We caught up with Lucy Sutcliff who studied the International Financial Law LLM at King’s College London. Lucy talks to The Lawyer Portal about her decision to pursue a KCL LLM and how she coped with the course.
I studied the International Financial Law LLM at King’s College London (KCL) in London. The experience was challenging, but ultimately skill-enhancing and rewarding. I chose my specialism because I’m hoping to become a commercial solicitor. Recruitment teams look for applicants with solid ‘commercial awareness’ and commitment to the legal field. I was convinced that the LLM in International Financial Law would help me develop pertinent skills, relevant knowledge and enhance my CV.
As a former casual reader of the Financial Times, the LLM really threw me in the deep end. In one of my first lectures the professor used three words I had to sneakily Google in order to keep up! However, support was easily found. Once the weekly (or fortnightly) seminars started, I was relieved to find my fellow classmates just as bewildered! Most of our professors were eager to cure our confusion.
As I moved through the initial growing pains that come with learning complex new material, I was amazed at how much material I’d learned. In my Mergers & Acquisitions taught module, I started off having no idea what a merger really was. At the end, I was able to write long analytical arguments about the need for principles of equality in mergers law. In the process, I had developed an interest in my subjects. I now regularly follow news stories about current mergers and acquisitions.
My dissertation became another surprise. Although I knew hedge funds existed, I would never have imagined writing a 12,000 word research paper! My dissertation was about their activism behaviours in the US and the UK. The LLM truly expanded and deepened my knowledge. I found this incredibly useful during some final round interviews at some of the top law firms in the city. During a recent interview, a partner who works with hedge funds expressed genuine interest in my dissertation. They discussed recent activity in the UK with me, a conversation that I would not have had if it were not for my LLM.
Outside the classroom, some of the best aspects of the KCL LLM were the networking opportunities. The KCL Postgraduate Law Society (KCL PGLS) held socials which allowed me to meet my fellow classmates. Many of them were lawyers from other jurisdictions. The KCL PGLS’s more official networking events garnered me invites to “Magic Circle” law firms for open evenings and informative talks. They were an important chance to network. These connections have been useful in finding a job and feeling confident in approaching new opportunities.
Taking advantage of the university’s internship and job website, I gained a valuable internship with a legal charity based in London. I undertook that for three months alongside my LLM. This experience helped me gain practical legal skills. It also enhanced my CV and secured me two references from solicitors. I would not have found those opportunities if I had not been a KCL LLM student.
On a personal level, the experience has acted to enhance my confidence in my chosen career path. It’s also helped me form lasting friendships with fellow students who share my interests and aspirations. A highlight was attending the PGLS’s end of year ball with my classmates in the Inner Temple’s Great Hall. The LLM was worth the cost and has made me feel more confident in securing a training contract and ultimately reaching my career goals.
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