News

You’ve ‘wrecked’ my dream of becoming a lawyer: French LPC student blasts Boris’ Brexit vision in emotional open letter

By on
25

PM is putting party and ego before national interests, Royal Holloway law grad claims

📸 Original image via Snowmanradio

A London-based French law student has penned an emotional open letter to Boris Johnson in which she claims the Prime Minister has “wrecked” her dream of becoming a UK lawyer by persuing his “self-destructive” Brexit vision.

Writing in the pro-EU website the New European this week, Royal Holloway law graduate Émilie Ancelin explains how she has always wanted to study in the UK with a view to qualifying as a lawyer. “I did everything I could to make this dream come true”, she writes. “Despite bullying and harassment at school for years, disagreement with family, and a hell of a lot of hard work, I finally made it.”

But Ancelin, who is studying the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at The University of Law, says her career aspirations now hang in the balance — and the PM and his Brexit plans are to blame.

“I am extremely delighted to have given five years of my life to the country I loved and cherished the most, but to get what in return? she asks. “Contemplating being kicked out, losing all of my friends and new relationships. Losing everything I have spent almost five years of my life to build and for what reasons? For some ridiculous and pointless partisan childish quarrels and underlying lies you have been serving us for three years now.”

Ancelin claims Brexit is “unfair” and “undemocratic” as it fails to factor in the views of European citizens — those, she says, are most affected by the outcome. She continues:

“I will continue to fight Brexit right up until the final minute. I do not believe anybody here really wants the Brexit you are about to serve to the country. Nobody ever voted for a no-deal exit from the European Union, they did not have a say on your deal either. The 17.4 million people who voted Leave made their decision based on the lies and manipulation, and you know that better than anyone else that to be true!”

The 2019 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

Rounding off her firey missive, Ancelin says the PM has no idea how Britain will fare post-Brexit and that he has ignored the consequences of such a decision. “Yet you have decided to go ahead with it”, she writes, “putting your party and ego before the interest of your own nation and your own people”.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, Ancelin says she decided to write the letter to give a voice for all the European citizens living in the UK that are feeling abandoned by the government. “In the last few months there have been so many issues with EU citizenship”, she explains, “notably with people being denied their fundamental right to vote in the European Election”.

She continues:

“[I]f Brexit happens, I am hoping to be able to remain in the UK… [I’am] determine[d] to find a paralegal role/training contract in the UK and finalise my training to become a recognised solicitor in the UK. I notably want to specialise in clinical negligence and medical ethics or IP law, as these are what I am really passionate about.”

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

Comments on this article are now closed.

25 Comments

Losing Patience

What a stupid and baseless article. The Conservatives confirmed that on a no deal exit no European nationals would be deported. Perhaps the reason she hasn’t secured a training contract could be the large chip on her shoulder.

(170)(8)

Legal Genius

Only people who are not EU citizens. Every single EU student I’ve known has successfully applied and been granted settled status. Take your yellow-press articles elsewhere.

(18)(6)

Jojo

I live in UK for 14 years. I went to high school, college and I’ve just graduated, currently doing my postgraduate course whilst working in the meantime before securing my training contract. I’ve applied for settlement status and I was declined immediately as apparently I have lived in UK less than 5 years. To prove the fact that I have been here over 5 years I have to show evidence of 6 months for each year all the way from 2012 (random date picked by the Home office). So please do not speak for others as not all eu students has been granted a settlement status. In addition, from now on I am treaded as eu student instead of “home student” as I used to be.

(15)(20)

Anonymous

What is the difficulty in providing Bank statements / energy or water bills for these years? While Home Office is often annoying and inefficient (have a lot of personal stories with them forgetting to send me my documents etc.), they are not asking you to do the impossible.

(41)(3)

Not Amused

Just for clarity:

– No EU citizens will be expelled, she has been offered residency rights
– She will have a UK qualification so can apply for jobs here as soon as she finishes
– Even if she had a French qualification, it is open to the professions to agree to recognise EU qualifications (as the vets just did)

A lot of people seem to be passionately against Brexit because they seem to believe things which are not true. That’s not a great platform from which to claim others were misled.

