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Hi Joseph, what you have been busy doing since we last caught up?

Joseph Kelen, Future Legal Mind 2020 winner

These last few months have flown by: moving into a new flat in London, starting the Bar Vocational Course and getting through covid have been my main focus.

I've also been volunteering with a foodbank, and helping to support the homeless this Christmas through Crisis as a key volunteer.

Why did you originally decide to enter Future Legal Mind?

For once I had some spare time from my legal studies, and thought it would be good advocacy practice!

I'd also been working quite extensively with Crisis at Christmas, who were pushing the repeal of the Vagrancy Act. I thought it would be a great opportunity to spread word of our campaign.

How has being the winner of Future Legal Mind helped you so far, and how do you think it will help you in the future?

It's certainly added bite to the bark I present to employers. Having my finalist video online is also a great link to include in my CV!

What would you say to law students and trainees who are thinking of entering the competition this year?

Do it, its great advocacy experience, and great fun.

Particularly those who are interested in the bar, it presents exactly the sort of challenge, advocating for a change in the law and then for yourself in a short amount of time in plain simple terms, that I definitely hadn't had many opportunities to do before.

Do you have any tips for those who are starting work on their essay?

Find an area of law which you feel passionate about, however cliched it sounds. There are so many advocacy groups and campaigns out there who are trying to change certain laws, so piggyback off them and make it your own.

Check out some of the videos from last year's competition as well for ideas.

What is your plan for your next steps in law?

I'm currently taking the Bar Vocational Course and trying to develop my skills before applying for Pupillage again next year.

I'm also trying to boost my French and Arabic, which I hope to then apply in a humanitarian legal setting.

What would you recommend for aspiring lawyers to do to get themselves noticed?

The cliché of ‘find work in what you're interested in' does hold true.

One piece of advice would be to not worry if that isn't through a vacation scheme or mini-pupillage. Most of the successful applicants I know had come across law through other work experiences: whether that's as a real-estate agent or in banking.

Most of the time, getting noticed can just be about showing an interest in the area of law throughout different areas of your life: the more unexpected, the better!