Graduate Profiles

Former law students with careers in the legal and non-legal professions.

Barrister alumni | Solicitor alumni | Alumni working outside the UK | Alumni outside the legal profession

Barrister alumni

Michael Humphries QC Inner Temple

Why you chose to study Law?

As a prospective undergraduate in the 1970s it was the intellectual discipline of the law that first attracted me. I also came to realise that, like almost no other career, the law allows you to specialise in almost any aspect of human endeavour. Lawyers specialise in media law, commercial law, human rights law, criminal law, shipping law or, in my case, planning law. Many law students actually practice as solicitors or barristers in private practice, but many go into other careers with the intellectual rigour that a law degree brings. Leicester, for me, had the balance of having both a top law department and a more intimate scale than some other universities.

What you have done since graduation?

I was called to the bar in 1982 and specialised in town and country planning law. I became Queen’s Counsel in 2003 and a master of the bench of the Inner Temple (one of the four Inns of Court) in 2010.

I have been involved in promoting some of the largest development schemes ever, including projects such as Heathrow, Terminal 5 and, currently, the Thames Tunnel project. I have lectured extensively at seminars and written numerous articles and a book.

Any other comments about your time at Leicester?

I had a great time at Leicester and would thoroughly recommend it; indeed, I met my wife at Leicester!

Solicitor alumni

Rachel Buckley, Banner Jones Solicitors

I chose to study law as I like problem solving and enjoy arguing!

Studying law at Leicester exceeded my expectations- a small and friendly faculty with some great characters on the teaching staff and all the support and input whenever I needed it. It sounds cliché but they were some of the best years of my life.

Since graduation I studied at the Inns of Court School of Law in London and then undertook pupillage and my first years in general practice at the Bar in Leicester. I went on to obtain dual qualification as a solicitor and after cutting my teeth in a high street practice in Hinckley I chose to specialise in serious and complex crime moving to work in Nottingham in 1996. I worked in defending some high profile fraud cases involving large volumes of material. I have in the last few years concentrated on professional disciplinary work helping medical and other professionals whose registrations and reputations are on the line when faced with allegations of misconduct inside or outside of work . I am now based at a firm in Derbyshire.

Whilst University is only the start- getting a good start is vital. It has never been tougher to get a foot on the ladder in any career and I am grateful to Leicester for the skills and experiences my time there provided and that have guided me well so far

Carlton Daniel, Senior Associate Squire Sanders Hammonds (LLB Law, 1997–2000)

I came to the University of Leicester through the clearing admissions process. Although I hadn't initially planned to study there, I was really pleased with my decision to take up a place at Leicester. I was on Union Council and later was elected to the Steering Committee and in my final year I was elected as the Chair of the Union.  I got involved with the Law Society, mooting and I also worked in the hall kitchens, as a university tour guide and in an off licence.  Christian Union was a great source of support too. There were a fair few trips around the country with the Clubbing Society. It was great to get so immersed in student life, I made lifelong friends and thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student.

After graduating, since I had secured a training contract with Wragge & Co, they funded the Legal Practice Course, which I undertook at Nottingham Law School.  I then worked for a charity in Mexico for 6 months before starting with Wragge & Co in March 2002.  I practice intellectual property law, with a focus on advertising and media law work. I left Wragge & Co in 2008 for my current firm, Squire Sanders Hammonds, to focus more closely on specialised advertising law advice. I have been listed in the Legal 500 and now Chambers & Partners as a leading advisor in this sector. I have lived and worked in London for 8 years and as a Senior Associate at a large international firm I'm looking forward to the next stage of my career.

The University of Leicester was an excellent springboard and foundation from which to launch my legal career.  The quality of the research and teaching, combined with the vibrant student life is second to none in my view.

Colin Ettinger, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors (LLB Law, 1972–1975)

I chose law because an older cousin had been studying it and I discovered from him what an interesting subject it is. I had a fantastic time at Leicester University.  I remember it really well. I also very much enjoyed the law course. I

I qualified as a solicitor in 1978 on completion of my Articles. I worked for a very large firm called Robin Thompson & Partners, now called Thompsons, who acted for Trade Unions. The vast majority of my work was doing personal injury cases for injured workers.  I became a partner in 1978 and then moved on to set up the London office of Irwin Mitchell with two of my colleagues in 1995.

