Alumna Laura Chele joined ULaw in 2013 to study the i-GDL. After its successful completion she decided to continue her studies and has now completed the i-LLM LPC. As well as studying, she also works for the Emirates Group in Dubai. Thanks to her legal education and employment in a progressive company, she has carried out a number of roles and her career has thrived. We caught up with Laura to ask how ULaw has helped her career progression with one of the fastest growing airlines in the world.
I grew up with a passion for learning more about other cultures, started learning English from an early age and saw it as the key to reaching out to people anywhere in the world. I was an avid reader, loved studying and the power that knowledge gives you. So when I read a very old civil code that belonged to my great grandfather I was impressed to see the significance of knowing these rules and regulations that our society goes by. I wanted to give back and use my knowledge in such a way as to help people with their problems. Legal issues come up frequently in our daily lives, and so the concept of law and justice was something I was interested in from an early age. So I decided to do an LLB in Romania and I furthered my legal education by completing a GDL and currently an LLM LPC, to get an English law degree.
As a Legal Executive I was mainly working for the dnata (Dubai National Air Transport Association) part of the business, supporting the Manager Commercial Agreements. I drafted amendments to various types of agreements, advised the business on contractual risks, assisted contract managers with hotel negotiations, produced the first draft of high-level advice, summarised and reviewed due diligence documents and performed other tasks such as proofreading documents and legal research.
I had already been working in Emirates both in the Safety and Emergency Training and the Service Delivery department when I fell pregnant with my second child and I could not safely continue my duties. However, I then became eligible to apply for work experience in other departments in Emirates. In addition to my commercial work experience and my 1st class LLB from Romania, having completed the GDL with ULaw really helped me get legal work experience within the Emirates Group legal department.
Once I started the LLB, I had the chance to help with English translation in a very successful lawyer’s office. The lawyer was a retired sea captain who started practising law at a later stage in life. However, it was very obvious from his briefings that his experience on the sea had proven to be invaluable and was key to his success as a maritime lawyer. His wisdom and determination was very inspiring. After knowing more details about the subject and the opportunities it presented to work with people from different countries, I had decided to do my dissertation on a maritime law subject. In addition, whilst working in the Emirates Legal department I discovered role models amongst the very talented team of lawyers.
Considering that I am at the beginning of my career in the legal field (although I already have a career in aviation), I believe that having had the opportunity to work in the Emirates Group legal department was in itself a real privilege. I have learned a lot from high calibre legal advisors and they have all certainly inspired me. And as being part of the team that worked on a particular acquisition, it was really fulfilling to see the deal go through. It was challenging to work full-time while studying but I was rewarded by getting a distinction mark in my LLM LPC Business law exam that I sat just 10 days prior to giving birth to my second child.
ULaw’s Careers and Employability services staff were very supportive, providing me with general career advice; this helped me get a mentoring scheme experience. The international electives for my LLM LPC were quite useful and relevant. Having obtained the GDL and LLM LPC from such a reputable university is a really valuable asset which will support me throughout my career. Also, when I first started the GDL I was awarded a Gold Award for my previous 1st class LLB. In addition to the financial incentive, this award really motivated and inspired me to continue the hard work.
Although the United Arab Emirates is essentially a civil law jurisdiction, commercially English law is widely used, especially in cross-border and international agreements. This gives me more international exposure and flexibility when it comes to practising law overseas. In addition, there are a lot of English and international law firms based in Dubai and therefore, in my opinion, the prospects of a career in law with one of these firms are higher when you hold an English law degree.
I already had a lot of transferable skills from my commercial work experience (organising for results, time management, negotiation, presentation, teamwork and leadership, etc.), but the legal drafting and client interviewing skills, in addition to attention to detail, were particularly helpful from my first day at work. My tasks initially involved getting input from contract managers, drafting amendments to commercial agreements and proofreading documents. Legal research was also a very powerful tool to master as this gave me confidence when drafting my advice to the business.
The online training with access to various legal databases, in addition to the mandatory attendance workshops, was really effective.
- It allowed me the flexibility to study anywhere and anytime while working full-time, raising two small children and also while travelling
- The content was varied and the teaching methods employed ensured that all aspects of a certain topic were covered
- The i-tutorials and the demonstrations were really straight forward and helpful. The collaborative activities, the tutor’s feedback and email queries answered all the remaining questions after the reading and workshop activity was done
- The live and recorded webinars were really useful in preparing for exams, especially in regards to exam technique
Definitely choose ULaw; you won’t regret it, especially if you are the one funding your studies. The online training, the support from tutors and admin staff, and the flexibility to sit the exams overseas are great. It makes studying for an English law degree whilst based overseas much more manageable.