Samantha Woods wins special Property Law Prize
Second year LLB student, Samantha Woods has been awarded a special inaugural prize for her work in property law due to her incredible research on tenancies which she conducted with Dr James Harrison.
Samantha is the first to receive the ‘Slaughter and May Property Law Prize’ which the firm offered to Warwick Law School at the start of the academic year. It was to be awarded during the summer of 2019 to the student who achieved the best mark in our Property Law module. However, our academic colleagues Dr Jane Bryan and Dr James Harrison were so impressed by Samantha’s summer research project in the area that they asked Slaughter and May if they would be willing to award an inaugural prize for academic achievement, and they agreed.
When told they developed this extra award especially because of her impressive research, Samantha said, “I was not aware of this! It makes me feel like the work I did was truly important and for a leading law firm to recognise its potential makes me feel overjoyed and proud of my work.”
Samantha was invited to visit the Slaughter and May offices back in April and awarded a £250 prize. On winning the award, she told us, “It is an incredible achievement which has made me feel extremely proud of myself and very grateful to James Harrison and David Ormandy for giving me the opportunity to work alongside them in creating the report and allowing it to reach so many different people.”
We caught up with her to find out a little bit more about the project and the award.
Can you tell me a little bit about the project that won you the award?
The research was conducted to compare the rights of tenants in England with those of tenants in other jurisdictions across Europe, the USA and Australia. The findings showed that tenants are much less protected here with regard to the length and security of tenure; renewal of agreements; landlord's right to resume possession; rent increases; remedies for repairs; dispute resolution for tenants and landlords and much more.
Our report proposes a total of 10 strong recommendations for reform, some examples include longer tenancies with automatic renewal rights, prohibition of landlord's resumption until the end of a fixed term (without good reason) limits to rent increases, urgent repair remedies and a more efficient service for dispute resolution which is less time consuming and offered at a low cost. Each section of the report includes information about why it is important for tenants and how other jurisdictions are providing better protection.
I have received some wonderful feedback throughout the process from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and even the Shadow Secretary of State for Housing! There have also been proposals for reform in this area which will eliminate no-fault evictions to make tenants feel much more secure in their homes.
Samantha and her award along with Jane Bryan and James Harrison.
How was the visit to Slaughter and May?
I met with a current trainee solicitor who also attended the University of Warwick, she told me how incredible it is to work for the firm and explained the ins and outs of her training contract so far. I then met Richard Todd, who is a partner at the firm and he gave me some wonderful advice regarding the application process! Everyone was extremely nice to me, the firm was more than accommodating and overall it was a really enjoyable experience.
When asked about the future, Samantha told us, “I have always had a passion for Employment Law, which is why I went back to college at the age of 19 to pursue a legal career, however I have enjoyed every aspect of law that I have learnt so far. I plan to achieve as much as possible whilst at university and hopefully go on to have a successful career as a solicitor.”
She added, “Warwick has 100% helped me to decide what I want to do and given me the confidence I needed to believe I can aim higher and pursue a successful career in law. (I was overwhelmed when I received the UCAS offer!) I am also extremely interested in the training contract offered by Slaughter and May, and without Warwick I wouldn't have had the opportunity to visit such an incredible firm and potentially apply for a place with them.”
The Slaughter and May Property Law Prize for the best overall mark will be awarded during the summer.
Congratulations again to Samantha for this incredible achievement.