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Alumni interview: Rosalyn Sheehy

Alumna Rosalyn Sheehy completed the LPC at our Bloomsbury campus in 2008 and has since gone on to become a solicitor and an international lawyer with experience in magic circle firms in Cayman Islands, Dubai, London and Dublin. More recently she has spent time teaching advanced English, preparing foreign professionals for TOLES (Test of Legal English) as the Director of BLC Ireland. We caught up with Rosalyn to discuss her time at ULaw and her current role teaching legal English.

My uncle, Robert Dore is a busy Dublin lawyer who encouraged me to pursue a career in law. At school I was interested in history and politics and I wanted to learn how law shapes society. Law degrees are a great foundation, giving you the prestige and power to make a difference. While I did have pre-conceived, romantic ideas about law from shows like Matlock and the Rumpole of the Bailey, I was warned it would be stressful. I was after a challenge and a reasonably well-compensated one.

I chose to study at ULaw because of its reputation as the very best in London and the UK. I heard through word of mouth that an impressive CV needs a University of Law LPC on there. As well as that I always loved London and its contemporary art galleries; it is such an exciting city.

Some of my fondest memories of University include endless coffees on Goodge Street with students. Group projects and exam preparation created strong bonds and lifelong friendships. Choosing The University of Law was the best decision I ever made. I helped my classmate, Ihsane Elidrissi set up her own successful commercial property practice in Mayfair called Sterling Stamp Law, and I was eventually able to do my training contract with her.

I am fascinated with Legal Technology, AI and Smart Contracts. From experience in magic circle firms, using sophisticated case management systems and voice recognition software such as Dragon, I spotted the potential for technology to make lawyers lives easier. SuperDrafter scans thousands of a firm’s legal documents, curates and recommends specific clauses to lawyers. Artificial Intelligence Contract Review combines machine learning with natural language processing. It’s so sophisticated it can ‘key word search’ actual legal concepts. Datasets presented to the software are ‘labelled examples’ and ideal behaviours are reinforced within a specific context to maximise performance.

Smart contracts offer far greater automation opportunities than we have ever seen before - the computer programmes that automatically self-execute processes to effect changes on the blockchain ledger. Smart contracts perform a role similar to a trusted 3rd party – they will faithfully perform whatever tasks they are programmed to do in the blockchain environment.

As lawyers, we need to be very mindful of developments in technology. Rather than fearing replacement, we ought to learn to embrace change and use technology to our advantage.

At BLC Ireland, we run intensive immersion and online courses teaching legal English, legal writing skills, legal technology, contract drafting and international arbitration. Our summer courses take place in Dublin during the months of July and August. Non-native English speaking lawyers from countries such Brazil and the UAE need to have equal bargaining power in negotiations, they value assistance with perfecting their legal English.

I consider myself a pedagogue and I find teaching immensely rewarding. English is the universal language of the law and I saw a lacuna in the marketplace. BLC Ireland is a sister company of the British Legal Centre, set up 10 years ago by Richard Brady. Students love to come to Dublin, we bring them on excursions to the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry (after they pass their end of course tests). Foreign lawyers pay to master accurate legal writing to progress their careers as English speaking clients assess their professional ability based on their command of English.

The highlight of my career so far was this summer, presenting my summer school students with their BLC Ireland Certificates in Contract Drafting at Trinity College, Dublin. I have worked in law firms in Singapore, Dubai, the Cayman Islands, London and Dublin. I got the travel bug out of my system and now, at last, I am my own boss.

My studies at ULaw have enabled me to qualify as a solicitor and gave me valuable teaching tools. I was impressed by the University’s use of technology. I enjoyed the i-tutorials as well as the test and feed-back exercises. I was also lucky enough to meet Sarita Saikkonen, a fellow LPC student who runs the business with me.

Good lawyers have great memories. Most students can skim read, extracting salient points quickly. My advice for any future lawyers is to enhance your learning speed and efficiency with memory tricks like humorous mnemonics, personal to you, to buttress every argument with limitless case names.

 

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