Demilade talks about her roles as a PhD Researcher at the University of Dundee and as Regional Chair for Africa, Young ITA (Institute for Transnational Arbitration).
My LLM in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution was definitely a turning point in my career and the foundation for pursuing and growing a career in international arbitration.
In February 2014 when I received my unconditional offer of admission to study for a General LLM at Queen Mary, University of London, I was undecided on what specialisation to pursue, as I had only recently qualified as a legal practitioner in Nigeria.
By the time I joined CCLS in the Autumn, my brief work experience had given me a slightly clearer idea of what I wanted to do but it was the vast module offerings which enabled me to identify and streamline my areas of interest. The availability of a wide array of modules meant I could combine my areas of passion; international dispute resolution and energy. I decided on the Comparative and International Dispute Resolution LLM specialisation, and takingk sector specific modules such as International Energy Arbitration and International Construction: Contracts and Arbitration meant I could learn about energy as well.
The module offerings were not just what made the LLM a well-rounded program. I benefitted immensely from the guest lectures delivered by practicing professionals in the field. There were also short certification classes such as “Accounting for Lawyers” and “Negotiation Skills” which were very useful in my future roles. (Also useful was the £20 I won in the class for negotiating a great deal.)
Perhaps one of the most impactful experiences of the LLM was the mooting competition. It was my very first practical experience of international arbitration and my team, the great “Phoenix Team” emerged as the first runner-up. Since I left QMUL, I have acted as Tribunal Secretary or Registrar in a number of arbitrations and I still draw upon that experience for guidance. The transferable skills I honed at QMUL were also indispensable at my job with the Nigerian government.
My current position is PhD Researcher at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral, Policy at the University of Dundee where I am investigating the impact of trade and investment treaty obligations on the development of renewable energy. I couldn’t possibly undertake this research without the strong foundations I received in my International Trade and Investment dispute Settlement (ITIDS) module.
As I grow and explore opportunities in my career, I find further reasons to be thankful for my stay at QMUL. Our vast alumni network is the cherry on top. A fellow alumnus made the introduction for my first appointment as a registrar of an arbitral tribunal and I was pleased to find two alumni on the advisory board of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) when I took up my role as the Regional Chair for Africa of the Young ITA.
I look forward to meeting and working with fellow alumni in the future.