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Northumbria student scoops first Cyber Law award from top transatlantic firm

3rd October 2019

Northumbria University law student Thomas Brittain has scooped the inaugural Womble Bond Dickinson Law and Innovation Award at Northumbria Law School.

The transatlantic law firm, has strengthened its links with Northumbria Law School to create the student award, which recognises emerging talent in the legal sector.

A rapidly developing area of legal practice, the Cyber Law module at Northumbria University is now in its second year. The Womble Bond Dickinson Law and Innovation Award winner receives £200 and a work experience placement with the firm.

Nigel Emmerson, Head of the Womble Bond Dickinson Innovation Group and based in the Newcastle office, explains: “We are delighted to sponsor this new award as innovation is vital to our business. Innovation for us means combining the best ideas, people and technology to produce better ways of meeting our clients' needs.

“As the legal landscape and client expectations continue to change it is great to see Northumbria University developing new modules and courses that will equip the lawyers of the future with the skills they need to flourish.”

Award-winning student Thomas Brittain studied the Cyber Law module in the final year of Northumbria Law School’s pioneering M Law course, which is specifically designed for aspiring legal practitioners and individuals wishing to enter professional roles.

Describing his success in achieving the award for best performance in the Cyber Law module, he said: “It’s a fantastic and surprising personal achievement. The module enabled me to demonstrate the skills I have developed over the past four years of my undergraduate course. It has given me a strong perspective on how the development of online practices has influenced society as a whole, and specifically within the legal sector.

“This award is not only a wonderful achievement personally; it also enables me to gain valuable work experience at a leading international law firm which will be hugely beneficial to my career, providing a genuine insight into how a law firm of this size operates and creating a competitive edge when it comes to applying for paralegal positions and ultimately training contract applications to begin my legal career.”

The Cyber Law module is designed to develop the students’ critical understanding of the law relating to the Internet of Things, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, online gambling, Artificial Intelligence, social networks, dating apps, pornography, and advertising with a focus on EU and UK privacy, data protection, consumer protection, and intellectual property.

Dr Guido Noto La Diega, Senior Lecturer in Cyber Law and Intellectual Property Law at Northumbria University said: “The Womble Bond Dickinson Law and Innovation Award is testament to the commitment of both the transatlantic law firm and Northumbria University to innovation in the legal sector.

“Our Cyber Law students are exceptional individuals that, like Tom Brittain, are perfectly equipped to deal with the complexities of the law in the age of AI, blockchain, and the Internet of Things.

“Building on the success of the Cyber Law module, at Northumbria we are launching a new LLM in Cyber Law that will contribute to making sure that the new generations of lawyers can understand the law in a creative and holistic way.”

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