Sadiq Khan is Mayor of London and a politician in the Labour Party. He graduated from The University of Law’s Guildford Centre with Law Society Finals – the predecessor to the LPC. After Sadiq left the university, he began his career as a human rights lawyer. He then entered politics as the MP for Tooting in south London, going on to become Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and the Shadow Minister for London.
Sadiq was elected Mayor of London in May 2016, winning the largest personal mandate in the history of British politics. He is one of a number of alumni of the university who have gone on to high flying careers in politics, media, business and the legal sector. He gave his advice on how students could forge successful careers.
To be a good lawyer, you need to have a burning desire to make society a better place, and that can only be achieved by getting out and helping others. This can be volunteering in your local neighbourhood, giving legal advice to those who cannot afford it through free legal clinics or even becoming a local councillor. Just get involved and enjoy every minute of it. When I was a student, I volunteered at my local theatre, helped out at community law centres and did all I could to help my local community. This, without a doubt, gave me the grounding and experience I needed to become a human rights lawyer.
For me, being a lawyer is all about taking on tough cases, standing up for the vulnerable and defending access to justice, the rule of law and universal human rights. My advice to any aspiring politician or lawyer would be to live up to those values in every part of your work and help make the city and the country a better and fairer place.
I know that the experience my legal background gave me was vital when I decided to enter politics. I was a Member of Parliament for my home town in Tooting before becoming the Mayor for all Londoners. As a human rights lawyer, I defended people who were victims of discrimination and that made me more determined than ever to fight injustice wherever I see it.
At ULaw I really valued the support of my fellow students, my lecturers and my tutors. They kept my motivation levels up through many long days and late nights of revision.
At my graduation day, I remember feeling a real sense of pride at what I had accomplished, excitement for the career that lay ahead of me and, above all, gratitude. I grew up on a council estate in South London and my parents both worked very hard to save up so they could buy their own home and give me and my siblings a good state education. We all benefited from that education and their support.
The vast majority of students who come from abroad to study in London and the UK leave as ambassadors, spreading the message across the globe that Britain is a fantastic place to live, work, study and visit. It is so important to me that all our international students and academic staff know that London is open. I value the enormous contribution they make to our city and I will continue to work with higher education institutions to ensure their needs are properly understood by the government as they negotiate the right settlement with the EU for our international students and staff.
Find out about how you can kick start your legal career with the Sadiq Khan scholarship.