Stacee Smith

Stacee Smith
Senior Status LLB - GRADUATED
Hello, my name is Stacee and I'm from Bermuda. I began my law (senior status) studies at Queen Mary, University of London in September 2012. I joined the Student Pro bono Group's legal news team and write for each publication of 'The Advocate' newspaper. This is my second undergraduate degree, as I obtained an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in 'International Development & Globalization' from the University of Ottawa (ON, Canada) in 2010. I'm a Gold Award holder and volunteer for the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award. I also enjoy traveling, journalism, playing piano and almost anything related to the arts. Upon completing my studies I hope to embark on an exciting and successful legal career.

*Summer in Paradise*

It’s that time again! Summer is drawing to a close and another school year is about to begin. I can’t believe it! Summer is one season that always seems to fly by.  Nevertheless, I am excited for the upcoming year; particularly my course modules in ‘media law’ and ‘intellectual property law.’ This will be my final year at Queen Mary so it has to be AWESOME: awesome grades and awesome experiences.

My exams ended early (May 14th) this year and before I knew it I was back home on my beautiful island of Bermuda. I was looking forward to a long and exciting summer break.

 

Bermuda Beach

John Smith’s Bay Beach – Bermuda

 

I spent the months of June and August working at two of the island’s top corporate law firms.  (As a budding lawyer I try to take advantage of as many opportunities as I can to gain legal work experience.)

Working as a summer law student was a great opportunity for learning and development. I met other Bermudian law students and also had mentors who were patient, encouraging and ensured that I had quality tasks to complete. Such assignments ranged from drafting opinions to running errands to the ‘Registrar of Companies’ and conducting library research.

One thing for sure is that even if you don’t reside permanently in the UK, any work experience is valuable when it comes to UK-based training contract and pupillage applications. Don’t ever underestimate international experience. More than anything it’s likely to help you stand out from the crowd so take advantage of it whenever possible.

Ni hao China!

The month of July was certainly filled with adventure because I spent it in China and for me that is quite a journey! I participated in Queen Mary’s ‘Summer in China 2013’ programme and I am grateful to have had such a rare opportunity.  Thanks to Queen Mary’s International Office, undergraduate students at the 2nd year level and above with a 2.1 average were eligible to apply for this academic/cultural programme, regardless of their course of study.

Nineteen Queen Mary students and I were selected. We lived on the University of Sichuan campus (Chengdu, Sichuan province) for three weeks where we attended lectures on topics ranging from Confucianism to the Chinese business environment and participated in a variety of activities. We even learned a bit of kung fu, tai chi, mandarin, calligraphy and visited popular tourist attractions including the Leshan Giant Buddah, Buddhist and Taoist temples, and a Giant Panda Reserve.

(FYI: The province of Sichuan is home of the Giant Panda and it’s also known for its spicy food – particularly the hot-pot dish and ‘face-changing’ opera performances).

 

Four Queen Mary students and I volunteered to learn a choreographed tai chi routine for the closing ceremony at the University of Sichuan.
Four Queen Mary students and I volunteered to learn a choreographed tai chi routine for the closing ceremony at the University of Sichuan.
Leshan Giant Buddah

Leshan Giant Buddah

Leshan Giant Buddah

Leshan Giant Buddah

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Entrance to a mountain we climbed in Sichuan Province where we saw many beautiful Taoist temples along the way.

 

*This trip was my first time in China and I will never forget it.  I met some Chinese students who I will be sure to keep in touch with and I definitely improved my chopsticks usage skills, although I still have a little ways to go (lol).*

 

Sichuan's traditional 'hot pot'

Sichuan’s traditional ‘hot pot’

Hot pot dinner in Chengdu with QM and University of Sichuan Students.

Hot pot dinner in Chengdu with QM and University of Sichuan Students.

Sichuan Opera Performance

Sichuan Opera Performance

Some QM students and I volunteered to play a game of basketball with University of Sichuan students. This photo shows the QM girls who volunteered as well as one of the University of Sichuan students.

