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An Anniversary or Two: Four Years of Keep Calm Talk Law

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About The Author

Keir Baker (Former Editor in Chief)

Keir is a Trainee Solicitor currently in the fourth and final seat of his training contract at a major US law firm. He is a law graduate from Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. Outside the law, Keir is an accomplished goalkeeper in both football and hockey, as well as a keen actor and pianist. He is a long-suffering supporter of Middlesbrough FC.

Today marks two anniversaries for Keep Calm Talk Law: four years ago, it published its first article, Thomas Horton’s fascinating analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in R (Chester) v Secretary of State for Justice [2013], while this time last year, I was officially promoted to my current position of Editor in Chief.

In what has been a whirlwind year for both Keep Calm Talk Law and I, over 70 articles have been published and the Journal passed the milestone of 500 published pieces overall. Throughout that time, there were occasions when the venture seemed doomed to failure. But with Keep Calm Talk Law back in good health, I wanted to take some time out to reflect on a year of (mostly) highs and pay tribute to all those who have made it possible.

The Year in Overview

In October 2016, the Journal was in a period of hibernation; in truth, its future was uncertain. Many of the figures that had been key to its success were now entering the world of full-time work and, understandably, were having to step back from Keep Calm Talk Law. It was still being visited by interested readers – articles such as Yasmin Daswani’s evaluation of the Loss of Control defence and Thomas Horton’s critique of the Land Registration Act 2002 were valuable resources to law students wishing to supplement and guide their revision – but its contents was not being updated. Keep Calm Talk Law risked going stale.

Yet there was a belief that Keep Calm Talk Law was too important as a platform for aspiring young lawyers to fade away in such a manner. Overseen by the expert guidance of Founder, Chris Bridges, several members of the original team and I sought to lay the foundations for the Journal’s return. Advertisements were put out, a number of articles were written and the word was spread: Keep Calm Talk Law was on its way back.

The fact I can write this piece now is testament to the success of those exploits, and the Journal is indebted to those – Ben Brown, Matt Bodgan, Samuel Cuthbert, Rowan Clapp and Alexander Barbour – who put in those hard hours that have paid dividends.

With a threadbare team, Keep Calm Talk Law began publishing again on 10 January 2017 with my analysis of the Law of the Refugee Testing. And slowly but surely, as the weeks and months went on, the Journal edged towards returning to its former prominence: readership levels began to rise, the size of the team increased and Keep Calm Talk Law was able to maintain a publication rate of two pieces a week, of which my personal highlights include:

  • Ben McGuckin’s pun-filled exploration of how Pop Culture is making its way into legal education.
  • Jack Slone’s powerful critique of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
  • Connor Griffith’s superb discussion of IP law’s failure to protect stand-up comedians.
  • Mark O’Neill’s fascinating insights into the complex Rangers tax case.
  • James Mulligan’s cogent assessment of TfL’s decision to not renew Uber’s license.

Now, I am proud to say that Keep Calm Talk Law is very much back to where it belongs: one of the most popular legal websites for those setting out on their journey with the law. 56,000 individuals have visited the site in the last twelve months, and the Journal now boasts twenty team members, whose enthusiasm and talent for both writing and editing is something for which I will be eternally grateful.

The Team

The Editorial Team

Indeed, it would be remiss not to pay tribute to the efforts of the team. Every single person who has been part of the Editorial Team throughout my tenure deserve plaudits; without their time and dedication to the Journal, the standard of the published articles would be severely inhibited.

It is particularly heartening to see how the make-up of the Editorial Team has changed to become increasingly diverse. It has an ever-increasing international flavour: Greece’s own Alexios Ektor Koursoupolos has brought a taste of the Southern Mediterranean to proceedings and Maimoona Nalkhande has introduced her gargantuan Commercial law knowledge all the way from Dubai, while Adrienne Tong Jia Inn’s fabulously forensic editing originates from Malaysia.

Elsewhere, Sudhershen Hariram’s unrivalled Family law experience joins us from Singapore and Meghan Phillips is a welcome reminder that not all Americans confine their online activity to 140 characters’ worth of bigly-discussed ‘diplomacy’.

Closer to home, the editing of Ben Brown, Matt Bogdan and Samuel Cuthbert remains as high a quality as it did when they were savaging my early attempts at writing for Keep Calm Talk Law. Jack Slone and Anirudh Mandagere have brought unbelievable levels of insight into their sections. And special tribute must go to Annie Morrin, whose ability to find a way to take any given piece up to the next level of quality is absolute joy to watch.

The Regular Writers

Keep Calm Talk Law’s Regular Writers are the lifeblood of the operation. Their role is key to maintaining the breadth of quality legal commentary that the Journal contributes – I cannot thank them enough for the time they commit. It is a joy and privilege to see how enthusiastically they respond to, and implement, the feedback they are given, and to see how their legal writing has been shaped by working with Keep Calm Talk Law.

Over the last twelve months, many talented writers have contributed to the Journal – all of their efforts are highly valued and I am very grateful that they dedicate their time to Keep Calm Talk Law. Nonetheless, it feels germane to pay tribute to some, in particular:

  • Connor Griffith – Keep Calm Talk Law’s ‘Mr Reliable’, Connor’s first drafts are invariably flawless and provide fascinating insights into the world of IP law. His clarity of expression and dedication to the cause is seeing him tipped for big things – watch this space.
  • Mark O’Neill – A man for any topic, Mark’s impressive research skills, versatility and ability to tackle any subject has seen him produce superb articles on a number of complex issues. His legal writing has developed at an unparalleled rate; it is little wonder his dissection of the High Court’s recent decision on Mike Ashley’s ‘drunk contract’ was a popular choice with the Journal’s readers.
  • Joseph Mahon – A quite stunning writer whose words – according to one commentator – ‘flow like liquid chocolate’, Joseph’s pieces on international law are always a treat to read.
  • Jack Turner – The ‘Commercial Awareness Guru’ of Keep Calm Talk Law who is currently on a well-earned six-month break travelling, Jack’s fortnightly Commercial Awareness column is a sorely missed feature which many aspiring young lawyers will be desperate to see return.
  • Jamil Mustafa – With the ability to take apart even the most complex and fragmented legal issue and put it back together again (in comprehensible terms to boot), Jamil’s dissections of some of the major debates of contract law should, quite frankly, be required reading for law students at universities across the country.

The Future

With the law very much at the centre of life thanks to a wide range of issues – from Brexit, to legal aid, to prisoner voting and the ever-changing shape of the Supreme Court – I remain hopeful that Keep Calm Talk Law will be the place for accessible, informed and engaging discussions about the law from younger members of the legal community.

For the whole Keep Calm Talk Law team, it means the world that there remains a loyal, engaged and enthusiastic readership out there who are willing to take the time out to consider our thoughts and views on the law. We are grateful for your continued support, and hope we can continue to publish articles that capture your legal minds.

Certainly, with new applications from talented young lawyers flooding in wanting to write pieces on a wide range of exciting new topics, I am confident that – as Keep Calm Talk Law heads towards its fifth birthday, and my tenure moves towards its second year – the Journal will continue to go from strength-to-strength.

If you have any feedback, thoughts, comments, questions or criticisms about Keep Calm Talk Law, please contact Keir Baker, Editor in Chief, on keir.baker@keepcalmtalklaw.co.uk.

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