Newly qualified solicitor Jade O’Kane – who scooped the Arthur Cox Prize at the University of Ulster’s summer graduations – has taken up a full-time position with city law firm Caldwell and Robinson.
Arthur Cox, one of Ireland’s largest law firms, funds an annual award of £1000 for the top student at Ulster’s Graduate School of Professional Legal Education at Magee.
A past pupil of Lumen Christi College, Jade, 24, is the only daughter of Michael and Bernadette O’Kane from Claudy.
A brief work placement with Caldwell and Robinson while she was studying for her A levels whetted Jade’s appetite for law and she says she has never looked back.
“I really enjoyed the placement. Initially I was doing filing which gave me a great insight into the range of work that goes on in a solicitor’s office. I was then lucky enough to get a part time job with Caldwell and Robinson. I worked there during the holidays, at first when I was still at school and later when I was at university so I was able to maintain my links with the firm.
“After graduation, I was offered an apprenticeship with the firm which allowed me to complete my professional qualification at Magee and become a fully fledged solicitor.”
She adds: “I really enjoyed my time at Magee and I would certainly recommend the Graduate School of Professional Legal Education to anyone thinking of pursuing a career in law.
”It can be challenging but I was fortunate to get a lot of good guidance from very experienced and helpful practitioners at Caldwell and Robinson. The Director, Paul Mageean and lecturers provided us with great support and an excellent standard of professional training.”
Congratulating Jade on winning the Arthur Cox prize, Paul Mageean said: This is a wonderful achievement and a well deserved honour for Jade. I wish her every success in the future.
“I would also like to thank Arthur Cox Solicitors who have been generous in their support for the Graduate School since its inception.”
The Graduate School of Professional Legal Education was officially opened in 2009 by the then Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland, Sir Brian Kerr.
Its launch marked a major development in professional legal education as it is the sole such provider in the north-west – and only the second in Northern Ireland.
The School, which has its own dedicated space at the Magee campus with customised interactive and recording facilities to equip students with the necessary skills to practise in the legal profession, provides full-time training to students wishing to qualify as solicitors. Trainees must be law graduates and have apprenticeship places in solicitors’ practices.
The School has received strong support from the judiciary, law firms and agencies such as the PSNI and the Court Service, which have hosted study visits.It also works closely with the Law Society of Northern Ireland to ensure that the course content and delivery meets the requirements of the legal profession.
A team of experienced legal professionals, both solicitors and barristers, have been recruited to deliver the core subjects of the course, ensuring a tangible link between the Graduate School of Professional Legal Education at Magee and ongoing developments in practice. Teaching staff are recruited on an associate basis – which allows them to continue practising as solicitors or barristers.
Jade O'Kane, winner of the 2012 Arthur Cox prize with Paul Mageean of the University of Ulster 's Graduate School of Professional Legal Education