From financial support to becoming a barrister, LLM Law student Tomos McFarlane tells us how the generous Kalisher Trust is fundamentally shaping his studies and future career
How did you become interested in Criminal Law?
I’ve always been fascinated by the law, as cliché as it sounds. The criminal law system is fundamentally based around achieving justice for all, regardless of their background. I have always had a desire to help those who need it, and naturally I want to use my legal skills to help those most vulnerable in society gain their desired outcome.
How will the generosity of the Kalisher Trust scholarship and bursary help you?
The support from the Kalisher Trust will be of immense help during my LLM studies. Not having to worry about my next meal or rent payment allows me to focus solely upon my studying and the development of my skillset for a career as a barrister. Furthermore, the scholarship will allow me to complete incredible legal experiences which were previously unattainable due to extreme financial constraints. Effectively, this bursary will allow me not only to survive, but also to thrive!
How are you finding studying your LLM? Is there a particular module you are looking forward to?
I had settled into my studies almost instantaneously, and I truly feel at home here at the University of Birmingham. The LLM course can be demanding, but it is also very rewarding, I enjoy applying my reading and understanding to complex questions within my modules. Thinking critically about the law is intellectually stimulating and pushes me to be the best possible student I can be. The module that I am most looking forward to studying, is ‘Criminal Law Reform Now’. It is of great importance to have a wealth of knowledge in criminal law if one wishes to embark on a career in the field, but it is also crucial to understand that the process is not perfect and thus, in need of addressing. Studying this module will firstly allow me to examine a plethora of potential issues within the sector and secondly, it will provide me with the knowledge and skills to analyse the possible solutions – this outlook will be very beneficial to my work as a barrister, being able to change the situation for the better.
The Kalisher Trust prides itself upon helping people achieve their full potential regardless of their socio-economic background. Do you feel that the Trust will help you progress through your academic and legal career?
The support from the trust will open so many doors for me. The pathway to the Bar can be deemed exclusive in that it is typically only a dream for someone of my background, but with the support of the Kalisher Trust, it shows that anyone regardless of their background can achieve anything that they put their heart and soul in to. Being placed on a level playing field with my peers ensures that I can participate in the experiences and opportunities essential for a successful career at the Bar.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years thanks to the Trust’s support?
In 5-10 years I would like to see myself as an established and successful barrister helping the public to achieve a fair, impartial and accurate legal outcome. Furthermore, I would like to contribute to the development of the next generation of barristers much like the support that the trust has given to students like myself. I hope to improve upon some of the issues involved in the criminal law process to ensure that the best possible outcome in respect of justice and accuracy can be achieved.
Finally, what would you say to someone considering studying an LLM and applying for the scholarship?
Please apply for this scholarship, it is an opportunity second to none. This scholarship will allow you to pursue your dream studies/career regardless of your socio-economic background. I cannot stress enough how important being able to focus solely on your LLM, knowing that your next meal and rent payment is guaranteed truly is. APPLY, it will change your life!