Inaugural Institute Prize Goes to Michele Autuori

Michele AutuoriThe Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law (IISTL), which plays a central role in the delivery of LLM programmes in the realm of shipping and trade law, has recently introduced a Prize that is awarded to the student submitting the best LLM Project as part of LLM studies. The winner of the inaugural IISTL Prize in 2010 was Michele Autuori from Italy. Michele completed his LLM in International Commercial and Maritime Law and also awarded a distinction for his academic achievements.  Prior to coming to Swansea Michele obtained his undergraduate BA Law degree in Salerno, Italy and was also the first student in his intake to graduate on time and at the top of his class.

Commenting on Michele's achievement, Professor Baris Soyer, Director of Taught Master Schemes in the School of Law, said: "Michele is a determined and hard-working individual who has managed to develop his legal understanding considerably in the course of his LLM studies at Swansea.

"The LLM degrees offered by the Law School are well-known and regarded in shipping, banking and insurance sectors. The courses are taught by internationally recognised experts who are at the cutting edge of their disciplines. I have every confidence that the LLM degree will accelerate Michele's rise in the legal profession as he joins the elite class of Swansea LLM Alumni which is spread all around the world."

Michele is currently preparing for his oral exam - the last step in becoming an 'Awocato' which is the equivalent of a barrister and solicitor in Italy, whilst working as a trainee in the shipping finance department at the Rome office of Watson, Farley and Williams, a leading international law firm.

He added: "I had a number of offers from legal firms in Italy and abroad following my exams. Although I was not planning on returning to Italy straight away, I am really happy with my choice and just enjoy working after all those years of study. "I may return to Swansea to do a PhD or I may venture outside of Europe for a bit where my fluency in French, Spanish, Italian and English can be used to advantage."

Swansea LLM students experience London shipping practice

On 10 May 2010, a delegation of teaching staff and LLM students visited a number of leading enterprises within the City of London, in order to gain further practical insights into the practice of shipping and insurance law.

The delegates were first welcomed by the leading shipping and commercial law firm Ince and Co, where a number of partners gave presentations on aspects of legal training and recent developments in shipping law and practice.

The students were then given an opportunity over lunch to meet and discuss shipping law with a number of members of the Ince and Co team, ranging from senior partners to recent trainees, to gain further insights into future career opportunities.

Following this, the group visited Lloyds of London, where they were given a guided tour of the striking building and its famous trading floor. In addition to receiving a number of practical insights into insurance concerns, the delegates were also fully versed in the rich and fascinating history of the Lloyds institution.

Part of the LLM Delegation
Part of the LLM Delegation

The final port of call was to the leading P&I Club, Thomas Miller. Here, the delegates received a full introduction to this vital sector of the shipping industry and an outline of a number of contemporary issues within the field. The delegates were also afforded a valuable opportunity to discuss P&I issues with a number of the very helpful and encouraging members of the team at Thomas Miller.

The students found the trip to be an extremely rewarding experience, providing them both with a series of important insights into the practice of shipping law and marine insurance, as well as an opportunity to make valuable contacts with leading practitioners within the industry.

LLM Students Introduced to the Job Market at the Career Fair

On 17 March, the School of Law hosted a Careers Fair which was intended to give its LLM students the opportunity to meet representatives from international law firms specialising in commercial, shipping and trade law, management companies, P & I Clubs, and recruitment companies. The Careers Fair was enthusiastically received by our LLM students who were delighted to have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the national and international job market for LLM graduates.        

Even more gratifyingly, the various Fair exhibitors confirmed that they were impressed with the quality of the students that they met at the event. A spokesperson for one of the leading consultancy firms said that ‘in our firm we usually place a number of Maritime LLM students with our clients each year. We were impressed by the quantity and quality of the students we met today.  It is quite evident that the reputation of the teaching staff at Swansea is attracting good student numbers.  Combined with the efforts the University has put in to raise the bar for entry onto their courses, the outcome is not just increased numbers but increased calibre’.