There were 5 of us at the time and now we have a personal injury office of about 200 people. I head the personal injury team in London. Irwin Mitchell’s personal injury department is regarded as one of the best in the country and the department in London is similarly regarded.

I have been a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since it began. I was their President in 2004, I am now a Senior Fellow, there are only 10 in the country

I look back on my time at Leicester University with great affection.   I also know that the education I received there provided me with an excellent grounding for my law career.

Julian Hawkhead, Managing Partner at Stowe Family Law (LLB Law, 1993 – 1996)

What you have done since graduation?

I am a Managing Partner at Stowe Family Law based in the firm’s Leeds office where I manage a team of specialist divorce and family law solicitors. My first appointment was as a trainee working at Grahame Stowe Bateson as part of Marilyn Stowe’s team in Leeds. In the summer of 2000 I qualified as a family solicitor and later became part of the firm’s specialist private client family law team, moving to what is now the head office in Harrogate. In 2007 I became a founding partner of Stowe Family Law LLP helping to set up the firm which started out with a single office in Harrogate and later became the UK’s largest specialist family law firm which now has 8 offices all over the country.

As well as overseeing the office, I advise clients throughout the country and across Europe on all matters of family law. I am a member of Resolution and a recognised specialist in complex Financial and Property Matters. Furthermore, I have a wealth of experience in performing mediation am a member of the Family Mediators Association and was highlighted in Legal 500 for my pragmatic approach to cases, putting the clients’ best interests first.

I take an approach that takes all factors into consideration, particularly when children are involved to try and ensure that the outcome best serves the needs of the child. I am a qualified collaborative lawyer and have received recognition from Chamber and Partners for my negotiating skills.

See Julian’s Linkedin profile for further information.

Why did you choose to study law?

I find the diversity of law and the impact it has on society and even worldwide affairs to be very interesting. The reason I gravitated towards Family law however was the opportunity to work with people on a one on one basis and help them at a very difficult time in their lives. I also enjoyed the programme LA Law (we are talking about the early 90’s) though I have to say the glamour of the profession is a myth!

What are your thoughts on Leicester University and your time there?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Leicester. It was a fabulous campus and the law school had great facilities although we are talking about a time when some research was conducted using microfiche! The city is a great place, I have had the opportunity to return to the city and I can see that it has changed significantly in the last 20 years.
What advice would you give to current students considering a career in law?

Study hard but also try your utmost to find placements in the legal profession whether in a solicitors office or with a barrister on a mini-pupillage. The more experience of different areas of law, the easier it will be to work out what interests you the most.

Ed Nisbett, SNR Denton (LLB Law with French, 2006–2009)

I chose to study law because I was attracted by the intellectual challenge and the prestige of it. Studying law also offers a clear career path and opportunities for progression that some other degrees don't. I chose Law with French because I wanted to carry on studying a language. Being able to speak another language really helps you connect with other people and gives you a greater understanding of that culture. Plus, the course gave me a chance to be a student for an extra year in France!

It was the open day that made me chose Leicester. The campus had friendly and sociable feel to it. I remember it was a sunny day which made a big difference walking around the Oadby halls and their grounds. After visiting Leicester, it was easy for me to imagine living and studying there. I also reasoned that a city with two universities should be used to students and I was affected by the large selection of pubs, clubs and kebab shops!

During my time at Leicester I was, at various times, President of the French Law Society (twice), the Law Society's Academic Rep on Union Council and on the Elections and Rules Committee of Union Council. I also played football for Stamford Hall, the Law Society and the French Law Society. Without a doubt I would not be where I am today without getting involved with these organisations. They gave me a wealth of experience to put on my CV and to talk about in job interviews. I got my name known around the Law School which is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to asking for job references. Above all though, I had a lot of fun by fulfilling these roles and met a lot of good friends.

After graduating in 2009 I moved to London to complete my LPC at the College of Law in Moorgate. In September 2010 I started my training contract with SNR Denton (formerly Denton Wilde Sapte). I am in my second seat and currently am on secondment in Dubai.

