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Law degree prepares alumnus for the industry

Law degree prepares alumnus for the industry

Keagan  Van Wijk

One of the best memories I have is when I was invited by the Law School to be on a panel alongside Lady Justice Arden DBE, Justice of the Supreme Court. It was an honour to be a part of the panel and to be asked to share about my experience at Brunel.

Keagan , Undergraduate, Alumni

Trainee Solicitor , Clifford Chance LLP

Law with International Arbitration and Commercial Law LLB - 2020

From South Africa

Previous Institution

Parktown Boys’ High School - A-Levels

Tell us about your educational and/or career journey since you graduated from Brunel?

Since graduating in 2020, I studied an LLM in Commercial Legal Practice which is both a Masters in Law and the Legal Practice Course, where the LP is required to qualify as a solicitor in England. Following this, I started my training contract at Clifford Chance LLP which is a Magic Circle law firm headquartered in Canary Wharf and I am set to qualify as an associate in February 2023. In addition, in 2021 I was selected to join the Brunel Alumni Advisory Board.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I’m currently a fourth-seat trainee in the Private Funds Group and will be joining the team as an Associate at the end of February. The team advise and assist fund/asset managers establish and maintain investment funds as well as advising large financial institutions and investors in relation to their investments in these funds. This is a transactional department which means my day to day work can involve drafting and reviewing documents, attending calls with clients and liaising with the various Clifford Chance overseas offices and specialist teams.

What’s been the highlight of your career journey so far?

Very early into my time in the Private Funds Group, I was involved in the establishment of an ESG-focused fund which has been cutting-edge in the industry. I am particularly proud of my involvement in the Brunel Alumni Advisory Board with being the youngest member of the team and my ability to be involved in shaping the future of Brunel even in a small way. I was also fortunate enough to spend 6 months on secondment at Barclays PLC in their debt capital markets team. I am particularly proud of my time in the team and as I was able to assist in raising nearly $1 billion for regulatory capital and general funding just in the 6 months I was there.

How would you say your Brunel experience has helped you to get where you are today?

The various clubs and societies at Brunel and the activities hosted by the Brunel Law School and the Law Society have undoubtedly helped give me the platform for where I am today. The extracurricular activities have given me more confidence and have given me skills such as public speaking, time management and team work which are vital in my day to day life. I’m also extremely grateful for the lecturers in the Brunel Law School who always went above and beyond and were always available to talk through trickier topics and provide helpful advice.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

Brunel’s international student base and the Law School’s courses which were aligned with my interests and career path were definitely the starting point for me. When I joined this was immediately reaffirmed and the wider experiences and opportunities available to students only added to this.

What is your best memory of studying here?

One of the best memories I have is when I was invited by the Law School to be on a panel alongside Lady Justice Arden DBE, Justice of the Supreme Court. It was an honour to be a part of the panel and to be asked to share about my experience at Brunel and the process that led to me obtaining my training contract at Clifford Chance.

If you could give one piece of advice to current Brunel students, what would that be?

Get involved in all that Brunel has to offer. Whether it be sport, societies or clubs, Brunel has amazing facilities and opportunities available to anyone who wants to get involved. It’s these extra opportunities in addition to your studies that will set you apart when you leave University and they are often overlooked by students.

What would be your top tip or key advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey after leaving Brunel?

Having a genuine, justifiable interest in the company you want to work for and/or in the industry you want to work in to me is the foundation of a successful career. Employers and hiring managers can easily tell the difference between a genuinely motivated and interested candidate and one who is just making another application.