LLM Students at the Career Fair interacting with the exhibitors

LLM Students at the Career Fair interacting with the exhibitors

The Fair was hosted on behalf of the School by Professor Richard Williams, who commented: “Having been a partner in an international law firm for over 25 years and someone who has had first hand experience of what the shipping and commercial industry requires of law students I have always been impressed by the desire of my colleagues to make our LLM programme relevant for the business world. It is gratifying to see that this aim is also appreciated by those who operate in that world and whose presence at the Careers Fair signalled their approval.”

LLM students were grateful for the opportunity the Career Fair presented to them. Philippe Van Dijck, a current LLM student at Swansea University, said “I decided to attend the Career Fair because I wanted to learn more about job opportunities for LLM students. I was pleased to see that there was a variety of firms attending the event. One of the great things at the Career Fair was the opportunity to speak not only to recruiters but also to practicing lawyers and employees. They provided me with valuable career advice and explained what being a maritime lawyer would involve. It is also interesting to note that several of the firms represented at the fair have a branch in another country. This is a great advantage for students who are looking for job opportunities outside the UK”.

LLM Students represent the Law School at the Residential Academic Conference

On 26-28 February 2010 the annual Staff-Student Conference was convened at Gregynog Hall. The Gregynog Conference is a major feature of the academic calendar of the Welsh universities and remains a popular event, attended by students and faculty of the Law Schools of Swansea, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities, and held in the picturesque surroundings of Gregynog Hall in Newtown. Here the students had an opportunity to hear a wide range of academic presentations and to discuss matters of interest in a relaxed and collegial environment. Swansea Law School took a decision a few years ago to send LLM students to this prestigious event as representatives of the School. This year, 17 LLM students attended the residential course enjoying not only the academic side of the event but also the opportunity to interact with students and academics from other law schools.

The Conference Venue and the Swansea LLM delegation at the Gregynog Conference

The Conference Venue and the Swansea LLM delegation at the Gregynog Conference

This year saw the usual wide variety of academic subjects discussed at the conference, albeit with a distinct maritime flavour with presentations on the protection of the RMS Titanic and the development of the Rotterdam Rules. Swansea Law School was also strongly represented, including presentations from Dr Patrick Bishop and Mr Richard Caddell, two lecturers well known to the LLM cohort. The LLM students from the School of Law, who made the journey to the Gregynog Hall, found the conference to be a very enjoyable and rewarding event, allowing them to explore both academic topics and the beautiful mid-Wales countryside.

 

Social Evenings and LLM Ball

One of the distinctive features of the taught master studies at Swansea is the close interaction the LLM students enjoy with their lecturers. It is common for students and staff to come together on social gatherings throughout the academic year. The social gatherings are usually held in a local pub and are well-attended both by students and lecturers.

Social Evenings and LLM Ball

1st photo - Students at a social evening before Christmas
2nd photo - Students enjoying themselves at a Bowling night organised by the LLM Committee text

Apart from trying to ensure that voices of the taught master students are heard at the appropriate forums within the Law School, Taught Master representatives are also responsible for organising the LLM/MA Ball (held usually in March) where students and the LLM/MA staff find an opportunity to come together in a formal setting before the exam period starts. The venue selected by this year’s Representatives - - Ms Laura Johnstone, Mr Adedoyin Adeloye and Mr Pieter Neels - - was the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea. The evening was a great success and attracted over 100 guests including several members of the teaching team.

LLM students with Professor Thomas and Dr Nikaki at the end of the year party

LLM students with Professor Thomas and Dr Nikaki at the end of the year party

One of the highlights of the evening was the crowning of the Prom Queen and King as determined by the votes of the LLM/MA cohort. Miss Megha Chatterjee was elected as the Prom Queen whilst Mr  Saif Mbydeen was crowned as the Prom King. The formal dinner was followed by a disco evening which lasted until the early hours of the morning.

The LLM 2010 Prom King and Queen

The LLM 2010 Prom King and Queen