My time at Leicester has helped me enormously. Obviously I needed to do the degree to become a solicitor (albeit a trainee at the moment) but I gained so much more from my time there. There is so much to do and get involved with either through the Law Society, other clubs and societies, halls or just generally with your friends. My time at Leicester gave me the opportunity to learn and develop many skills that, not only attracted employers, but also helped me develop as a person.

My final thought is that if I had not have studied Law with French at the University of Leicester I would probably be unemployed (certainly not in as a trainee solicitor) today. I can think of no higher praise than that.

Mark Warren, Allen and Overy (LLB Law, 2003–2007)

At this moment in time, I am about to embark on the first seat of my training contract at magic circle firm Allen & Overy in London, but the route I’ve taken to get here has been a little different from what you might normally hear, all thanks to the opportunities given to me by my law degree at the University of Leicester.

For me, Leicester was always my first choice destination, for several reasons. Firstly, the city itself is an excellent place where you can focus on studying hard and playing hard; very green and student friendly. Secondly, the top-draw reputation of the law school and its academic staff, many of whom literally wrote the book on the courses you’ll be studying, was impossible to ignore. The friendliness and expertise of the staff was invaluable to me and, in my opinion, they don’t often enough get the credit they deserve.

The third big factor for me that a law degree at Leicester has over many other universities, are the opportunities that it will open up to you. There are so many ways to get involved and do things you never thought you could, and I’m not just talking about the countless groups, clubs, societies, teams, competitions and various other social networks on offer.

I spent my third year, for example, at the University of Copenhagen on the Erasmus exchange programme, where I studied Masters level courses in International Energy Law, Environmental Law, Human Rights Law and the Law of Armed Conflicts, among others, living with scores of international students and opening my eyes to a world of new possibilities. A time I still look back on fondly as the most enjoyable year of my life so far.

I was also lucky enough to be selected to represent the University at the International Student Conference on ‘Global Citizenship and International Security in the context of Climate Change’, at the University of Hiroshima, Japan. This was a two week, all expenses paid, student conference designed to coincide with the anniversary of the A-bomb that hit Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945, and another example of the great opportunities open to you with a law degree at Leicester.

Following graduation I went to live in Mexico for three years, having started learning Spanish during my final year at Leicester. I was able to find a job as an intern in the Environmental and Natural Resources department of a Mexico City commercial law firm.

With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve no doubt that if it weren’t for me making the most of the opportunities presented to me during my Leicester law degree I wouldn’t be in this position now and I wouldn’t have had the incredible experiences that I’ve been fortunate to enjoy. I also have no doubt that, because of those experiences, I’ll be able to handle anything that the world of corporate law throws my way in the future. So, my advice, is just to take advantage of all the opportunities that are thrown at you at Leicester and don’t look back.

Philip Henson, Bargate Murray (LLB Law, 1997–2000 )

The reason I chose to study law at Leicester (apart from the excellent reputation of the law department) is that from the moment that I set foot on the campus on an open day I found everyone to be incredibly friendly, and welcoming.

Outside of my studies I used to enjoy presenting shows on the student radio station (LUSH FM), and writing the occasional music review for the student newspaper (Ripple) which has helped my professional career as I am now often asked to appear as an employment law expert on BBC News 24 and Sky News. I have also written several articles in the national and legal press, including the Guardian newspaper, the Employment Law Journal and the Solicitors Journal (where I blogged on employment law). I also write my own employment law blog

I found that top tier law firms (and other professional organisations, such as accountancy and consultancy firms) were always delighted to be invited to our careers fairs and student balls as Leicester was (and still is) known as a friendly place to visit - and as everyone knows that law society parties are the best on campus! I was involved with the student law society, serving as both Vice President and President. The vibrant and helpful student law society, and the excellent legal careers service (organised by senior encouraged me to apply for vacation placements and training contracts with commercial law firms in London; and that arduous process did not put me off!

I am now a partner, and the head of employment law, at commercial law firm Bargate Murray in London.

