What is ELSA?
When I say ELSA, I’m not referring to the loveable ice princess from Disney’s Frozen which you may be more familiar with. For law students throughout Europe, ELSA is more commonly known as the acronym for the European Law Students’ Association. Coincidentally, we share the same signature colour – blue – but the similarities end there.
ELSA is the world’s largest independent law students’ association, with a membership of approximately 40,000 students. Founded in 1981, the organisation has continued to grow into the international, independent, non-political, non-profit-making organisation that it is today. With 220 local groups in 42 European countries, ELSA is the perfect platform for law students to develop their existing skills, acquire new skills, and meet fellow students and legal professionals throughout Europe.
ELSA Nottingham is a new local board that has recently been founded by Co-Presidents Freya Claydon and Jessica Allen. At the recent National Council Meeting (NCM) of ELSA UK in York over Halloween weekend, the group was successfully granted observership status after receiving unanimous votes of approval from the rest of the ELSA UK network.
What does ELSA do?
As our Vice-President for Academic Activities (AA), I am responsible for the overall planning, co-ordination and supervision of academic activities. I am responsible for the execution of specific projects and activities with the aim to develop students’ legal knowledge. Some of the activities running this year include the international moot court competitions, several L@W (Lawyers at Work) events, legal debates on the theme of Media Law of the International Focus Programme, as well as participation in the international legal research group on the topic of ‘Freedom of Expression’.
Currently, we have kick-started the academic year by successfully entering a team to the Human Rights Moot Court Competition (HRMCC). If the team is successful in their submissions, they will be invited to the oral rounds in Strasbourg in February 2016. A moot court on a human rights case requires challenging and interesting argumentation with references to international and national legislation, case law, international and national legal theory, philosophy of law and cultural practices.
Seminars & Conferences
Our Vice-President for Seminars & Conferences (S&C), Ryan Bagnall, provides law students and young lawyers from different countries the opportunity to learn and discuss different topics are not usually included in the curricula of universities, thus contributing to a better legal, cultural and social education.
We will be hosting a series of S&C events throughout the year, including conferences and seminars relating to the International Focus Programme, as well as coordinating study and institutional visits. An upcoming S&C event is our very own ELSA Day, which will be held on 25th November 2015. The theme for ELSA Day is ‘Gender Equality’ and we will be running workshops and talks reflecting the theme.
Short for Student Trainee Exchange Programme (STEP), our Vice-President for STEP, Beth Horner, and STEP Directors, Miriam Lydon and Abigail Williams, facilitate a whole new world of international opportunities as law students and young lawyers will be able to spend a period of time working abroad in a law-related area. You will be introduced to an entirely new legal system and gain valuable professional experience along the way.
Just last year, there were 222 traineeships available, with 217 traineeships in ELSA countries. While majority of these traineeships are in law firms, there are also opportunities to work in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and educational institutes. Most of these traineeships last two to four weeks, with one application cycle in spring and another cycle in autumn.
If you are interested in a valuable international work experience, be prepared to write a CV and a motivation letter that stands out! STEP is an extremely competitive programme and there are many applicants from ELSA groups throughout Europe who apply. We will be hosting a series of presentations to clarify the STEP process, so do keep a lookout!
National Council Meeting
The recent NCM was hosted by ELSA York. It was a grand opportunity for the committee members to learn more about ELSA UK activities and interact with delegates from other member boards. During the meeting, ELSA York organised a debate on the topic of Greece and the Eurozone Financial Crisis which our committee members participated in; there was a great exchange of a variety of intellectual opinions on this issue, with most agreeing that it was too early for Greece to have been made an EU Member State. This was followed by discussions regarding the ELSA UK Constitution and the election of the new board members of ELSA UK.
Furthermore, we are proud to announce that we will be hosting the Spring NCM at the University of Nottingham. Together with our Secretary General, Frank Oxley, Freya made an impressive presentation for our bid which garnered sufficient votes from the other local groups. Hosting the NCM will also help to establish our presence amongst the other members of ELSA UK. In addition, we hope to gain full membership status at the Spring NCM.
To keep updated with our events, you can join our Facebook group (‘ELSA Nottingham Members’). We will be hosting an introduction presentation on 20th November 2015 so that you can meet the board members and ask any questions. You can also contact the board via our Vice-President for Marketing, Carrie Elkington, who runs our Facebook page (‘ELSA Nottingham’) or you can simply email us at [email protected]. Look out for the blue sweaters!