Univ Dates: 2008-2012

Degree: BA Modern Languages

Degree Level: Undergraduate

Occupation: Trainee Solicitor at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Biography: Edward is currently a trainee solicitor in the London office of the international law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. At Univ he received the Helen and Peter Dean Prize in Modern Languages twice, the Andrew Colin Prize, and was elected a Scholar in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He achieved a Congratulatory First Class degree in Russian and Czech with Slovak, before receiving a Kennedy Trust Scholarship to study for a Masters in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies. After Univ, Edward studied Russian and Soviet politics in America and wrote a thesis on political violence in early Soviet literature.

In his spare time, he enjoys endurance sports and is writing a book on the Russian writer Varlam Shalamov.


Why did you choose Univ?

I chose Univ because of its reputation for Russian, in the form of Dr Nicholson, but also it’s a very beautiful place. To read Modern Languages at Univ you had to read Russian and because I was doing other eastern European languages with it, which is a reasonably unusual degree, I was quite confident to come here as it had the support for that subject.


Do you remember your interview?

I remember it very clearly actually. I was nervous because it was something I was building up to for a very long time and I had done a lot of preparation for it, but I was also quite confident. It was a test at which I knew I was going to be fairly examined; they were looking for someone that was passionate about the subject and could show an aptitude for it – I was certainly passionate about it.

I had my interview with Dr Nicholson at Univ and Dr Naughton at Teddy Hall, who was the Fellow of Czech. They were great interviews because they asked me about things that I had done at school – quite regular things – but they also asked me about academic things, which I had done outside of school, which I think was very important because it was those things that had really prepared me for coming here. It was quite an affirming experience too.


How was your first day?

My room was in DB2 and famously the worst room in College! Right on the High Street, very loud and the X90 bus stopped right outside of it. But then, about six weeks into term the person that lived above me flooded my room and I got moved to a better one.


Who inspired you at Univ?

Lots of people at Univ inspired me. My passion for my subject was inspired by my tutors, Dr Nicholson here and James Naughton at Teddy Hall. I was really lucky with the people I studied with too – there was an enormous range of people and some who had the most incredible drive to succeed and do what they wanted to do; that was impressive!

Also there are people at Univ who are interested in lots of different things, very committed to doing exciting things. That requires quite a lot of personal courage, because there are some quite well-trodden paths that could be taken.


Did you know what you wanted to do for a career whilst you were at Univ?

No I didn’t. But I was very lucky because a Univ alumnus, who is a lawyer in Russia, helped me during my year abroad; I got in touch with him and he invited me to come and work in Moscow and he showed me that you can fulfil your intellectual interests and at the same time have a career which isn’t purely academic. I may not have fully appreciated it at the time, but in the last few years I have come to realise how informative that was.

I hope later in my career, when I’m in a similar position to him, that I’ll be able to extend the same level of generosity. Univ offers a great network – profitable and supportive. The experience made me focus and made me confident in my choices.