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 and Classics
University: BA, LLB, GDLP (University of Adelaide); BCL (University of Oxford)
Previous work experience: before coming to the UK for my BCL, I was a Judge’s Associate in the Supreme Court of South Australia and then a solicitor at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (South Australia).
Project: Reform of the communications offences, looking at how the law can protect victims of harmful online behaviour.
What are your future plans? I am hoping to return to government legal work in Australia before going to the bar.
Tell us about a recent piece of work: I drafted a briefing note about how our provisional proposals for new criminal offences to address harmful communication interact with existing criminal laws.
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? The Commission’s work sits in the unique space between legal practice, academia and policymaking. This means that we get to grapple with intellectually complex legal problems while also, hopefully, helping solve practical issues with the current law. Having had some experience practising law as well as the opportunity to think more deeply about philosophy and legal theory at university, I think working at the Commission allows for insight into the best aspects of each.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: the diversity of people, opinions and perspectives. The Commission brings together lots of people with different skills and interests, and draws on all of them. While it has been very strange to start the job entirely virtually, everyone has been very welcoming, and I am learning a lot.
How did you hear about the job? My university careers service sent out an email about it.
How did you find the application process? The process was logical and relatively straightforward. While there were a few steps to it, none were too time consuming or intimidating.
Tips for applicants: keep your eyes out for the applications opening (the email I saw was only a few days before the deadline, which likely made the process more stressful for me than it needed to be). Most of all, be honest and explicit about why you are interested in the position. There are RAs at many different career stages, from those who are working for the first time since finishing their degrees to those with years of professional experience. So if you are interested in the work, apply!
Team: Public Law and the Law in Wales team
Degree: Law with Welsh LLB
University: Bangor University
Previous work experience: I have previously worked on the Infected Blood Inquiry and in the High Court of Ireland in Dublin, as well as vacation schemes and work experience placements at various law firms.
Project: Devolved Tribunals in Wales
Tell us about a recent piece of work: I’m currently working on a research memo looking at the extent to which the guarantee of judicial independence (as contained in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005) extends to members of the devolved tribunals in Wales.
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? The work provides the perfect balance between having the independence to research and present work on a specific area of law, whilst also receiving unparalleled feedback on your work from some of the leading minds in the field. It’s also the perfect place to begin your career in the law, whatever field you chose to venture into.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: two of the best aspects of working at the Law Commission are the chance to work at the heart of law reform, and also the collegiate nature of the individual teams and the Commission as a whole.
How did you hear about the job? I heard about the role following an event organised by the Law School during my final year, hosted by the Law Commission’s Criminal Law Commissioner at the time.
How did you find the application process? Looking back, the application process is a good introduction to the role itself. By giving you the chance to demonstrate your abilities through written text and a panel interview, these skills foreshadow what you will be required to do when drafting consultation papers, or taking part in stakeholder engagement meetings.
Tips for applicants: never let your background deter you from applying. Diversity is a great asset in law reform as each individual colleague can bring a unique perspective to the table, creating a rich tapestry of experience that is the cornerstone of reform. There is no “typical RA”, all you need is enthusiasm and the willingness to learn and work hard!
Team: Property, Family and Trust Law
Degree: LLB Law
University: University of Exeter
Previous work experience: I have completed various internships at law firms and mini-pupillages with chambers. I was a student advisor at my university’s Access to Justice clinic and volunteered with the Pathways to Law scheme.
Project: Right to Manage (“RTM”)
What are your future plans? Studying the Bar Course and gaining experience to secure pupillage with a property and/or environmental law set.
Tell us about a recent piece of work: I created a research memo summarising the Draft Building Safety Bill and its initial reception. I also co-drafted an article for the Property in Practice magazine about the Commission’s recommendations for commonhold and leasehold reform.
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? It is an incredible opportunity to actively assist with the law reform process and gain unique, practical legal experience. I have enjoyed continuing the legal research and theory familiar from completing my LLB, yet developing this by considering the wider policy issues of potential solutions. Coupled with the unparalleled legal experience of your colleagues, the Commission really helps you to prepare for a legal career.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: undoubtedly the friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, even when the research assistants have joined remotely this year. Everyone has found the time to ask after me to see how I have found settling in. I honestly feel like I can ask anyone for help which is important because I am working on complicated areas of law that were previously unfamiliar to me.
How did you hear about the job? Studying a “Changing the Law” module at university and subsequently being recommended to apply by a lecturer.
How did you find the application process? At first, I found the application process quite daunting as it was lengthy, but the application guide contains useful information to help you. Although they were quite challenging, I enjoyed the tasks because the instructions were clear and straightforward. The interview panel were very friendly and I felt they were trying to get the most out of me. For these reasons I would say the application process is reflective of life at the Commission.
Tips for applicants: don’t be afraid to apply, even if you think you are under-qualified. Make sure to read the questions and follow the instructions carefully. Leave plenty of time to complete the application form and definitely proof-read it (that is one of the key tasks of research assistants!). Draw on all your experiences and select those that best demonstrate the skills required for the job. Throughout, try to write like a Law Commission report in its simple, accessible and concise style.
Team: Commercial and Common Law
Degree: Law LLB
University: University of Southampton
Previous work experience: none
Project: Intermediated Securities
What are your future plans? To complete Bar School next year, and then hopefully get a pupillage with a mixed commercial and common law Chambers.
Tell us about a recent piece of work: I’m currently working with the intermediated securities team to make the final amendments to the soon-to-be published scoping paper. A week ago, I attended a seminar on crypto-custodians and wrote a summary note for the team.
Why would you recommend working at the Commission? The Law Commission is a fascinating environment to work in. You get to see law from a completely different angle and speak to the people who are really affected by it. You also get the support and feedback to develop transferrable research, writing, and stakeholder management skills, which enhance your CV and your career opportunities.
Best thing about working at the Law Commission: the feedback, the amazingly supportive team, the friendly environment, and the blend of law and policy research you get the chance to undertake.
How did you hear about the job? I saw it on the Law Commission website while researching for an assignment, and then attended a presentation by the Law Commission at university.
How did you find the application process? I started researching the application process early and was glad I did. The application form is quite long and daunting, but the Commission produces some very useful guidance and it is worth leaving plenty of time to review it all. The test and interview weren’t bad at all!
Tips for applicants: tailor your application to the role you are going for – research. If you mention advocacy, make sure it is in the context of your skill as a researcher. Being an RA involves juggling legal thinking with admin, so if you have any admin experience flag that up too. Finally, research the projects your chosen team is working on, and make sure to pick one or two out in your application, explaining why you’re interested in them specifically.