I have been absolutely delighted and honoured to have been asked to be a visiting Professor at the University of Law (ULaw) and, separately, Honorary Professor at the University of Leicester
The appointment as a Visiting Professor by the University of Law was part of their first ever panel of 11 newly created Visiting Professors. The University of Law is the UK’s longest-established specialist provider of legal education. The professors were chosen for their eminence in their own particular specialisms. They will support the University in various ways including involvement in the University’s recently re-designed Legal Practice Course (LPC), which focuses on assisting students to be successful and secure the employment they seek.
I am the only family lawyer to be appointed. I would like to think it is based on my reputation as one of the world’s leading and innovative family lawyers of this generation. I have been able to share my knowledge and expertise in the field of family law with students who will be the next generation of family lawyers.
I have been asked to give regular keynote lectures to University of Law students, as well as to contribute to the future direction of family law courses and training. I will encourage the “soft” skills needed to be a good family lawyer, in addition to knowing the law. I will be involved in other core activities of the University.
For many years, I have been part of their mentoring scheme. Many of my mentees are now trainees, solicitors and partners, and I continue to do so each year. I undertook my legal training there, at the College of Law (as it was then known until it obtained University status in 2012). For several years, I gave a regular annual lecture to the students of the University on the practical elements of what it means to be a family lawyer. Over the years, I have also produced and presented family law training videos for the University’s LNTV.
Professor Andrea Nollent, Provost and Chief Academic Officer ULaw said: “Our panel of Visiting Professors will take the ULaw LPC to a new level, allowing our graduates to benefit from the expertise of some of the most experienced lawyers in the UK. The panel, in conjunction with all of our tutors and course designers who are all qualified solicitors or barristers with practice experience, will equip our graduates with the skills and confidence making them some of the most stand-out candidates in the job market.”
Then a couple of years later, I was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Leicester. This was a huge surprise and gave me incredible pleasure and professional satisfaction. I started there as a student for my undergraduate law degree in 1972, graduating in 1975. Over recent years I have continued to stay in touch. I give a lecture to the family law course each autumn on international aspects of family law. I’ve been involved in other elements of the family law work of the Law Faculty. Over several years, my firm has awarded a prize to a law student at the University of a two-week expenses paid internship based on the writing of an essay on a matter of topical family law interest. We have been pleased at the very able and resourceful Leicester University students who have been with us. I have been really pleased to be a to give back to my old university for which I owe so much for helping me think through so many aspects of life during my hugely formative three years there
Neither appointment has any impact on my client work or other professional commitments