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Alumni profile - Kane Oxholm-Abry-Diaw de Baye

Mon 18 September 2023

Kane wearing graduation robes, standing between books and a bust statue.

Tell us a little bit about your life/background before Edinburgh Law School

Before joining Edinburgh Law School in 2017 for an LLM in European Law, I read for a General Baccalaureate in Economics and Social Sciences at a public school, and an LLB (Hons) in French and English Law with German and a master’s in business law at Paris-Saclay University. I also worked to qualify as a lawyer in England and Wales and France, and provided legal advice to clients in Danish, English, and French law. I also completed high-quality legal research for publicly traded companies in UK, France, and Germany and worked as a tender specialist.

What did you study at Edinburgh Law School and why did you choose the programme?

I read for an LLM in European Law, with a focus on European Competition Law, Contract Law in Europe, and Criminological Research Methods. I chose Edinburgh because I felt a personal connection with Scottish culture and the city of Edinburgh, which I had the opportunity to visit in my youth. Edinburgh is a leading place for research in Europe, especially in European law, and it felt like the best fit for me at the time to hone existing skills, develop new ones, contribute to the life of the university, and engage with world-leading experts in their fields while preparing for my PhD.

What do you think is unique to the Edinburgh Law School experience and what are some of your favourite memories?

The approachability of the staff at Edinburgh University is one of a kind. I have been lucky to engage in constructive relationships with staff across the university to improve the student-staff experience and contribute to the life of the Law School. Prof Martin Hogg and Prof Jo Shaw, as well as other members of staff, have always shown a great interest in students and staff, listening to their concerns, and doing their utmost to make Edinburgh the best university; a university that cares for its members and does all it can to bring out the best in others. Staff and colleagues in the undergraduate and postgraduate offices have always been prompt to resolve problems and provide quality advice to help with any hurdles I encountered along the way in a supportive, non-judgemental way. Staff have always been very empowering, providing guidance to help me be successful in everything I undertook whether it was academic or otherwise. I am especially grateful to Karen Bolton, Linda Graham, Samera Yasin, Olivia Hayes, Dr Andy Aydin-Aitchison, Ryan McGuire, Dr Simone Lamont-Black, Dr John MacLeod, Lorna Richardson, and Dr Alistair Henry who have made my time at Edinburgh enjoyable; a time I look back on very fondly. Something I have particularly enjoyed was being part of the EUSA funding committee which supported the development of students’ projects improving the student experience and sustainable volunteering projects sustaining active engagement between the academic and the civic. It made me realise how much Edinburgh University genuinely seeks to put its students and staff first while delivering for the community and improving the lives of others outside of the university. Other fond memories include exchange opportunities and the support afforded to students to make Edinburgh a homely, welcoming, and supportive place however far away from home. It includes Christmas and New Year events, as well as other events to bring students and members of the public together.

What have you been up to since graduating/what are you doing after graduation (e.g., your professional or further academic pursuits since leaving Edinburgh Law School) and how have your degree studies with us helped you in this?

Since I graduated with the LLM, I completed a Law PhD at Edinburgh University (graduated in 2021) and have been teaching various law courses at Edinburgh Law School as a grade 6 and 7 attaining the Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). I am currently undertaking work to become a fellow of the HEA. I have also published academic articles in leading journals and my doctoral research entitled The Construction, Sources, and Implications of Consensualism in Contract: Lesson from France. I am currently working on an article on corporate criminal liability and human rights and am considering a monograph focusing on a specific issue and blending European Law, International Law, and International Relations.

I have also worked at HMRC as a consultant and Programme Support Officer, at the Ministry of Justice as a Policy Officer, at The Scottish Parliament as an Assistant Clerk in various committees, and in private practice as Of Counsel providing legal advice. I have worked closely with diverse stakeholders across wide portfolios and delivered quality output on a range of issues sometimes outside my immediate area of expertise. I have supported members of parliament and junior and cabinet ministers to deliver often conflicting priorities. It involved innovating in my support to senior leaders to support the advancement of complex and contested policies. I produce impactful, meticulous, and time-efficient committee reports/papers and policy/procedural papers on a broad range of intricate topics I sometimes have to pick up and learn quickly (e.g., Devolution, Retained EU Law, Scotland’s Census, National Care Service, Ukraine, CPTPP), balancing between conflicting evidence to reach a sensible solution.

I prioritise a demanding workload within pressured environments and manage rapidly changing demands at short notice. I work in partnership across wide portfolios to deliver quality advice to and influence Ministers and MSPs, and guide and plan activity towards priority and high-risk areas. I manage others through effective leadership and delegation and contribute to resource planning and lead assigned office-wide/corporate responsibilities. I establish effective internal and external relationships by working closely with colleagues, recognising the value of their strengths, skills, experience, and knowledge irrespective of grade. I also liaise with internal and external contacts and coordinate the efforts of colleagues to ensure work is being delivered against expected standards and timescales. In this context, many of the decisions that I make in my roles are often based on a range of complex and sometimes incomplete information. In advising seniors on evolving complex and unexpected developments to influence their thinking, I take a considered approach in weighing up alternative options, understanding that change is inevitable and must be welcomed as priorities evolve or as data is discovered, thus being prepared to reorient work as required and identifying the wider, unsuspected implications of a policy proposal.

I could not recommend studying at the University of Edinburgh enough. University of Edinburgh’s focus on excellence and professional and personal development has prepared me to undertake high-quality and thorough research at pace and weigh up conflicting evidence effectively to provide reliable and impactful quality advice that has an impact on the lives of many across the country and territories of the Crown. University of Edinburgh has made me confident, and I will be forever grateful to the University of Edinburgh where I have learnt so much. Not only regarding improving my writing, communication, and research skills but also in terms of gaining useful soft skills and building lifetime relationships with people from all walks of life across the world.

What advice would you give current Edinburgh Law School students?

My advice to current and future students would be not just to seek every opportunity to excel but most importantly to take the time to build effective relationships with their fellow students and staff and be curious about what is happening outside of the university. The University of Edinburgh offers a great deal of opportunities to meet the world and get involved in the life of the university, city, and beyond. I encourage students to go out of their comfort zones and seek to improve their own and their fellows’ experiences and seek an interest in the work that EUSA does.