Some QM students and I volunteered to play a game of basketball with University of Sichuan students. This photo shows the QM girls who volunteered as well as one of the University of Sichuan students.

 

*Before leaving the country I stopped in Beijing and had an opportunity to feast on tasty Peking duck, observe the production of traditional cloisonné vases and visit the 2008 Olympic grounds. I also went to a jade museum, tea house and explored both The Great Wall of China and The Forbidden City. “Wow” is the perfect way to describe those two historical sites. It was a surreal experience and I knew after those moments that I could leave the country feeling like I truly had been to China.*

 

The Great Wall of China (Badaling)

The Great Wall of China (Badaling)

Climbing The Great Wall of China (Badaling)

Climbing The Great Wall of China (Badaling)

 

While in Beijing I also visited the Temple of Heaven

While in Beijing I also visited the Temple of Heaven

Wangfujing Snack Street

Wangfujing Snack Street (downtown Beijing)

 

Beijing is known for its cloisonné artwork and this is a giant cloisonné vase.

Beijing is known for its cloisonné artwork and this is a giant cloisonné vase.

 

Tiananmen Square (Beijing)

Tiananmen Square (Beijing)

 

The Forbidden City (Beijing)

The Forbidden City (Beijing)

 

Statue in The Forbidden City

Statue in The Forbidden City

 

Inspirational Law Events

One thing that I have particularly enjoyed throughout this school year is the fact that the law department and its related student societies never disappoint when it comes to learning outside of the classroom.

During the first semester I attended quite a few events put on by ‘QM Careers’ in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a lawyer and exactly what is required to successfully pursue a career as a barrister or solicitor. I had the opportunity to attend panel discussions, law fairs and a series of networking events where I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge. I was impressed to know that so many barristers and solicitors from top city law firms and chambers came to our campus to share their experiences.

I also visited The Old Bailey and The UK Supreme Court (where I had an opportunity to meet and ask questions to Lady Hale) with the student Bar Society. The timing of the latter trip was perfect because I was learning about the Supreme Court & the Judiciary in my ‘public law’ module.

Sunny Jacobs (left) and Peter Pringle (center) – married couple and former death row inmates posed for a picture with me (right) after their moving speeches on Feb 28th 2013 at an Amicus-ALJ event on campus.

I have found this semester to be particularly exciting due to the broad range of guest lecturers from countries including the U.S. and South Africa. I attended a guest lecture on Intellectual Property (IP) and Publicity Rights for Celebrities in the U.S., Fashion & IP Rights, Human Rights & Judicial Activism and I was blown away by the stories of two death row exonerees who spoke at an Amicus-ALJ event.

I highly value these experiences and I realize that it’s rare to attend a law school that provides such a broad scope of educational opportunities. An added bonus: most of these events are free of charge!  Plus, just being located in London is a huge benefit as there is such easy access to law firms, chambers, the courts and much more.

First impression of QM: Fantastic!

My first impression of Queen Mary was full of colour! From the cozy, compact campus with both modern and historic elements to the inspiring induction talks and cuddly mascots that greeted me at the Fresher’s Fair. I knew instantly that I had made the right decision to study here.

I quickly settled into my comfortable Creed Court room and discovered that QM has something to offer everyone, regardless of your interests or cultural background. There were parties at the snazzy on-campus bar ‘Drapers’, boat cruises and all kinds of exciting events both on and off campus during Fresher’s week. So many in fact, that I was unable to attend most! There were also plenty of international students like me, which was comforting, and a wide variety of intriguing student societies and sports clubs.

I came to Queen Mary to study undergraduate law (senior status) and I was very impressed at the amount of information that we were given by the law department during our first couple of days. This information included that which related to our courses specifically, career prospects, on campus security and navigating the library. I instantly felt like my education would be taken seriously, and my potential to succeed would be maximized.

Coming from Bermuda I’m happy to know that I’m studying at a university where I’ll not only receive a high quality, broad education, but I’ll also be learning in an environment where I genuinely feel like I’m part of a community.

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