How I became a Law Teacher – Colleen Smith

How I became a Law Teacher – Colleen Smith

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Colleen Smith

Colleen Smith is Head of Undergraduate programmes at Nottingham Law School

My first interest in the law, didn’t come from studying A levels but from a business course! When I left school I did not want to take traditional A Levels , I wanted to undertake a practical business course as I wanted to work in retail management. I therefore under took a BTEC in Business Studies. Law was part of this course and It sparked an interest, so much so I did A level  Law as an additional qualification. After leaving college, I began my career in retail management and became a trainee manager in a very large department store. Law still interested me and I took on various projects within the store writing about and advising on consumer rights and retailers responsibilities.

 

The law had me hooked so I studied for an LLB on a part-time basis whilst still working full time. Upon completion of my degree, I wanted a change of direction from retailing but was still unsure what I wanted to do. My lack of career direction coincided with a change in personal circumstances and a move from the North to the South of the country. A post was advertised for a Senior Consumer Advisor for East Sussex County Council, I applied and got the job. This job entailed being responsible for all the civil consumer advice throughout East Sussex and the Training of Citizens Advice Bureaux workers. I travelled throughout the coastal towns and little villages of East Sussex, dispensing consumer advice, representing clients in small claims courts and training many CAB workers. It was the training of the advice workers that introduced me to my first taste of teaching and I loved it.

 

After a couple of years of bombing around beautiful countryside in my little car, I was tempted by the Bar (that’s not unusual!) and decided I wanted to become a barrister.

I therefore joined Inner Temple, ate 24 dinners did the Bar exams and was called to the Bar. I worked in London for a while, but missed my northern roots. I remembered my days in East Sussex, training the CAB workers and began to seriously consider the prospect of Higher Education teaching. I applied speculatively to four Universities in the Manchester/Sheffield area and was interviewed and appointed to a temporary lecturing post at Sheffield Hallam University. I then spent more years than I’d like to admit at Hallam, in many different roles, designing and creating various modules, courses and programmes and switching from a civil lawyer to a criminal lawyer!

 

I joined Nottingham Law School in January 2013. Teaching and working with students has been the highlight of my career so far, I find it rewarding, satisfying, challenging and stimulating. I never thought at 18 when embarking on my business studies course that I would end up being a Law Teacher but as Andre Gide said ”The most decisive actions of our life…are often the most unconsidered actions”.

Colleen Smith

Head of Undergraduate Programmes

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