Name: Sarah O'Keeffe

College: Brasenose

Scholarship: One Essex Court


I studied Jurisprudence with Law Studies in Europe (Spain) for my undergraduate degree at Brasenose College, graduating in 2017.  This included a year studying Spanish Law at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I have returned to Brasenose to study the Bachelor of Civil Law this year, and look forward to the BPTC next year and the Bar thereafter.  I am also working alongside these studies as a law tutor, debating coach and rowing coach.

What are your career ambitions?

I want to be the best barrister I can be!  I have a broad range of legal interests but am particularly drawn to the Commercial Bar, Competition Law and International Arbitration.  I also hope to be able to research alongside practice.

Is life in Oxford different to what you expected it to be?

Oxford is the perfect place to combine hard work with broader interests and a diverse social life.  We are absolutely spoiled for choice here.  This year I plan to focus on mooting and learning to code, but at undergraduate I got involved with everything from debating to rowing to football to gliding - it's just a question of finding the hours in the day!

What aspects of your law degree have proved to be the most useful in your career so far?

My law degree certainly helped me develop the ability to work under intense time pressure and manage competing deadlines. This helped when balancing several different roles for different employers. The logical thought and analysis involved also complemented my work in teaching debate and public speaking. Most directly, my degree helped with my law tutoring. Developing my legal thinking has given me the ability to pick up diverse and niche areas of law to which I had not previously been exposed - whether it be international human rights law or rating - and teach it to students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

What do you hope to achieve whilst studying law in Oxford?

I want to deepen my understanding of the law as much as possible and share ideas with a community of some of the brightest legal minds in the world.

What have you found most rewarding about your programme so far?

The opportunity to go into more detail on complicated legal and academic concepts than as an undergraduate.

What have you found most challenging about your programme so far?

Balancing the workload with work and other commitments.  Then again, that is part of the programme's charm - it's far better to be busy than bored!

Are you involved with or joined any projects or societies?

I am particularly excited to get back involved with mooting and advocacy this year - I will be representing Oxford in the BPP Advocate of the Year Competition and have started to judge some internal moots.

Through the generosity of One Essex Court, this scholarship is worth £10,000 to fund a student on the BCL. The recipient of the scholarship will have an interest in proceeding to the bar.