Aspiring Environmental Lawyer (and his son)

Aspiring Environmental Lawyer (and his son)

Hi! I'm Jack, a single dad raising funds for a Graduate Diploma in Law, starting in September 2017. Thank you for your generosity.

We did it!

On 2nd Sep 2017 we successfully raised £110 with 3 supporters in 56 days

About me and my campaign

I am a single dad committed to pursuing a career in law. In fact, I've already completed a masters degree at the University of Kent's Law School, establishing specialisms in international environmental and international commercial laws. In order to continue my journey, I now need to complete a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), and am delighted to hold an unconditional offer from the BPP University Law School, to start in September 2017. This is the gateway to the legal career I aspire to. However, having self-funded my masters, and an affordable loan being near impossible for a single parent to secure (despite currently working full-time), I’m hoping that crowdfunding may help me pay the tuition fees and concentrate on how best to balance my studies with work and fatherhood over the next 12-18 months.

For more information about my background, please visit my Linkedin profile

 

The journey so far

I initially made the decision to pursue a legal career shortly after becoming a single parent following the breakdown of my marriage. At this time I was fortunate enough to be represented in the High Court by an inspirational family lawyer and fantastic barrister. I can actually pinpoint my decision to a particular meeting with my solicitor, from which I emerged determined to find a positive outcome from what was otherwise a very challenging period of my life.

So when my son started primary school, I decided to go back to University to study a masters in law (LLM). With an undergraduate degree in Environmental Social Sciences, and a working background in sustainability, I decided to specialise in International Environmental Law and International Commercial Law. The LLM is a great way for a career-changer like myself to demonstrate long-term commitment to the legal profession. Environmental law as a specialism has been gaining considerable momentum over the last few decades; and by opting to study international commercial law modules alongside international environmental law, I hoped to demonstrate the commercial awareness that necessarily underpins successful practice as an environmental lawyer within complex and shifting socio-economic and political landscapes.

As you cannot obtain traditional student loans for postgraduate degrees, and I was unsuccessful in my application for a bursary, I self-funded my way through the LLM. I was basically determined to pursue this new and exciting career path at any cost. I know for certain that a lot of people thought I was mad to believe that a single parent with insignificant savings and a growing gap on his CV could suddenly carve out a succesful legal career. With a student loan already hanging around my neck, I understood how costly higher education is, but was determined not to let that become a barrier. The biggest challenge for me has actually been a mental one, and those in similar circumstances would surely relate. By this time I was becoming accutely aware of some stereo-typical views of single parents, or for that matter, anyone who finds themselves in need of support through little fault of their own. To my surprise, these views didn't often arise in society in general, but were certainly present in every aspect of the social welfare system. Incidentally, this is where I've always encountered those who would tell me my dreams are not achievable. Primarily for this reason, the last few years have been an emotional rollercoaster. I have developed the resilience of Captain America's sheild and am slowly challenging these stereotypes and proving that it is possible to achieve your dreams. The key is belief. I have learned to believe in myself and to surround myself with those who believe in me. That is obviously easier said than done. I remember walking across the University of Kent's campus after registering for my LLM, in disbelief that I'd even been accepted in the first place! A real turning point in this respect was when the first assignment results came back, along with feedback from tutors and classmates - I realised I was surrounded by people who believed in me.

As I write this bid for crowdfunding, I am preparing to attend my LLM graduation ceremony. Reflecting on my journey so far, I am immensely proud to have achieved a mixture of merits and distinctions for my assignments, and a merit overall:

Module

Assessment Type

Grade Achieved

World Trade Organisation Law and Practice

5,000 word essay

72% Distinction

Economic Sociology of Law

5,000 word essay

72% Distinction

EU Environmental Law and Policy

5,000 word essay

Presentation

68% Merit

68% Merit

International Environmental Law - Substantive Legal Aspects

1,000 word essay

4,000 word essay

Presentation

72% Distinction

65% Merit

72% Distinction

Climate Change & Renewable Energy Law

5,000 word essay

68% Merit

Corporate Governance

5,000 word essay

78% Distinction

Dissertation

20,000 word essay

65% Merit

 

I am still astonished that I managed to study law for the first time in my life to such a high level, and at a University 60 miles away from where I live; constantly juggling classes, reading and assignments with the school runs and all the responsibilities that come with raising a 4 year old and running a household all on your own. Needless to say, my immediate family has been incredibly supportive, and I’ve developed personal qualities I never knew I was capable of developing.

Since finishing the LLM, these newly developed qualities have been beneficial while working within one of the largest regulatory bodies in the UK. Incidentally, this valuable experience has made me even more confident I have chosen the right career path, and hungrier to progress.

 

Why invest in me?

In return for your generosity, I would be more than happy to provide updates on my progress to all donors who would like to receive them. On reaching my target, I will match the 5% handling fee charged by crowdfunder.co.uk, with donations of 2.5% each to two charities close to my heart; Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and Gingerbread, the single parent charity. Furthermore, you will be investing directly in the development of an ambitious environmental lawyer, aspiring to highly influential positions within niche public law firms, NGOs such as ClientEarth, international organisations like the UN Environment Programme, or exciting firms like Tesla, who are pushing legal boundaries. In addition, I am hoping that in years to come, I can offer a source of inspiration to other single parents who feel trapped or unable to pursue their dreams and provide for their families in the way they would like.


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