The partners are innovators in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and all members of Bargate Murray continue to further the vision of the partners not only to provide excellent legal services to our clients but to also contribute to, and help, the wider community. Part of our CSR focus involves supporting academic institutions and students, and Bargate Murray was delighted to sponsor the University of Leicester School of Law moot team, who competed at the Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

Looking back I appreciate how the academic staff supplied students with diverse reading lists extending to legal theory, philosophy, sociology, and legal anthropology; enabling students to develop their own interests and to help us to understand the law in its social, cultural, and political context. I was recently very honoured to be invited back to Leicester to present a guest lecture (on the University of Leicester LLM in Employment Law programme) discussing the thought-provoking subject of religion and beliefs in the work place.

Nigel Pullen (LLB Law, 1980–1983)

I chose the Law Faculty at Leicester in part because a number of older pupils from the Royal Latin School in Buckingham had read Law at Leicester and were very complimentary about the course and the Faculty was held in high regard by the profession. Four of us from the RLS went to Leicester together, one changed his course, three of us graduated in 1977 with Law Degrees and two of us went on to practice law. I left Leicester to go to the college of law in Chester followed by 2 years Articles with a firm in London.

I was admitted in 1980 and started my first job as an assistant solicitor with a firm in Exeter. I did two years there before deciding to return to London for more commercial law experience with a City Practice.

In 1984 I moved to Cornwall where I'd kept a base and joined a small practice with a promise of a great future. That didn't happen. In September 1985 I had to make a decision - go back to Exeter or try and set up my own Practice in a part of the country I really loved. In October 1985 I opened an office in Perranporth and boasted one client! 26 years later the Practice is a very successful business with a second office in Truro having become an LLP in October last year.

My time at Leicester seemed to pass very quickly and I'm sure much has changed over the years but I am aware that the faculties standards remain high and it continues to enjoy a good reputation for producing quality graduates.

Femi Ogunshakin, Director, Loftus Stowe Ltd

What it was like to study at Leicester?

Great! The course provided me with the opportunity to meet other like-minded professionals. Most, if not all of, the lecturers were practicing lawyers i.e. barristers, solicitors, as well as academics and this made for some very interesting debates during tutorials as differing student (and lecturers) gave way to the enthusiasm of their respective positions. The course was stretching but extremely rewarding and I although was pleased the course was over and proud to have graduated, I missed the friendships I had formed over the duration of the course.

What you have done since graduation?

A year after graduating from Leicester, I left the bank, and having successfully (finally) obtained a training contract, I qualified as a solicitor and have gone on to work as both an employment lawyer and a tax lawyer in Birmingham and more recently closer to home in South Yorkshire.

Any other comments about your time here?

Leicester was the first academic institution I attended in which I got more than I bargained for! I honesty set out to broaden my horizon in terms of the relationship between the law, the tax system and employees. What I ended up with was a great education but I also made a number of extremely beneficial relationships, most of whom I remain in touch with. I think it would be fair to say that Leicester deserves all the recent accolades bestowed upon it by current and former students. In my view, there are a great number of universities in the UK, but there is only one Leicester School of Law!

Alumni working outside the UK

Cavan Reiley, Whitre and Case LLP Beijing (LLB Law, 2006–2009)

When I was actually at Leicester, the course was engaging and the lecturers passionate. The law itself was well taught and there was never a problem seeking support from the tutors. The particularity of the French law and language aspect to the course however was what made my course at Leicester even more interesting. I can’t speak more highly of the French law tutors at Leicester who continue to drive the course and make it one of the most attractive of its kind in the UK. The best part of the course however was the ability to study at a French university. I spent one of the best years of my life in StrasbourgLeicester however is about so much more than the degree. Despite the great academic base that Leicester provides, it is the social life and atmosphere among the students which made my time at university so enjoyable. Not being as large as some of the other Universities with which Leicester competes academically means that Leicester breeds a real feeling of community among its student body. What I believe made me stand out as a candidate when applying for jobs was not only the results, but the fact that I was able to compete in debating and mooting competitions, be a part of various societies (ski and snowboard, tennis, rugby to name a few) and have a role in student politics (I was on student council in my final year). It is these aspects which helped shape me as an individual and have again provided me with some of my closest friends.

