Current research assistant profiles
Ever year, our research assistants come from all areas and backgrounds. Find out about some of this year’s intake, and what they think about the job, below:
Team Criminal Law
Degree: Law LLB; Law LLM in Human Rights Law and BPTC.
University: University of Birmingham (LLB), UCL (LLM) and BPP Law School (BPTC).
Previous work experience: I interned at the law reform charity, JUSTICE and human rights organization, ARTICLE 19. I have also volunteered as a social security caseworker and representative at the First-tier Tribunal.
Project: Hate Crime.
What are your future plans? To gain pupillage at a Chambers with a criminal law and civil liberties practice and continue to volunteer.
Tell us about a recent piece of work I wrote a research memo which established the theoretical basis for rationalising bringing certain characteristics within the protection of hate speech law, as contained in the Public Order Act 1986.
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? There is undoubtedly no better opportunity to be involved in law reform work. This role provides both the independence and support you need to develop. Working with colleagues who have unparalleled experience in the legal profession is hugely beneficial to a future career in law.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: The closeness of the team and the frequent social events. The thought-provoking work and opportunity to consult with stakeholders to understand the real-life implications of our projects, is also the best thing about working at the Law Commission.
How did you hear about the job? I was put in contact with a previous RA in the criminal law team who told me about the role.
How did you find the application process? I found the process stressful at first, because it was time-consuming and I applied during my BPTC year. Thankfully, the RA guide really helped in making the process easier. The test was relatively straightforward and the interview was not nearly as daunting as I expected.
Tips for applicants: Make sure you carefully consider which of the team/s you are applying to. You should read up on recent and, or ongoing projects – this will help you link your work and academic experience and interests to the relevant team. Make sure you read the RA guide and watch the mock interview video on the website, as they are extremely helpful.
Team: Public Law
University: LLB (Trinity College Dublin), BCL (Oxford)
Previous work experience: Internships in the Irish Department of Justice and Equality and in solicitors’ firms in Dublin.
Projects: Automated vehicles. This project involves reviewing the legal framework for the safe deployment of automated vehicles on UK roads.
Tell us about a recent piece of work I am currently conducting research relating to the implications of UK’s withdrawal from the EU for motor-vehicle regulation. An exciting piece of work given its current political significance!
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? If you like thinking critically about the policy rationales underlying legal rules, you’ll enjoy working at the Law Commission. The role provides an opportunity to contribute to the development of law and policy. You will also have the chance to meet with people who are directly affected by your research.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: The opportunity to develop your legal skills in ways not possible at university, in a supportive and friendly environment surrounded by lawyers who are experts in their fields.
How did you hear about the job? My tutor at university suggested I apply for the position.
How did you find the application process? Although lengthy, I got the impression that the application process was objective, fair and transparent. I also felt that the interview panel were not trying to catch me out. They were friendly and wanted each candidate to perform to the best of their abilities.
Tips for applicants: My advice would be to give the application plenty of time and thought. There are clear instructions given as to how to fill out the application form. I would follow those instructions closely. Give some thought to what kind of examples to provide in your form. Simple examples that show you possess the skills necessary for the job are better than lists of achievements, I’d say.
Team: Commercial and Common Law (“CoCo”)
Degree: Law and History
University: BA/LLB (University of Sydney); LLM (University of Cambridge)
Previous work experience: Researcher and Tipstaff (Judicial Assistant) in the New South Wales Court of Appeal; paralegal at a commercial firm working in technology, media and telecommunications
Projects: Right to Manage (“RTM”)
What are your future plans? Pupillage in media and communications law
Tell us about a recent piece of work: I am currently drafting a chapter for the RTM Report on the RTM company structure. Recently, I attended an All-Party Parliamentary Group evidence meeting on artificial intelligence, and prepared a research memo on the GDPR.
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? It is incredibly exciting to be in the “engine room” of law reform, and contributing towards making the law more just, fair and accessible.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: The RA role is a fascinating intersection of law and policy. It combines “black letter” legal research with more creative tasks like drafting policy, testing its application, and interacting with consultees. The RAs are fully integrated to the project team, including attending the weekly policy meetings (where debates can get animated!).
How did you hear about the job? Law Commission website.
How did you find the application process? The written task was challenging but rewarding – particularly because the question was tailored to CoCo’s area of work.
Tips for applicants: Allow plenty of time to complete the application form, and make sure to use the STAR method. The Guide for Applicants also contains detailed information on things to look out for, such as how to format your CV.
Team: Property, Family, and Trust Law
Degree: LLB and LLM (Medical Law and Ethics with Human Rights Law)
University: University of Kent
Previous work experience: I worked as a temporary research assistant for Dr. Kirsty Horsey, helping to consolidate and update her work on surrogacy law reform.
Projects: My main project is leasehold enfranchisement, but I also have involvement with land registration/easements.
What are your future plans? I’m currently applying for PhD opportunities (looking at the birth registration system and its effect on conceptualising “parenthood” and (hetero)normative constructions of the “family”) and scholarships to help fund it. I also intend to practise as a barrister at some point in the future.
Tell us about a recent piece of work: I recently wrote a research memo on first registration of land, rectification and indemnity and highlighted some differences in approach between two of our reports, suggesting which approach we might prefer to carry forward.
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? It’s the perfect route into anything within the legal world – a lot of research assistants either go on to practice law or into academia, or wider policy work – but you also learn a lot of transferable skills. It’s also a really great place to network, as you come into contact with lots of different professionals.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: It’s genuinely hard to pick one thing. The people are amazing, which makes the workplace a nice environment to be in, but it’s also really nice to know you could be making genuine change to people’s lives by way of law reform. Aside from that, the flexible working is a life-saver and the Commission really emphasises the need for a work/life balance.
How did you hear about the job? My law school’s weekly bulletin.
How did you find the application process? The initial application form was quite lengthy, so I’d recommend setting aside a few weeks to really nail it. It could also be challenging at times – especially the tasks you’re set if selected for interview – but this sets you up for life at the Law Commission.
Tips for applicants: Be prepared! For the written parts of the application process, make sure to write in a clear and concise way. I’d recommend reading some of the Commission’s reports to understand the way in which we write, and to see if you can emulate that in your application. Also, throughout, really make sure you ‘sell’ yourself – even if you don’t have much practical experience. But, aside from that, and as cringeworthy as it sounds, be yourself. There is no “ideal” or “example” research assistant, so don’t feel as though you have to look or act a certain way.
Team: Public Law
Degree: LLB; LLM
University: King’s College London; University of Cambridge
Previous work experience: Paralegalling and research assistance.
Projects: Simplification of Immigration Rules; Employment Law Hearing Structures; Administrative Review
What are your future plans? I hope to go to the Bar.
Tell us about a recent piece of work: I wrote a research memo on the existence and scope of a principle of good administration in domestic law.
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? The opportunity to work on a range of fascinating projects which have a profound impact on the lives of ordinary people.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: Gaining policy experience has added more depth to my understanding of legal arguments.
How did you hear about the job? A tutor recommended applying.
How did you find the application process? Overall, I think the process is very transparent. The application form required a lot of time and thought. The interview was friendly and challenging.
Tips for applicants: The aim of the application form is to allow you to show how your experiences will enable you to succeed in the role, so find specific examples and spell out what skills they evidence.