A Series: Public Interest Careers Pt.3 (JLAP Interviews)

James Harper

Interviewed by Sahana Karthik

James is currently the Legal Director of Global Projects for LexisNexis, a prominent global provider of legal, government and business information sources. He is also the Executive Sponsor of their Rule of Law and Corporate Social Responsibility projects and has previously referred to the rule of law as being the ‘cornerstone’ of his career.

He has previously received training for mental health in the workplace and is a huge advocate of mental wellbeing amongst those in the corporate sphere. James works very closely with the International Law Book Facility on Rule of Law projects. 

He acknowledges and has previously personally experienced feelings of imposter syndrome (even as an established lawyer) and speaks to how he had tackled this issue. As he is a strong proponent of access to legal advice and education, he believes that students should develop this passion for the rule of law and involve themselves in such projects at university and further into their career.

Outside of his legal career, he is also an avid football player and an FA Level 1 Football Coach who trains his son’s football team.

A Series: Public Interest Careers Pt.2 (JLAP Interviews)

 Walker Syachalinga 

Interviewed by Brendon Yik 

Walker began his successful career at the University of Kent where he studied an undergraduate degree in law, alongside a volunteer role at the Kent Law Clinic which played a key role in his career progression. After passing the Bar Professional Training Course, he embarked on a Master of Laws course in International Law at UCL, which equipped him with the knowledge he still uses today to help those who have been victims of various human rights abuses and corporate injustices around the world.

Walker undertook a three month internship with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, where his work involved examining areas like abortion rights in Latin America and the rights of the LGBT community in parts of Africa.

He is a huge advocate of pro-bono work, and encourages students to search for pro-bono opportunities not only locally but on an international level too in order to gain a more global perspective on socio-political issues. He says that undertaking pro-bono work can enhance one’s cultural awareness as well as enrich your knowledge of the law in a way that cannot be taught in textbooks and classrooms.

Walker is currently a paralegal in the International & Group Claims department at Leigh Day, a firm dedicated to increasing access to justice for some of the most vulnerable people in the world. He recently assisted on a case that secured a settlement for 2,500 Zambian villagers in an environmental pollution claim against a UK-based mining company. The settlement followed a landmark Supreme Court decision (Lungowe v Vedanta Resources plc [2019] UKSC 20) which widened access to justice in the English courts in business and human rights cases. Walker is set to train as a solicitor at Leigh Day from September 2021.

A Series: Public Interest Careers Pt.1 (JLAP Interviews)

Pascale Bird 

Interviewed by Sahana Karthik and Brendon Yik 

Pascale began her illustrious legal career in Brussels, studying Law there before embarking on a Master of Laws Course at LSE in International Business Law. She then joined Simmons & Simmons as an associate in the EU and Competition Law department, advising on EU and UK regulatory issues as well as EU and UK merger control.

After a short career break, she decided to continue with her studies, moving away from the private sphere, and embarked on a further Masters Course in Geopolitics Territory Security at Kings College London, which propelled her into a volunteer role with Oxfam where her work involved managing the publication and editing of a book – ‘Climate Change Liability – Transnational Law and Practice.’

Her role at Lawyers Against Poverty since has involved the oversight and management of the Twinning Project, an initiative that establishes links between UK lawyers and lawyers in developing countries. This involves promoting justice within areas including domestic violence, the rights of disabled people and the rights of married women in differing parts of the world. She also works at Legal Response International, an organisation that provides free legal support to those in countries that are particularly susceptible to climate change’s impacts, as well as aiding these countries in their efforts to implement the Paris Climate Agreement.

Pascale is an avid supporter of pro-bono work, regardless of which industry students decide to pursue and believes everyone can play a part in making the world a slightly better place with their knowledge and privilege.

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