University of Nottingham Law School: Where experts produce experts

Maria Jose Flores Amescua from Mexico had already gained a solid legal education and four years of work experience from a prominent law firm before she realised she was ready for more. During her studies, she remembered hearing of an enriching exchange programme between her institution and the University of Nottingham. Hence her decision to pursue an LLM at its School of Law.

“The UK system, in general, is completely different from the one I was used to back home — the teaching style, the mindset, everything is unlike what I knew, and that made my experience really special as it forced me out of my comfort zone,” Flores shares.

This is precisely the kind of impact the School of Law aims to have on its students. Ranked by the 2023 QS World University Rankings amongst the world’s top 90, the School is a recognised centre of teaching and research excellence — and for good reason. Here, aspiring lawyers are uniquely encouraged to craft a master’s degree that best suits their interests.

The Law (Master of Laws) LLM, for example, features over 30 modules covering a wide range of topics that relate to international criminal law, European law, criminal justice and human rights law. Those keen on specialising can choose from an array of comprehensive options.

Students can control their career direction through general or specialised postgraduate pathways. Source: School of Law, University of Nottingham

The Human Rights Law LLM nurtures full-spectrum human rights advocates. The International Criminal Justice and Armed Conflict LLM  develops experts in issues and modern challenges on the law and politics surrounding war and justice. Meanwhile, contenders for positions in business, government and international law practice or related professions are made with the International Commercial Law LLM, the Public Procurement Law and Policy LLM, the International Law and Development LLM, the International Law LLM and the Public International Law LLM, respectively.

All modules are cutting-edge, as confirmed by Olympia Bekou, Professor of Public International Law and Head of School. “We focus on legal analysis and policy issues and also the future member’s specialist subjects, incorporating their ongoing research and consultancies,” she shares.

The discoveries Bekou speaks of are made across six research centres — all of which house elite legal scholars at the cutting edge of global legal research. Hence why according to the Research Excellence Framework 2021 results, 85% of the School of Law’s research was ranked as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”.

Within each space, scholars partner with policymakers, international organisations, and civil society, among others, on meaningful projects. The Criminal Justice Research Centre spearheads efforts to conduct world-leading research and scholarship in the criminal justice field. The Nottingham International Law and Security Centre develops thinking around many challenges society faces today, including climate change, food security, and cybersecurity. The best part is that every insight is brought into the classroom, thanks to the fact that researchers double as dedicated educators.

Paul Torremans: Source: School of Law, University of Nottingham

Paul Torremans is one of them. The co-director of the Commercial Law Centre is also a Professor of Intellectual Property Law, but that’s not all. He’s been a consultant for the European Union in Albania and Kosovo, building their IP systems. He’s also worked with international law firms, leading cases in the European Patent Office Boards of Appeal on the right of priority and with the US courts on cross-border aspects of using copyright materials on board aircraft flying en route to the US. “I really enjoy passing the experience I gain in practice on to my students,” he says.

LLM students broaden their horizons beyond classrooms, too. With over 300 student groups to choose from, they can easily identify new passions, hobbies and interests. Options include the Law Society, Bar Society, Pro Bono Society, Mooting Society, the European Law Students’ Association, or even contributions to the Advocate Magazine.

These student societies have regularly topped the LawCareers Student Law Society awards for outstanding efforts in specific categories. For example, the Pro Bono Society — the largest of its kind in the UK — was recognised as the best pro bono society in 2020 and 2021.

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