Solicitor appointed to lead law school

Rosemary Evans is in red suit with smile

Rosemary Evans, has been appointed as the Dean of Staffordshire University’s Law School.

Rosemary, herself a graduate of Staffordshire University, is delighted to have landed the top job in the Law School where she has worked for 14 years.

Building on the School’s enviable reputation for the quality of its degrees and Legal Practice Course, Rosemary is keen to explore new opportunities.

“My focus has always been relevance and building on our existing strengths we need to be developing more programmes that play to the strengths of the employment market.

“What we are developing in our students are very strong skills and employability strands and we are seeking more links with employers - not just legal firms but businesses with a strong legal relevance.”

The 48-year-old from Stafford first qualified as a solicitor in 1985 and continued in practice in North Staffordshire until 2002.

She said: “I practised in most areas of law over the years but later specialised in property, family and probate. I was a typical high street practitioner and when the post of Assistant Course Director for the Legal Practice Course came up I thought it was a fantastic opportunity as I’d be teaching what I did in practice.”

“During my practice life I’d also retained my links with the University as the happiest years of my life were when I was a student here.”

Rosemary joined Staffordshire University at the inception of the LPC in 1993 and has played a lead role in developing it. Staffs now also runs two part-time courses alongside the full time course which has resulted in a 50 per cent rise in student numbers in an increasingly competitive market.

Part of the course success is due to a student/practitioner mentoring scheme – where a student is attached to a practitioner - which was set up by Rosemary in 1995 and which now has more than 70 solicitors acting as mentors.

“This has given students some wonderful opportunities,” explained Rosemary “and as they’ve gone out into practice, many have come back on board as mentors.”

After becoming Course Director in 2001, Rosemary led the course to achieve the Law Society’s “Excellent” rating - ranking it among the top five providers in the country.

“This really was a stunning achievement - and is a position we’ve maintained with a maximum six Commendable Practice ratings in the most recent assessment.”

In 2004 Rosemary left Staffs to take up a high profile position of Manager of Quality and Standards for Legal Education and Training with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, formerly the Law Society.

“The job was concerned with managing the quality assurance of legal education for students from the time they finished schooling until their qualification as solicitors in addition to the CPD and professional accreditation schemes authorised by the Law Society and undertaken by practitioners. What I learnt in the job has given me huge insight to bring back here.”

“We are in a difficult market as a number of commercial providers have now been given degree awarding powers. The University is surrounded by big providers but we maintain a very strong base because of our reputation for high standards and friendliness. The Law School building itself is also a phenomenal asset with its dedicated law library, mock court rooms and purpose built suite of practice offices.”

The Law School is also leading the way in delivering the new two-year fast track degree – with the first cohort set to graduate this September.

Rosemary said: “It’s a wonderful development and fills a need in the market – particularly for mature students.”

For more information, telephone Senior Press Officer Maria Scrivens on 01785 353401.