When I graduated I already had a job lined up at White & Case LLP. During the summer of my penultimate year at university I applied for a variety of work placement schemes among a handful of law firms. I undertook the three schemes for which I received offers: DLA Piper, Herbert Smith and White & Case. Following graduation I attended the College of Law, Guildford where I had a great year and even organised the College ski trip, utilising the knowledge I gained from being on the Leicester University Ski and Snowboard Club committee in my second year. building.Currently I am doing bank finance in Beijing for 6 months and in my next seat I will be doing asset finance in Tokyo for 6 months. The opportunity to work and live in China and Japan, which ordinarily I may never have had the opportunity to visit, is incredible. I feel very lucky and without a doubt the platform that Leicester provided for me was fundamental in giving me, and preparing me for, this opportunity. It’s never certain the direction your future will take, but Leicester has provided me with a key stepping stone along the path to it.

Ahmed Butt (LLB Law, 1999)

Why you chose to study Law and why you chose to study at Leicester?

I chose to study Law as I had identified my natural strengths in the humanities, essay writing and debating, all of which form key elements of legal studies. I chose Leicester based on its consistent top 10 law school ranking but I had also identified the Law School's relationships with major law firms as an ideal platform for my intended career as an international corporate or finance lawyer.

What it was like to study here?

I have fond memories of the Law School. My tutors and professors were all well-known experts in their fields, yet very approachable - that made it a prestigious but very collegiate environment to study in.  The Law School library is second to none and the Law Society's extra-curricular activities provided a social outlet as well as opportunities to network with potential employers.

What you have done since graduation?

After graduation, I studied for the Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (on a scholarship) and then trained at a major law firm to complete my legal qualifications. I am admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales and have worked at international law firms in London and Dubai as a banking and finance lawyer. I currently live and work in Dubai as a specialist in the niche area of Islamic Finance with a prestigious global law firm. I have authored articles and participated in international conferences as an expert on legal issues relating to Islamic Finance.

Any other comments about your time here?

The Law School's career guidance and support, as well as its relationships with major law firms, were key in helping me to secure my career well before the completion of my LLB.  In my second year of Law School, following six internships at international law firms, a mini-pupillage in England's largest barristers' chambers and a tax internship at one of the "Big Four" accountancy firms, I was selected for a scholarship to study the Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice and a training contract with a major law firm.

Andrew Kidd (Legal Director, Specsavers)

I attended Leicester University and studied Law between 1987 to graduation with llb Law (hons) in 1990.  I chose to study law basically because it seemed a good degree to do.  At school I had wanted to be a journalist but a legal career seemed a potentially better way of upholding the truth!  Leicester appealed to me as a University as it was mainly campus based, was close to the city centre and had a good reputation for law (and it took General Studies as one of your A levels).

After graduating with a 2:1 degree including being awarded the Company Law prize, I attended The College of Law at Chester and passed the Solicitors Finals Examination (First Class Honours) in 1991.  I immediately joined Hepworth & Chadwick (now Eversheds) in Leeds and completed my articles in 1993, qualifying as a solicitor in Eversheds company/commercial department at the end of that year.  After two years PQE, I joined Truman Bodden & Co (now Higgs & Johnson) in the Cayman Islands and was admitted as an Attorney at Law (Cayman Islands) in July 2006.  After two years in the Caribbean, I returned to Eversheds as a senior solicitor specialising in Corporate Law.

However, as long ago as 1989, I had wanted to work for a company and Professor Fawcett, my then personal tutor at Leicester having guided me on my possible career options. I finally took the plunge in 2000 and joined the legal team at Boots.  This was a fantastic experience and included being involved in the sale of Halfords and Boots Healthcare International as well as the merger of Boots and Alliance Unichem to form Alliance Boots.  After 6 years with Boots I decided to join Specsavers as its Director of Legal in 2006, finding myself once again living and working on a small island (Guernsey).  Specsavers is a vibrant, dynamic and growing company and provides a great place for a commercially minded lawyer to continue to develop and grow with an excellent in house team.