(118)(4)

PolishLawyer

I do not want to undermine her personal experience, but I honestly think she is exaggerating. I am also an EU national – from Poland, to be precise. My fellow countrymen do not necessary have a good reputation (some of them deservedly so) yet in general I found many British people welcoming, even those who I know for a fact voted for Brexit.

I had a great time at university and have just secured a training contract a few months in a City law firm. Clearly, the fact that I am not British did not preclude me from achieving my dream. Also, the political turmoil of the past few years did not make my living or working conditions any harder – I had no problems with finding a job, finding a nice flat or generally enjoying a good life here.

While I personally still think that Brexit is not a good idea, I accept that as a person without a British passport I have no say over this – at least not until I apply for the citizenship here, which is something I am planning to do one day.

I have also recently received my settled status as part of EU Settlement Scheme. I know that some people had serious issues with this scheme and these need to be addresses, but otherwise the process is rather easy to go through and guarantees my rights to stay in the UK.

I am not saying it is all sunshine and roses but anytime I encounter someone who complains about their rights to stay in the UK post-Brexit, most of the time they actually have little reason to worry and have simply not educated themselves enough.

(102)(3)

A remainer writes...

So she’s basically suggesting that her own career ambitions are the most important factor in Brexit? Lol.

(83)(0)

Barrister

To be fair she might only be eligible for pre-settled status, which would give her the right to work here for only five years. This might affect employers’ willingness to take her on, or her own assessment of whether it’s worth trying to start a career here.

(8)(19)

US firm NQ

To be fair I am not from the EU and needed a two week visa (takes months to get) work visa even for my vacation scheme. This did not affect my training contract. Saying that a 5 year right to freely work in the country will be damaging for her chances is just ludicrous.

(57)(3)

Barrister

Clearly it’s possible for some non-EU citizens to get a UK work visa. But this person is complaining about losing the privileges of EU status – including the ability to work without needing a visa. Other commenters have suggested she will not lose these privileges. My point is that actually, she may.

(3)(18)

Soph

Once she hits 5 years in the UK she will be eligible to apply for a settled status. According to her LinkedIn profile, she arrived to the UK in 2015. She can easily apply for a pre-settled status now and will thereafter have ample time (a few years, in fact) to covert it into settled status.
It’s not a rocket science, chap, just basic maths.

(29)(0)

US firm NQ

You misunderstand the nature of the settlement scheme – before the end of that temporary 5 years she would have a chance to get the permanent status. She does not have to do anything to get it – just stay in the UK most of the time.

So she will not loose any privileges of the EU status and is will always be much more privileged than hundreds of thousands of people from India / US / Russia / China, who came from outside the EU and cannot even do a vacation scheme without a visa. Just feels weird when you attempt to show a person, who is clearly privileged in comparison to thousands of others as some sort of a victim.

(35)(0)

A Barrister

I second what a couple of people here (e.g. PolishLawyer) have said. I’m definitely not a fan of Brexit, and as an EU national, I was worried about it when I was applying for pupillage. I still secured pupillage relatively quickly. I made a settled status application and it was granted within a couple of days after I submitted my supporting documents (which were really just degree certificates, a few bank statements and a letter from my chambers).

I’m not saying Brexit is incapable of negatively affecting your chances in the job market. Nor am I saying I’ve never felt a bit unwelcome. But it doesn’t ‘wreck anyone’s dream’ to qualify as a lawyer here.

(30)(0)

jim

Re open letter, no one gives a f*ck.

(23)(1)

Polish Lawyer 2

All the commentators are blindly missing a major point about the EU settlement scheme. What if you do not want to receive a settled status because it may compromise your political ambitions in your own country should you choose to go back and start a political career when you are older? Some countries have very restrictive as to who can participate in politics.

(1)(54)

tips@legalcheek.com

Why would this be a problem?

Does not living away from your country for years do the same? If you want to be a politician in your country, you should live in it. Otherwise you will not know the problems that people have and have zero contact with the electorate. This just does not work in a democracy (unless you want to impose your iron will after coming from abroad a be a dictator, like Lenin or Ho Chi Minh).

