For the students who take part in Richmond Law’s London Clinical Placement Program each summer, gaining perspective is a key takeaway. “With any career, I think it’s beneficial to have a global perspective on it,” said Caitlin Yuhas, L’20. “Until you look at systems and processes that are outside your own, it can be difficult to recognize the strengths in your own system.” In 2018, Richmond Law students immersed themselves in systems and processes with members of Parliament, public interest agencies, and private firms to get a first-hand look at international legal systems.   

In Yuhas’ placement with the Hackney Community Law Center, she focused on welfare benefits and housing work. In addition to conducting research and drafting appeals, Yuhas performed interviews with clients and accompanied them to their tribunal hearings. “I had a lot of client contact, and I loved that,” said Yuhas. Her placement proved to be good groundwork for the position she’s already landed for her 2L summer with the Legal Aid Society in Queens, New York.

Other students spent their time learning about the British government system. In Parliament Member Ruth George’s office, 2L Rohini Pandit’s work focused on Brexit, universal credit, and the adjustment of the small claims limit. Pandit responded to constituent inquiries, researched amendments, and even drafted a motion for review by members of Parliament. The experience actually impacted her career path: “Being in Parliament and around people committed to make a difference in the future of their society, I now feel that my interests have shifted,” said Pandit. “I aspire to work in shaping public policy, to become involved in international law, and in some way represent those voices in the world that, too often, struggle to be heard,” she said.

2L Abigail Parsons also caught the “policy bug” during her time in Parliament, from day one in Parliament Member Rosie Duffield’s office when “the first thing [my supervisor] wanted to talk about was abortion rights,” following the Republic of Ireland’s abortion referendum. Soon, Parsons was attending House of Commons debates and preparing reports. “After about a week, they had me editing and writing speeches,” said Parsons. It’s that accelerated level of responsibility that she found appealing about the experience: “One summer you’re not even a law student, and the next summer you’re in Parliament!” noted Parsons.

That immersive approach is a hallmark of the London CPP experience – which is condensed into just four short weeks and includes a weekly course on comparative international law. In his four weeks with McGuire Woods’ corporate department in London, for example, Ben Midas, L’20, “got to draft the whole contract for a transaction between an Irish company buying a plane from a company in the Netherlands through the Caribbean.” In her placement at law firm Kaim Todner, Sophie Hoppock, L’20, worked on extradition cases involving human rights violations. For both, their placements were an opportunity to refine and grow their skills. “I absolutely loved being able to go to another country and see how their legal system works and how practitioners work there,” said Midas. And as program director Professor Margaret Ivey notes, “Besides gaining valuable experience, students develop insights about themselves, the profession, and the rule of law.”