I am an Associate Lecturer with the Faculty of Business and Law. I have been teaching W111 (‘Criminal Law and the Courts’), W112 (‘Civil Justice and Tort Law’), W240 (‘Business and Employment’) inclusive of SISE students for the respective modules.
I combine my OU role with other professional practise as a full-time practising criminal barrister in London, doing both prosecution and defence work. I also cover other areas of law which include civil, employment and discrimination law. I am a member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, the Criminal Bar Association and the South Eastern Circuit. My principal area is criminal law.
By combining these roles, and particularly with the flexibility that the OU provides for distance learning, I am able to bring a practitioner focus to my teaching and build a bridge between academic study and the practice of law.
My journey through the law is somewhat atypical. I enrolled on a third year Romantic Poetry module with the OU many years ago where I attended a one-week summer skill at the University of Bath. After completing this module, I was invited to give a radio interview in Manchester of my experience with the OU, the opportunities and challenges ahead and the delights of successfully completing a third level Romantic Poetry module. This module excited my interest in the OU where I eventually read English Literature as my first degree.
Subsequently, whilst doing charitable voluntary work with the Citizens Advice Bureau, this created my interest in law where I completed a master's degree in Socio-Legal Studies with an emphasis upon Mentally Disordered Offenders within the Criminal Justice System.
Again, working within charitable organisations dealing with clients with severe mental health problems and clients living with HIV/aids developed my interest in training for the Bar. With some work in local government dealing with housing, employment and homelessness cases, I eventually undertook and completed the law conversation programme and the Bar programme, qualified as a Barrister and was called to the Bar as a mature student. What this suggest is that there are different routes to entering the legal profession with a great deal of flexibility.
Many undergraduate law students will be wondering whether they have left it too late to enter the Legal profession. May I say that it is never too late. If you are determined enough, disciplined enough and committed enough, the legal profession is wide enough to accommodate all ages. To give one example, I was against a barrister in court who completed her undergraduate law degree with the OU much later in life and we had the opportunity to discuss our respective journeys.
A degree in law, or a combined degree, will provide you with the knowledge and skills applicable for you to pursue a career in the legal profession, in whatever form that takes. If it is not a career in law, the skills that you will develop are, indeed, transferable skills which are marketable with business, companies and whatever employment field you decide to go into.
Above all, enjoy what you do in the challenges that studying law will present and the journey ahead!