What do Graduates of the LL.M in Public Law Say About the Programme?

Dr. Sharon McLaughlin, Lecturer in Law, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Co. Donegal

Dr. Sharon McLaughlin LLM graduate public lawI chose to undertake the LL.M in Public Law because of the diverse range of subjects offered such as Communications Law, Disability Law and Sentencing and Penal Policy.  Academically, it was the best decision I ever made.  I already had an interest in Media Law from my time as an undergraduate student at NUI Galway and, through the Communications Law module on the LL.M in Public Law, was afforded the opportunity to develop this interest.  The LL.M provided me with the skills and confidence to subsequently undertake and complete a PhD in Communications Law.  I highly recommend the LL.M.  The academic staff on the LL.M programme provided tremendous support and encouragement to.  The experience of the LL.M is one I highly recommend! 

Rónán Ó Fathaigh, Ph.D Candidate, Universiteit Gent, Belgium

Rónán Ó Fathaigh graduate LLM public lawThe LL.M. in Public Law was an invaluable academic experience.  Its distinguishing features were the small class sizes and expert lecturers, which facilitated great discussion and learning among students.  The LL.M. offered an excellent choice of subjects in the area of public law.  In addition, there were many guest speakers organised by the Law School, which added immensely to the learning experience.  Lecturers were very encouraging and supportive throughout the year, and particularly during the dissertation-writing period.  Through the LL.M I developed a research interest in freedom of expression, which led me to securing funding to undertake Ph.D research in this area. 

Matti Twomey (Judge of the Court of Appeal, Seychelles)

Matti Twomey llm public law graduateI left university over 20 years ago and the decision to return for an LLM was not an easy one to take.  Lacking self-confidence and challenged by the enthusiasm and astuteness of much younger colleagues I embarked on the one-year full time course with some trepidation.  Now, having successfully completed the programme, I look back and smile with relief and satisfaction.  The small number of students in the classes, the informality of the setting, the commitment of the lecturers, the high quality content of information imparted and the stimulation generated by the discussions made this programme one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career.  It has also been an amazing springboard for me, having led to a judicial career in Seychelles, my country of origin and lately my PhD research in comparative law.

John Colleran, Associate at Bonn Steichen & Partners, Luxembourg

John Colleran graduate LLM public lawAfter completing my undergraduate law degree at NUI Galway I immediately applied to partake in the first year of the LL.M in Public Law.  There was a lot of variety throughout the program in terms of the subject matter of the classes and the modes of learning.  I had the opportunity to attend classes where open discussion and critical thinking were always encouraged, to give presentations on chosen areas of interest, to attend conferences with the class and also independently, and to meet and discuss with guest speakers on a wide range of interesting topics.  I gained experience of working independently and taking responsibility for my own projects but also took part in-group projects with other class members that required discussion, communication and coordination. While it may sound clichéd, both independent initiative and ability to work as part of a team are crucial in my line of work. Other skills in which I gained further experience include public speaking; drafting and legal research and these have continued to assist me throughout my career. I also have lots of fond memories of what was a very enjoyable year.

Sarah Mc Donald, Human Rights Executive, Incorporated Law Society of Ireland, Dublin

Sarah Mc Donald llm graduate public lawDuring my undergraduate studies I knew that I wanted to undertake the LL.M in Public Law.  I was delighted when given the opportunity to advance my understanding of public law on this well-established and respected course.  I really enjoyed attending and participating in seminars and engaging in discussions with the other students who come from a range of different professional backgrounds.  The programme has really opened my eyes to the legal world and the opportunities open to graduates of the LL.M.  I would like to thank the lecturers who have worked so hard in giving up their precious time to help us all with our academic writing skills and arranged guest speakers and class trips to further enhance our knowledge in the areas of public law.  This programme has helped me to secure employment and I hope to use the skills that I have developed to continue to work in the area of public law.

Thomas Mahon, Paypal Graduate Training Programme, Dublin

Thomas Mahon llm graduate public lawThe decision to do the LL.M in Public Law was one of the best I have ever made.  The programme was extraordinarily fulfilling, enjoyable and challenging. The course is tremendous and brilliantly put together.  I was particularly impressed with the dynamic team of experts teaching on the programme.  They provided me with uncomplicated guidance, support, encouragement and no-nonsense expertise.  The LL.M presented me with a unique opportunity to grapple with topical issues of practical importance in public law.  It has also given me an ability to critically appraise the problems, which arise for law and policymakers in this extremely important area.  In my view, this course provides an ideal foundation for students and practitioners interested in the theory, substance and application of public law. 

