Paul McConnell’s love of education began some 20 years ago, when he began his career as a lecturer teaching Public Law and European Union Law. A four year stint as a solicitor advising corporate clients on a range of commercial practice areas, including Corporate Finance and Commercial Property, followed. Switching to teaching full-time, he then begun an illustrious career in top UK universities.
Today, he shares his distinctive expertise as Birmingham Law School’s Head of Careers and Employability and Head of Global Engagement. “I am based at our UK campus, but frequently travel to teach and work in Dubai,” he says.
At the University of Birmingham Dubai, he leads the law school’s effort to help students forge successful legal and other professional careers. “I particularly appreciate the opportunities that these roles give me to work with a really diverse and international range of students, and support them in achieving their career goals – it is always fantastic to hear that another Birmingham student has secured their ‘dream job’!” he adds.
There are many exciting opportunities for students and professionals to progress their career at Birmingham Law School in Dubai. It offers four pathways — students can specialise or opt for a more general understanding of future challenges in the legal field.
Travelling to the United Arab Emirates brings great joy to McConnell, who insists that it is the best place to study the LLM. “As a highly international global legal hub, there are many career opportunities here,” he says. “Studying in Dubai helps students access the local job market but also opens up careers worldwide, as employers appreciate the international experiences and perspectives that students gained whilst studying here.”
This sentiment was echoed by (LLM Internat Commercial Law PT Dubai) graduate Zaynab Ahmed, who said: “Birmingham Law School was always on my list given the incredibly renowned focus on facilitating world-class learning experiences and research. To experience exactly that, while working and living in Dubai, was definitely a win.”
Ahmed, who has since gone on to complete the LPC and an MSc in Business Management, added that the variety of modules and the syllabus provided in the LLM programme at UOB Dubai were “practical and relevant”.
Why UOB Dubai graduates stand out in the legal sector
Ahmed is only one of many who graduated from the UOB Dubai’s LLM programme and succeeded. Though most go on to work in top law schools and law firms, some have made their mark in the UK Home Office, Pinsent Masons LLP, HSBC, and Vodafone.
If you’re wondering why employers target those who graduate from Birmingham Law School, it is because getting a postgraduate degree from the institution itself — a World Top 100 university — is evidence of one’s ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. At the same time, graduates of the four LLM pathways from the UOB Dubai have qualities that are much-needed in an increasingly global workforce — drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, the ability to work in a team, and cultural awareness.
According to McConnell, the four LLM programmes — LLM Energy and Environmental Law, LLM General, LLM International Commercial Law, LLM International Dispute Resolution — nurture these three important skills: strong written and oral communication skills, commercial awareness, and a global outlook. These are the key factors as to why UOB Dubai graduates are highly sought upon completion of their studies.
“The LLM offers the chance to develop legal skills and knowledge across a wide range of areas. All students complete an “Introduction to Legal Research” module, which helps to lay the foundations for successful legal study at master’s level. Beyond that, students select from a variety of courses, and there is the opportunity for students to personalise their studies, depending on their interests,” McConnell notes.
Preparing for a life beyond university
Outside of the classroom, UOB Dubai students get the chance to put all of their knowledge and newfound skills into practice through internships, networking opportunities, and events. These activities, spearheaded by McConnell, trains fellow students on how to interview, advocate, and negotiate — all of which will be beneficial in their future careers.
Law students at UOB Dubai are encouraged to plan their careers from a very early stage, regardless of whether they enrol for the undergraduate programme or the LLM. “Plenty of career planning information and support is available for students on induction day,” says McConnell.
That’s not all — there is even a go-to service for all Birmingham Law School students called the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER) in the Dubai campus that gives UOB Dubai students the chance to jump in on plenty of opportunities and activities that will enhance their confidence and employability.
To level-up in your law career with an LLM, check out what the University of Birmingham Dubai has to offer here.