More seriously speaking – you can always apply for your UK permit / citizenship to be terminated before launching your political career. This happened a lot in the Baltic states after their liberation in 1990. Former citizens, living abroad terminated their US / other citizenship and were elected MPs or even presidents of the countries. It still happens quite often in Georgia, Ukraine etc.

(31)(0)

anotherEU_Lawyer

To be fair, ignorance of EU free movement rights (and their resemblance in the future Brexit deal) is spread in the English legal market, so she is in good company.

As a EU citizen (hired in my capacity of EU qualified lawyer because of the need for someone from my particular jurisdiction) I do clearly recall, back in 2016, at the edge of the referendum, an english qualified Partner of my top US litgation shop asking whether I was there on a working Visa…always wondered how could it be that skipping the EU law classes in his GDL did not hinder his career.

(1)(10)

Hope Joanna

*an EU

(2)(3)

Remainocrat

I’m American – not being in the EU didn’t stop me doing the LPC and finding a training contract with a firm in London. She’ll just have to apply for a visa like non-EU people do, it’s not that hard.

It’s obviously a downgrade from the status quo but pretending the dream is forever ruined just strikes as temper tantrum.

(33)(2)

PolishLawyer

Well, that’s the thing – she will NOT have to apply for a visa. She needs to apply for pre-settled status now and then convert it to settled one later on (which, in her case, will be sometime in 2020 given than she arrived in 2015, as someone mentioned above).
The process for EU nationals, especially those who are currently residing here in the UK, is way easier than one might think.
Of course, it will be different for those who arrive here post-Brexit, but then this is not exactly set in stone either.

(6)(0)

AnotherEU_Lawyer

EU lawyers/students are already discriminated over people from the commonwealth (I believe for no reasons) under the current regime in which there is no immigration clearance needed to hire an EU citizen. To the point that in the EU competition law department of a MC firm you are more likely to find a Canadian/kiwi/Aussie etc. than a French or a German (which in principle should know more about EU antitrust law that anyone from the commonwealth).

If EU citizens were to lose their working privileges, there would be no hope for them in the English legal market. English native speakers or people with really interesting Languages (russian, Chinese, etc) would always be preferred.

Luckily, this is not happening.

(9)(6)

A Lawyer

The EU settlement Scheme is by comparison with the usual immigration process extremely straightforward, having gone through the application myself on behalf of my wife I found it easy to navigate. In essence, all you have to do is show you are an EEA national or Swiss through an ID document such as a passport from that member state, although a driving license is permitted and then show you have lived in the country proving your address history such as with bank statements, council tax bills, tax records, driving licence, utility bills, payslips and such documents. She was granted ILR within a couple of weeks. This contrasts sharply with an Australian colleague who is dual qualified in the UK who has to wait up to 9 months to know the result of her ILR application. I also wager its a lot easier than the French equivalent for UK nationals. There is ultimately no question, she can stay in the country and has until 2021 to apply under the EU settlement scheme, nor is there any question she can qualify in the UK.

(10)(0)

Anon

Wow – Alan Blacker looks at least 15 years older than someone in their 40’s.

(7)(1)

Tommy

What on earth are they teaching at University of Law if this young lady thinks she is at risk of being ‘kicked out’…..even watching some news on TV it confirms people won’t be ‘kicked out’.

I hope she reads all the comments about settled status.

What type of lawyers are being churned out of teaching institutes …

(14)(0)

US firm NQ

To be fair this two years are not for the EU students, it is for the students outside of the EU. The EU students get an even better deal and would be able to stay for 5 years and get permanent status during this 5 years.

But this is a welcome end to Theresa May’s reign of terror – before she came to the foreign office all non-EU students could work for 2 years after their studies before getting a proper work visa or coming back to their country etc. This made sense as it allowed them to get some work experience after their studies without putting any burden on public purse (they could not use public funds or aide).

Theresa May’s home office turned two years work permit into 3-4 months, which made it impossible for students to find any work and forced them to leave the country before their graduation ceremony (in some cases). Good to see Boris returning the Tony Blair time rules back.

(5)(0)

Comments are closed.

Related Stories