Alumni outside the legal profession

Norman Lamb MP

I took the LLB course at Leicester University.  I actually arrived at Leicester through the clearing system!  I came to do a Social Sciences degree in 1976.  During the first year I made enquiries about transferring to law and was told that I could do so if I secured a 2.1 grade in my first year exams.  I duly met this standard and transferred to law.  This meant starting again and so my law degree course was from 1977 through to 1980.  I secured a 2.1 degree at the end of the course.

I had become very interested in law and had spent time doing some work experience with a local solicitor in Norwich.  I decided that I would be better off studying law at University, rather than completing a Social Sciences degree and then spending two years (that was the system in those days) at law school.  I really enjoyed my time at Leicester University.  In my final year I became President of the University Law Society.

I stood for Parliament in 1992 and 1997 before being elected in 2001 for North Norfolk.  My first job in Parliament was as a junior International Development Spokesman for the Liberal Democrats.  I then went on to the Treasury Select Committee, in my first term in Parliament and joined the Treasury team under Vince Cable.

When I was re-elected in 2005 I became the Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.  Subsequently I became Chief of Staff to Sir Ming Campbell when he was leader.  I then was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Health – a position I held until the 2010 General Election. Following this election, I was appointed as Parliamentary and Political Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and became an Assistant Government Whip.

Karthik Ravi, Consultant, Enterprise Risk Services Deloitte LLP

Why you chose to study Law

I wanted to pursue an intellectually challenging degree which would give me strong analytical skills and an ability to simplify complex information into a digestible form. Since I have a keen interest in politics at a legislative level; law seemed to be the perfect degree. Law is fast paced, ever-changing to the needs of society and inherently interdisciplinary, making the subject interesting and highly relevant.

What it was like to study at Leicester/What have you been doing since?

The law school at the University of Leicester is truly unique in terms of its course offerings and approach to teaching law. For example, studying elements of critical legal theory in ‘Law and Political Theory’ during my third year was highly enjoyable;  combining politics, philosophy and law into a truly fascinating course which involved many debates in tutorials.

In addition to this; I competed in the Client Interviewing and Negotiation competitions that gave me practical business skills which prospective employers valued highly. During my time at Leicester; I approached some of the best law firms in the world at Leicester law fair and was able to secure 4 vacation schemes at ‘Top 20 Law firms’. However once delving into the world of professional services; I realised that there were many alternative careers to commercial law, which I found to be more interesting and suitable.

I spent a year in industry in a London digital marketing agency, which began to develop my interest in IT. However whilst researching careers; I was fascinated by enterprise risk management, especially within the context of IT and hence chose to apply to the Enterprise Risk Services division at Deloitte. The analytical and communication skills which my law degree gave me were directly applicable and have been imperative to my current role. The variety of work and clients at Deloitte has been truly outstanding. I hit the ground running from day one, having direct contact with top clients.  I work in teams conducting SAP implementations, compliance reviews and IT controls testing.  My work is extremely diverse, global and is highly valued by our clients.

Carole Wigley, Freeth Cartwright HR Manager (LLB Law, 1976–1979)

I came to Leicester University in October 1976 to study Law. I was the first in my family to attend University and I had no idea what to expect! I moved into Digby Hall and quickly realised that life at University was going to suit me. I was part of a number of University societies and got involved in the University theatre as a stage-hand. I didn't choose to study law with a view to qualifying into the profession rather I wanted to study a degree that would enable me to work in a business environment on graduation. However in my second year everyone seemed to be applying for Law School and so I did that as well and the decision to become a solicitor was made. I graduated in 1979 with an LLB (Honours) and went from Leicester to Guildford College of Law to do my professional exams. I was fortunate to obtain articles in a small Birmingham firm and on qualification joined Wells & Hind, Solicitors in Nottingham. I became a partner in 1986. In 1989 Wells & Hind became the Nottingham office of Evershed & Tomkinson and later Eversheds. In 1997, I decided to take a short career break to settle my two children into school and in 2000 joined Freeth Cartwright Solicitors as their HR Manager. I am now in charge of a team of HR specialists and we have 500 staff over 9 locations. Amongst other things I spend quite a bit of my time interviewing graduates for training contracts.  In my spare time I am a governor of an F E College and I Chair an Academy Trust. I also sit on the Law Society Education and Training Committee

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