Laura Keogh, an expert in data protection law and space law, looks back on her LLM in Innovation, Technology and Law and the confidence it has inspired.
LLM in Innovation, Technology and Law
|Year of graduation||2015|
Your time at the University
I wanted to learn more about technology law, so it was an easy decision – Edinburgh was one of the few universities offering a Masters in Innovation, Technology and Law. I think I was particularly lucky as there were only four students in my particular masters course that year, so we had an incredible space to flex our academic fingers and receive great inspiration from professors. For example, I wanted to organise for Edinburgh to be part of a particular international mooting competition (we came second in the European rounds and received the best newcomer award), and not only was I given the go ahead to form a team, my professors helped me to source funding. The professors always believed we could do more - I was always forwarded conference funding opportunities, and once got a chance to represent Edinburgh at a conference in Shanghai! It was certainly the busiest, most amazing time of my life.
I was not constricted at all on what to write my master’s thesis on, and I really enjoyed this academic freedom. I was really encouraged to look at all aspects of my research, and this idea of interdisciplinary awareness is the most important thing in the workplace, I believe, and has stood to me since leaving Edinburgh.
In addition, the wider support from the university was great – I knew exactly where to go if I had any questions; the library was fantastic; and the Careers Service provided me with invaluable training on interviewing and job applications, they even organised mock interviews.
The professors always believed we could do more - I was always forwarded conference funding opportunities, and once got a chance to represent Edinburgh at a conference in Shanghai! It was certainly the busiest, most amazing time of my life.
Your experiences since leaving the University
Edinburgh provided me with a great sense of confidence in my abilities and skills and I knew I wanted to be involved in tech law somehow. I was not 100% certain on my career path so I spent the year after graduating moving between different internships until I found a company that I felt suited me. The company then supported me through the qualification process, and I have now been a lawyer at the company for over two and a half years. I thoroughly enjoy it as I am able to work in the areas that I researched while in Edinburgh, most particularly data protection law and space law. I never forgot the amazing aspirational academic drive that I so enjoyed in Edinburgh, so when I can, in my spare time, I give talks, write papers and, most recently, published my first book on data protection compliance – a guide to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
I would say three things:
- Take every opportunity to go to conferences, write papers and participate in competitions, there are so many opportunities for funding that there is no excuse. The experience will stand to you - if you are able to do half of what some of the competitions expect of you, you will be more than capable to do anything in the workforce.
- Use the holidays as an opportunity to do internships EVERYWHERE; go to different countries, try different sectors – it’s the one time in your life you can try out different workplaces for a few weeks at a time and still get paid (make sure you get paid something!).
- Your peers now will be your future employees, employers and clients, so keep in touch with them.
Review of Laura's book on Irish Tech News (external link)