How my experience with the Thouron Award led to a role at a law firm in New York
Last updated on Friday 1 Oct 2021 on 9:15am
I applied for a Thouron Award during my first year as a practising criminal barrister in London. I had never been to the United States before or had much opportunity to travel before I came here, so I saw this as the chance of a lifetime.
This is the furthest anyone in my family has ever travelled and we were all so excited when I got the award! I wanted to travel before I got settled anywhere permanently and I also wanted to explore what it would be like to work as a lawyer in the United States. I intended to apply for a permanent position, but I did not anticipate that my biggest support would come from the Thouron Award.
I studied for my LLM (master’s in law) at the University of Pennsylvania, Carey Law School which was so much fun. The LLM has a completely international cohort, but we take our classes alongside the JDs (a JD is a three year Juris Doctor degree which US lawyers need in order to qualify) which means I had a wonderful mix of friends from so many different countries. I got to take a trial advocacy course with some JD students (I had always wanted to say ‘objection!’ in a courtroom, so I jumped at the chance) and I also joined the Penn Law Acapellants. I made some firm friends for life, both LLMs and JDs, as well as my fellow award winners.
I will be staying in the US as I was fortunate enough to be offered a job at the New York office of a law firm. The Thouron community was particularly supportive of my decision to stay here and I found a kind and encouraging mentor in one of the committee members. My Thouron mentor not only gave me practical advice in terms of how I should focus my CV and cover letters, but constantly encouraged me not to give up even when I felt like I would never find a job in the US. Other members of the Thouron family were equally encouraging, and they made sure that I had ample opportunities to discuss my US career with other Thouron lawyers at social events. I am joining the law office of a Thouron alumnus, so I know that even though I don’t have my actual family here, I have a member of my Thouron family with me!
The Thouron Award was established in 1960 to help foster Anglo-American relations. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Thouron Award and as with most things this year, celebrations have been postponed until 2021. The Award includes a generous stipend to allow for US travel, but the intangible benefits are far greater; you also receive a boost to your employability and a place in a welcoming and supportive community for life. Unfortunately, our travels were cut short this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but I managed to make it to Boston, Salem Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Washington D.C., and New York City. I also took a trip with some of the Thouron scholars to Montreal over Thanksgiving which was all good fun until we got stuck in a snowstorm in upstate New York! All of these places were incredible but I particularly loved NYC – it looks exactly like a movie set and I fell in love with the constant energy of the city that never sleeps.
I would encourage anyone who is even considering graduate study in the US to apply for a Thouron Award. The Award is not merely a prestigious organisation, it’s a family in every sense of the word.
Amelia studied for her LLM (master's in law) at the University of Pennsylvania as a recipient of the Thouron Award. Applications for UK students to apply for fully-funded postgraduate study through the Thouron Award close on 1 November 2021.