Anonymous

I cannot express how much I love this comment.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

I have a city TC due to start in 2017. I’m worried that the quality of work I get may be significantly less had Brexit not happened. Will the markets freeze up? Lack of M&A, litigation and transactional work? I’d be so flipping annoyed if my TC was crap or looked upon less favourably due to the stupid leave voters!

(1)(11)

Anonymous

Corporate law is boring, who cares if the work dries up? Go and do something interesting, like trapeze artist or writer for Legal Cheek.

(9)(3)

Anonymous

M&A and finance have been dead for months. Now they won’t recover. Lit, on the other hand, is roaring and will continue to do so as the recession sets in.

(0)(0)

Not Amused

Of course the other option is for young people to turn in to hysterical lunatics who are unable to accept that the majority of the people disagree with them. They can invent increasingly fanciful scenarios and confidently predict the unknowable future from their position of zero actual experience.

I think that is a less attractive option.

Only a small number of committed but self indulgent individuals still believe in Project Fear. It is fast turning in to a religious cult. I am loathe to see our young people taking up placards and ranting on Hyde Park Corner – or the modern equivalent, terrifying their contemporaries on social media with complete gibberish.

(9)(13)

Anonymous

“terrifying their contemporaries on social media with complete gibberish”

Oh, the irony.

(12)(2)

Fudgel Narage

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

If not for the free market there would be no TCs for you, my dear

(2)(1)

Massachusetts

“… confidently predict the unknowable future from their position of zero actual experience…”

You mean, like the Leave campaign did? Reference the promise of £350m to the NHS splashed across the side of a bus, which was retconned around 11am on the Friday morning.

(13)(1)

Günther von Gepoopenschaft

Since venn hast der fakt zat der majority disagrees wiz you schtopped vinging pilitically korrekt types from demanting der own vey regartless?

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Not uncommonly, you come across as intelligent and well-informed. Here though, you are wrong.

It is as plain as day that the economy will suffer, seriously, following Brexit.

The long term depends on the type of Brexit we have.

Laughingly, it seems the most likely is a Norway style association. Meaning that after all this nonsense, all Britain has managed to do is give up its seat on the table, while having to comply with all the rules that go with the single market.

If the real swivel eyed loons get their way though, and freedom of movement isn’t accepted, then heaven knows what kind of economy we’re going to have. But of course, prosperity doesn’t matter to that lot does it? It doesn’t matter if we’re poor, so long as we’re white.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

When we cease being ‘white’ we will probably become poor like so many other places in this world. This may be short term pain but in the long run it is far and away the best thing, most people know this in their guts which was why they voted out. Just watch Merkel’s Europe decline as it opens its doors unreservedly to the third world.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Only a small number of fanatics don’t now believe entirely in Remain’s accurate and reasonable predictions – this is what you meant to say I think rather than bleating on about Project Fear. I bet you even think Boris and Gove are good politicians after their cowardly retreat.

(5)(1)

Tired of remainer crybaby bitches!

Young people are dumb and weak! Media and education have made you docile and unable of independent and deep thought. You just repeat rhetoric and what the BBC tell you. Children value childish things and do not understand concepts like democracy and freedom. That is why they cannot accept the vote to leave and happy to allow an EU superstate, via the backdoor, buy their support … just like a prostitute willing to sell her morals and integrate for money!

(4)(16)

Jezzah Corbs

Thanks for that Nigel. Now fuck off, would ya?

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Chav scum!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Must commend the article by this new new legal cheek writer.
Well structured, informative and raised some good questions.
Didn’t feel like I’ve wasted precious minutes of my life reading this article, as I have felt many a time reading other articles on legal cheek in the past….

(14)(0)

Reportah

Agreed, Katie better watch out – Christianah Bababude is after her!

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Sadly, if she sticks around it won’t be long before Christianah is writing an article entitled “The Top 10 Wannabe Top Lawyers’ Instagram Posts as Decided by Charlotte Proudman and Amal Clooney”, or some drivel copied off The Tab.

(0)(1)

Top Cat

hmm, fair point it is a well written article now i think of it

(2)(0)

Anonymous

A weak pound is an excellent way to boost exports. Good for the economy init‽

(1)(3)

Anonymous

But export to whom? And what are you actually exporting?

If Scotland goes independent there goes the oil…

Aren’t the biggest buyers of British exports the EU countries?

(3)(0)

Günther von Gepoopenschaft

Und if Norzern Ireland goes, zere goes der potatoes!!!!

(1)(1)

Günther von Gepoopenschaft

Ze Britishers haff schtill not gotten ober der war!

(1)(0)

Bremainer

I didn’t get my own way.

Therefore I’m going to do everything I can to get my own way.

I don’t care if more people wanted to leave than stay.

They were all wrong and I was right.

Therefore I’m going to cry, make myself sick and poo my pants on purpose until I get what I want.

#2ndreferendumnow

(2)(13)

Asiansplain

I am a Brexiter.

I view Brexit as a football match, and my team won.

I don’t engage in political discourse because Brexit has no consequences beyond my team winning.

I value vague concepts such as democracy and sovereignty above all rational thought.

I shot everyone in the foot, but put my victims down for not moving on.

#brexitisntthatbadisit

(8)(1)

Bremainer Girl (private school knickers)

I, like, totally agree?

I didn’t, like, vote in the referendum because I didn’t, like, totally think it would happen?

I think we should, like, have another referendum for people like me so that we can say that, like, had we known we would get Brexit we could have voted against it?

Do you, like, know what I’m saying?

(1)(6)

Anonymous

What’s all the fuss above?

Kind regards,

Boris

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Brexit isn’t even gonna happen, chill guys.

Any one voting for me this year

Kind regards,

Michael Gove

(0)(3)

Anonymous

Time for a referendum, anyone?

Best wishes,

Alex of Scotland

(2)(1)

Anonymous

We are giving the EU for the 17yr obsessive prejudicial and selfish ambition of ONE nasty man and the appeasement of a few opinionated right wing Tory back benchers.
Come on Britain wake up to the fact they are not interested in our well being only their own personal agenda and ambitions for power and control { after all they were born to rule} HEAVEN help us.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Sorry should have written we are giving up on the EU for the 17yr obsessive and selfish ambition of ONE nasty man

(0)(0)

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