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A record number of Firsts for our LLB students

The Director of the Undergraduate Laws Programme, Simon Askey, reports on an exceptional number of 15 Firsts in 2016-2017.

Written by Peter Quinn |

Simon Askey with Tahsin Kamal Tonima and Mohammad Taqi Yasir
The Director of the Undergraduate Laws Programme, Simon Askey, reports on an exceptional number of 15 Firsts in 2016-2017.

This year the Undergraduate Laws Programme made 15 First Class awards – the highest number we’ve ever made!

Topping the league is Pakistan with seven Firsts. Entering the league for the first time is Sierra Leone and, returning to the league for the first time in a decade, is Bangladesh with three Firsts. The United Kingdom also has three Firsts this year, all of whom studied at New College of the Humanities.

Islamabad is the home to five of our top scoring students this year, making it this year’s top city. The other two Firsts in Pakistan are from Karachi. All six Standard Entry students studied at teaching institutions and our one First Class Graduate Entry student studied independently.

Maham Nawaz studied at The Institute of Leal Studies, Islamabad, and says that “achieving a First Class was always a step in my ladder of personal goals”. It’s an amazing achievement and a success that she shares with her “parents, family, friends who have been like family, and of course my teachers at TILS Islamabad who first inspired me to aim for a First Class”.

Islamabad School of Law has two First Class students this year, Ahmed Farooqand Rayam Karim.

“Each of us has certain gifts and abilities,” says Ahmed, “it is our choice whether we decide to utilise and better them, to attempt to transcend limitations, both physical and mental, or to remain within the lethargic realm of comfort and mediocrity.”

Rayam says she was “blissfully ignorant” of what studying law would involve and that her first year marks showed little sign of the prospects of a First Class degree. Success for her “is all about knowing yourself and what works for you” until you reach the point where things “starts to make sense”.

Also based in Islamabad, the School of International Law is the third teaching institution celebrating its successes this year and they are Sakeena Moen and Shayan Ahmed Khan.

Sakeena attributes her success to determination: “To excel in one’s field is a deliberate choice that one has to make every day.” Describing her results as “beyond my expectations” she recognises the support of her mother, who she describes as “my greatest source of inspiration”.

Shayan believes that “the key to success is not hard work but rather… to always believe in yourself and have a desire to succeed, for if you do, hard work will automatically follow.”

Muhammad Faran Khan is from Karachi where he went to Themis Law School, a young teaching institution in the city and he is their first First Class graduate. He completed the ACCA before embarking on his law studies. He describes the LLB as a “cost effective and advanced study programme” with the VLE serving “as a catalyst to instil elements of conducting research” and providing “truly helpful study materials”.

Building on his accountancy background, and “fuelled with passion to learn craftsmanship in the field of corporate law, tax” and other commercial areas we hope that Faran will now feel well equipped for his future career aspirations.

The support of parents, family and friends is invaluable throughout life and all our First Class students mentioned the vital role that family and friends played in encouraging them in their studies. Delia Appelt expresses her gratitude to all those “people I met, whether they be academics or fellow students, who were all very supportive and understanding… and my friends and family, particularly for being by my side when the exam stress kicked in.”

Delia studied at New College of the Humanities in London and says that “while the University of London LLB exams surely aren’t the easiest, they are very rewarding.”

A graduate entrant who studied independently, Mohamed Yoki is the first First Class LLB student we’ve had from Sierra Leone this century.

Mohamed says, “my sojourn towards achieving this result was borne out of my passionate desire to get a very good law qualification from a reputable university.” Describing his immersion in law as “like learning a foreign language” where he “gradually became familiar with the language of the law: statutes, court judgments, journal articles and textbooks.”

He does not, however, recommend a total immersion in the law, and says that spending time with his wife and family was key to ‘finding a balance’ to bolster his academic success.

Desmond Liew Zhi Hong is from Malaysia and studied at Brickfields Asia College in Kuala Lumpur.

He says that his ‘education journey’ with the University of London LLB has increased “my knowledge and taught me to be humble and appreciate knowledge even more” but that it has also “altered my perception on life itself and offered me so much as an individual.”

There is no doubt that the success of many of our students, including 12 of this year’s 15 Firsts, is in no small part thanks to the support and guidance they receive from their local teaching institution and the dedication and commitment of their teachers. We join you in thanking them for their invaluable work.

Two teaching institutions in Bangladesh are celebrating this year. The London College of Legal Studies (South) has two First class students, Mohammad Taqi Yasir and Tahsin Kamal Tonima (see main image), while the British School of Law has one, Ramisa Jahan, pictured below right with the Director and her sisters.

All that one requires is a dream and a strong willpower to catch that dream.

Tahsin’s motivation to achieve was a dream, and she says “all that one requires is a dream and a strong willpower to catch that dream” this requires “firmness, self-control, determination, dedication, passion and most importantly patience.”

Taqi, like many of our students had to balance his studies with work, and encapsulates the feelings of most students celebrating their achievements when he says, “the prayers of my loved ones, the excellent resources provided by the University of London and the support from my distinguished tutors have made it possible for me to realise my dream amidst all the hurdles.”

Ramisa comes from Chittagong, in the south of Bangladesh, but had to move to Dhaka to complete her studies. She provides some helpful advice to not only study hard but to ‘study smart’ and says a common “misconception is that law is merely about memorizing answers and reproducing them, but in reality, the features that make for a first class answer include the ability to understand what the question demands, relating your answer to the question, providing your own opinion and adding a unique introduction and conclusion.”

I know you will join me in congratulating our 15 Firsts of 2016-17. I congratulate all of you who achieved what you worked hard to attain; I commiserate with those who did not. I encourage all of you to be thankful for those who have supported you this past year; your loved ones, family, friends, study companions and lecturers. I’m sure they will be there for you – whatever your results!

  • This article first appeared in the Undergraduate Laws Programme blog, and is reprinted here with kind permission.
  • Details of three First Class students are not included here either because they have requested anonymity or not granted permission for their data to be included.