Sinéad is one of our US students who is in her first year in Trinity. Here she lets us know about her experience of studying Law at Trinity, one of our Top 10 Courses.
Your name: Sinéad Flynn
Where you’re from in the US: Chicago, IL
Your year of study: First year
Your programme of study / course: Law
What made you decide to study your course at Trinity?
I had always known I wanted to become a Lawyer. I was excited to discover that Trinity, like the rest of European countries, offers a Law degree at the Undergraduate Level. This was enticing to me as I have the opportunity to commence by Law studies right away, as opposed to a Bachelor’s degree in the US, and then a three year JD programme. I am able to engage in my ideal course in my first year of college. Further, there are a few options to explore after the completion of the degree. One can pursue work in the US, by taking the Bar in certain states, or pursue a career in Ireland. Of course with an Undergraduate degree in Law, one can explore other options that may not fit into the traditional lawyer role, such as journalism, politics, and many other types of jobs. This is a great course for someone who wants to start studying Law immediately, rather than waiting to pursue it after a Bachelor’s Degree.
What, if anything, was the most challenging thing about moving to Ireland to study?
I had thought that understanding Ireland’s government and political set-up was going to be a struggle that would affect my understanding of the legal system here. I was reassured in my first year of lectures, where in Constitutional Law, Professor Oran Doyle, explained each part of the government and the separation of powers. The system has some similarities to the US, as it is also a common law system. Any gaps that international students may have had surrounding the set-up in Ireland was immediately bridged. There is fluidity and acceptance of international students in the course.
What aspect / module of your course have you enjoyed studying the most so far and why?
My favourite module is Criminal Law, which I am currently studying right now. The professor is Ivana Bacik, who not only had practice as a Criminal Law Barrister, but is a Senator in Ireland. Professor Bacik is also my tutor here. At Trinity, each student is paired up with a tutor that is involved in the school of your study, and this person becomes your advocate if you have any concerns or challenges as a student here. She is an engaging lecturer, and has made this module very interesting. So far, we have explored different types of offences and the defences used in cases. Further, we are looking at the progression of criminal law and procedures in different common law jurisdictions through case law. Even though Criminal has been my favourite, I have found all of my other modules to be very engaging and useful. All of the lecturers have so much passion and knowledge in their course, and it clearly is displayed during each class.
If you had one piece of advice to any other students about to start your course in Trinity what would it be?
Attending lectures is essential to the course, as this is where the content is truly explored. From the lectures, the professors highlight the important cases to read and other textual materials to explore. Thus, I recommend reading all of the appropriate material and engaging as much with the material.
I also would recommend joining a few societies when you arrive. I am a member of many societies, but mostly attend events for Law Soc, and ELSA( European Law Student Association.) I also have the position as first year rep for ELSA, so even in first year one can truly getting involved in a society. Involvement in societies is a great way to meet new people, and engage in other aspects with Law. Both societies provide events that have insights into careers, great social events, events with unique speakers, and competitions such as mock-trials and moot courts.
What is your favourite thing about Dublin?
Trinity is conveniently located in the heart of the city centre, and thus as a student you are only steps away from anywhere. The public transport system in Ireland is superb. Within Dublin, there is Dublin Bus, the DART trains, and the Luas tram. Due to these different modes of transport, getting to any part of Dublin is quite easy. Not only is there the desire to ex
plore Dublin, but to discover other areas of Ireland. Buses and trains connect you from Dublin to places all over the country. You are only moments away from new experiences as a student here. Many societies plan trips around the country, or even in Europe. For example, Law Soc has an annual trip to Galway, which is in the west of the country. You will find yourself in so many great places in Ireland during your time here.
What three words would you use to describe Trinity to someone who’s never been here?
Academic. Invigorating. Inspiring.