Elaine Keane, Legal Research Assistant, Centre for Disability Law & Policy, NUI Galway

Elaine Keane LLM graduate public lawI applied for the Masters in Public Law as it offered a variety of subjects offered by no other University. While there was variety, all subjects had a core focus on issues of public law and policy, which made the LL.M so unique. I took a special interest in Disability Law Reform Challenges, which is taught by Dr. Mary Keys and Shivaun Quinlivan. I was given the opportunity to become involved with a research project called Making Decisions an initiative between the National Federation of Voluntary bodies and the LL.M in Public Law.  This again facilitated by my interest in disability law and policy and allowed me develops my research skills, through developing a series of easy to read documents on the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities.

Since finishing the LL.M, I have gained employment as legal research assistant with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway.  At the Centre, I use the knowledge from the LL.M every day. I have the opportunity to meet with and talk to international experts in the field of Disability law. I feel the LL.M in Public Law is so relevant as it provides students with not only academic skills but also the course is also practical - activities included moot courts, a trip to the Criminal Court Complex in Dublin, field trips and alternative writing, such as writing a paper in the style of the Law Reform Commission.  I highly recommend the LL.M in Public law, as it really is an interesting, relevant course and very much a unique qualification.

Philip Flaherty, Solicitor, McCann Fitzgerald, Dublin

I had the pleasure of being a member of the inaugural class of the LL.M in Public Law.  I believe the combination of engaging focused modules and the guidance given to each student on their individual research projects were the key strengths of the programme.  The legal and critical reasoning skills, which I developed during the course of the LL.M, have been of great use to me in my career as a legal researcher and more recently as a legal practitioner.  The specialised public law modules offered on the LL.M will ensure that the qualification sets graduates of the programme apart from the crowd.  May the programme go from strength to strength!

Sandra Murphy, Solicitor, Co. Mayo

Sandra Murphy llm graduate public lawI was keen to further my academic career but thought it would be impossible due to my position as a partner in a busy solicitor's office.  The two-year (part-time) LL.M programme offered by NUI Galway was the answer to my prayers.  The programme allows me to attend college and study while continuing my role as a solicitor and the fact that the course is spread over the two years made this possible.  I found the course itself interesting, stimulating and challenging.  As a student returning to NUI Galway after 22 years I was nervous and unsure but the friendly and helpful faculty staff soon put me at my ease.  I am enjoying the course hugely and have found that my experience of life and my life as a solicitor has given me a greater understanding and appreciation for the course.

Dr. James Jeffers, School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Dr. James Jeffers LLM graduate public lawThe LL.M. in Public Law at NUI, Galway has played an integral role in the development of my career to date. I had previously completed both a B.A. in Geography and Legal Science, and an LL.B. degree at NUI, Galway. The skills, training and experience provided during the LL.M. were an ideal stepping stone from those undergraduate degrees to the further postgraduate studies and academic career I have subsequently pursued. The skills in legal research and writing acquired during the LL.M. provided a solid foundation for the research I would later complete during my Ph.D. The strong emphasis placed on active engagement in seminar class discussions during the LL.M. was also an ideal preparation for participating in further graduate level seminars during my Ph.D. at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The public law focus of the LL.M. also provided a unique opportunity to combine my interests in the environment, law and public policy by conducting thesis research focused on planning, development, and environmental law. Although I subsequently pursued further postgraduate studies and a career in geography rather than in law, I have no doubt that the skills and experience acquired during the LL.M. are applicable beyond traditional legal careers and across disciplinary boundaries. They were an essential training for my subsequent studies and for my academic career.

Nicola Barrett, Legal Product Developer, Carswell (a Thomson Reuters business), Toronto

Following completion of my undergraduate law degree in 2005 it was apparent that the traditional ‘practice’ route was not for me, and that my interests lay more in research.  Fortunately, the Law School at NUI Galway were offering a new post-graduate course that year, and in hindsight, undertaking the LL.M in Public Law was the best decision I made in terms of my legal education and career.  One of the unique features of the LL.M is its innovative assessment through legal research.  The skills that I acquired through the LL.M served as a launch pad into a career in legal publishing, and in particular, the research and writing skills that I developed over the year have been immensely useful in my role as a legal editor.  The focus on small group teaching and developing presentation and communications skills was a very positive experience.  Not only did it facilitate interesting and lively discussions with fellow students and the teaching faculty on important issues of public law and policy, it was also conducive to getting to know the lecturers and my classmates.  Through the LL.M. in Public Law I have made some wonderful friends and have maintained a connection to a network of public lawyers who are committed to thinking critically about and working on legal issues that affect us all.