Nigel Savage: an eye on China
The 136-year-old College of Law has this week transformed into the University of Law, after the UK’s department for Business, Innovation and Skills approved the bid.
With eight centres across England and an annual student body of more than 7,000, the university is one of the largest providers of legal education globally. It shed its charity status last spring when it was bought by London-based investors, Montegu Private Equity, in a £200 million deal.
The University’s chief executive, Professor Nigel Savage, said the move represented a ‘major change in status’ that would enhance its attraction to swathes of potential foreign students. ‘Now that we are a real university, we will be much more recognisable globally,’ commented Prof Savage, pointing out that the ‘college’ title failed to translate well or impress in China.
But Prof Savage maintained the university would not lose sight of its core domestic student base. ‘English law and English law firms are at the heart of today’s global legal framework and cross-border business world. Our students gain world-class, transferable skills, knowledge and qualifications that enhance their CVs and increase their attractiveness to future employers. Having a university title will give further credibility to that and will support their global recognition as future lawyers of the highest calibre.’
The move was welcomed by several top lawyers from London’s magic circle. Commented Allen & Overy senior partner David Morley: ‘It is of vital importance that we have within the UK academic institutions with a global reputation for top quality legal education which encompasses both academic and vocational elements. Having a dedicated University of Law, which builds on the existing strengths of the College of Law, will provide the UK with a national champion able to take on the best legal academic institutions in the world.’