During our UK visit, we had the chance to meet with Tudor Etchells, an IE University law student who is on his way to becoming a barrister.
Last week we went to London to attend the first graduation ceremony for Dual LL.B.+LPC / BPTC students receiving their Bachelor’s Degrees in Law.
During our UK visit, we had the chance to meet with Tudor Etchells, an IE University law student who is on his way to becoming a barrister. Although Tudor is graduating, he was unable to make the ceremony due to a prior engagement with the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. Despite his busy schedule, he managed to make some time to speak to us.
It’s a cold and rainy London morning and Tudor and I meet to grab a cup of coffee. Tudor has a slightly different profile than his peers, as he is in the process of becoming a barrister. For those of you who don’t know, a barrister is a type of lawyer in England and Wales that attends court and presents cases before judges. Tudor has chosen a different path than his classmates who started the same LL.B. program with him three years ago.
We had an hour-long chat where he shared his thoughts and experiences at IEU with us. When we finished our coffee, we went to the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn for an impromptu photoshoot (see below).
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Tudor Etchells and I was born in Cardiff, Wales. I studied a Dual Degree in English Law and Spanish Law. I spent my first two years in Segovia, and my last year in Madrid. After that, I completed my English Law Degree, which I’m receiving tomorrow. This means I can do a professional training course here in the UK.
Once you have done your degree and you want to practice law in the UK, you can train in two areas of law. You can complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) to become a barrister or you can complete the Legal Professional Training Course (LPC) to become a solicitor. The barrister is the person who goes to court and presents before the judge. Then, you need to be hired by a Set of Chambers and work for one year in a training position, called a pupillage. Only after this do you become a fully-qualified barrister.
Before coming to Spain, where have you lived?
I was born in Cardiff, and when I was 7 years old I moved with my family to Abu Dhabi. After three years we went to Doha, where we lived for a year. At the age of eleven, I moved back to Wales and lived there until I was sixteen when I moved to India to do my International Baccalaureate. Then Spain for three years and now I’m back in London.
Why you decided to study Law at IEU?
I was studying in India in a boarding school doing my high school studies and I didn’t fancy coming back to England. I thought it would be exciting to try a different country where I didn’t know the language. I didn’t speak any Spanish before moving to Spain, but this wasn’t a problem at all. IEU offered me a scholarship – The PWC Scholarship for Global Lawyering – and Segovia looked like a very sunny city, so I decided to move to Spain. I’m really glad I made that decision.
Segovia or Madrid?
I really like the combination of both!
Segovia is beautiful and it works very well as a university city. Most of the IEU students live in the old city within the walls, which means that when you’re walking to class or just going somewhere, you often run into your friends. This also means that going to school and seeing your friends is a lot easier. You’ll probably live 10 minutes away from your friends’ houses.
Overall, you get very close to the people there. You’ll form very close bonds and great friendships, which is perfect for when you move to Madrid. Once you move to the big city, it’s nice to know that you’ve already got friends, because your friends moved with you. This makes integration into city living much easier. Also, the fact that Madrid is so close to Segovia is really convenient: you can definitely go during the weekends. Madrid is a really easy city to get familiar with, not like London where we are today!
In Madrid you can walk most of the time because the weather is nice and the metro is really cheap, so doing things and seeing your friends is easy to do. There is quite a lot going on – obviously Madrid is a very cultural city so the arts are really present. There are events and performances going on all the time. Also, because IEU is growing so fast, there’s a lot more happening on campus. When I was studying, I played rugby for one of the city teams, called ‘Los Lobos’ – now I know that IEU’s got a very good rugby team that plays against them. Anyway, I played for Los Lobos with some great, really tough guys! That’s actually where I learned a lot of my Spanish.
I’m so glad I made the decision to move to Spain. It’s such a welcoming place and everybody is so friendly there. I think that Spanish people appreciate the fact that international people are choosing to move there to live after the rough times they’ve had lately and they’re very open to you becoming part of their society.
How do you think the law practice is changing at an International level?
When I came to the UK to study law, I noticed that IEU trains students to be internationally-minded lawyers. Here, the legal system is really old and established. The problem is that people don’t have the understanding of how different law can be in the different countries and how it manifests itself.
Having a degree in comparative law provides you with a global perspective. A good example would be looking at property law in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, which are all quite different. People in the UK don’t have that global perspective studying law. For example, it’s really easy for me to look at international cases that involve cross-border disputes. A lot of my classmates now don’t have that.
People are slowly starting to realize the importance of this global perspective. In the UK, however, people think our legal system is so strong that it doesn’t need an outside perspective. It’s only a matter of time before people start realizing the importance of having an international understanding of law.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Since barristers only exist in England and Wales, I definitely see myself here for a couple of years doing my training and finishing my pupillage. Then I’d really like to go abroad, maybe to India since my English training easily applies there as it’s a common law jurisdiction. I’d also like to go to South America. I’ve never been there before, and with the Spanish skills that I have acquired, my understanding of civil law, and the training I’m currently doing here on common law, I think my background would be an asset there.
I hope to keep on traveling. I’ve lived quite a global life and I want to keep on doing so!
I want to specialize in human rights, because it’s something I feel an affinity towards having witnessed human rights violations on different scales throughout my life. I’m actually writing my thesis on human rights, looking at the European Union’s human rights obligations under bilateral investment treaty competence.
What are the main differences between IEU and The University of Law?
I think what I’m doing now isn’t that different from IEU. The course is more about learning the procedure, and not asking abstract questions in big essays. It’s about learning how to draft a claim or even how to present an argument in court, so it’s not that academic.
On the other hand, there’s a bigger difference between IEU and the British university system in general. IEU is way more practice-based, so you work in groups and you deliver class presentations, learning how to voice your arguments. The UK system is more about self-studying and handing in papers.
We had a great time chatting with such a unique and promising IEU student. We wish Tudor all the best in his future endeavors!