UCL Faculty of Laws


Shem Sheikh, UCL Laws Dean’s Scholarship

Shemuel Shem Sheikh

Programme, and year of study: LLM
Where you are from: Kent, UK
Scholarship received: UCL Laws Dean’s Scholarship

Why did you choose to apply to study at UCL Laws?
I studied at UCL Laws for my undergraduate degree, doing a four-year LLB with a year abroad at The University of Hong Kong. I really enjoyed my undergraduate studies here, learnt a lot of new areas and had established relationships with members of the Faculty who are at the top of their fields, so it seemed like the perfect place to specialise further. I will be undertaking the Barristers Training Course next year and an LLM is a fantastic way to complete further studying in areas I am hoping to practise at the Bar.

What are your favourite things about studying at UCL Laws?
UCL Laws has an impressive selection of specialist modules. This means I can have a tailored learning experience, and at the same time, learn from others who are often studying in different areas. The community feeling here is also something I have always valued and the diversity is a credit to UCL, due to both its global reputation, and for Law, it’s London location. This makes a huge difference to the student experience, and has been exciting and enriching. London itself is an amazing city to live in, it’s great having access to the Inns of Court and to be close to leading Chambers and Courts to do mini-pupillages and legal internships. Both the Faculty and UCL itself offers what feels like an unlimited number of societies to get involved in. During my undergrad I was Bar Careers Secretary for the UCL Law Society, and continue to play in the UCL Jazz Society and for the UCL Basketball team.

What do you hope to do once your studies are complete?
I’m hoping to get pupillage to train as a barrister starting in 2021. I’m going to be doing the Bar course once my studies here are complete.

How did you hear about the UCL Laws scholarships: 
As an undergraduate I received emails from the Faculty about the LLM and the different scholarships offered at the University.

What impact has receiving this scholarship had for you? 
Without a scholarship I wouldn’t have been able to do a Masters, so it’s had a massive impact. The scholarship I have received covers both tuition fees and maintenance and that’s meant that I’ve been able to focus on study and not worry about other things during the year. It’s also had a significant impact in preparation for my future career, both in terms of my knowledge and confidence, but also my profile for applications.

If you hadn’t received this scholarship what do you think your plans would be, if not studying at UCL Laws?  
I would be doing the Bar course as I was fortunate enough to also be awarded scholarships from the Inner Temple. I had always hoped to do a Masters which has been essential to help me specialise but if it weren’t for the scholarship, this would not have been possible. At the same time, if I had not had a scholarship for the Bar course either, I would have been working, tutoring and continuing with pro bono work in my spare time trying to save up enough money to study the Bar course, while applying to other scholarships.  

If someone was thinking of applying for a scholarship what would you say to them?
If you feel you wouldn’t otherwise have a chance at doing a Masters, then apply and see what happens! It is both merit and means based, so you have to meet the criteria, but it’s also helpful to note that some scholarships have discretionary elements, and as each applicant is in a unique situation, the ability to explain your particular circumstances means that the board take an individual view. The scholarship I have received is so helpful as it covers both my tuition and maintenance. 

If someone was thinking of funding or sponsoring a scholarship what would you say to them?
You cannot underestimate how important it is to sponsor a scholarship and by doing so, how it can change a person’s life. It can make the difference between them taking a degree or not, between them achieving their dream career or not and between them impacting the world in which we live or leaving things the way they are. It’s a great opportunity to support students who have a real interest in the law and helping them to develop the law for the good of our society.