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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

LLB Alumnae victorious in the Amicus student awards

Published: 30 January 2023
International (In)Justice flyer

In November 2022, Amicus awarded Mya Lalria and Jaya Shagpal the Stand Out award, commending their work as representatives for the charity.

Amicus aims to provide better access to justice for those most vulnerable in the US facing the death penalty. The charity focuses on providing fair representation for inmates where certain factors, such as race or mental health issues, may mean that the death penalty is disproportionately imposed, and works to obtain a reprieve from facing death.

Reflecting on their involvement, and as the first representatives for Amicus at the University of Southampton, Mya and Jaya were motivated to focus on raising awareness of the work Amicus does and how law students in particular could get involved. Mya and Jaya were able to secure three bursaries for students at the University to receive free membership and become a part of Amicus. These memberships gave the recipient access to resources, training and newsletters produced by Amicus, as well as the opportunity to go and work on real capital punishment cases in the United States.

Jaya added further, “on a wider scale, any further awareness of the work Amicus does is important, as it enables [the organisation] to continue to strive for justice in the US. On a more personal level, as a law student I found this to be a great way to learn about a field I knew little about, to teach others, and to develop a range of transferable skills with the help of other Amicus volunteers.”

Mya commented, “representing Amicus also exposed me to abuses of defendants’ rights and the importance of providing them with better access to justice. I would encourage all students with a passion in this area to get involved with the work Amicus does, whether it be through a small donation, volunteering to assist with case work, or simply spreading the word.”

Since graduating in 2022, Jaya is now working as a paralegal in property and corporate law, specialising in NHS work. Mya has since gone on to join the Business Transformation graduate scheme at PA Consulting. Both noted how their volunteering experience enhanced their employability; developing skills in communication, organisation, and an awareness of the continued need for social justice.

Both Mya and Jaya commend the work of Amicus and suggest current law students consider getting involved as “any involvement can have a great impact.” Undergraduate Programme Lead Dr Rose Tempowski continues to be involved in Amicus and added that the School is very proud of Jaya and Mya’s achievement.

Dr Tempowski added further, “This is a great example of our students using their skills learnt on their law degree to strive for social justice on an international scale. Mya and Jaya have set up the Amicus relationship with the University of Southampton and the foundations they laid are being built on, with new representative Ruby McCarthy organising fundraising events and an upcoming, exciting pro bono project to be shortly announced.”

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