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Law Teacher of the Year Award

Above and beyond

With the Law Teacher of the Year award for 2022 currently progressing through it's second stage, we invite you to find out more about each finalist, and why they were seen to go above and beyond in the eyes of the judges. Read their full profiles below for an insight into each candidate.

With a wealth of extraordinary candidates to choose from, the judges had no easy task selecting just six to be shortlisted. We’d like to offer our congratulations to each shortlisted candidate, and many thanks to all the students, colleagues, and Heads of Department who put their time and effort into all the nominations and interviews during the awards second stage.

To find out who will be crowned Law Teacher of the Year for 2022, join us in person at our annual Celebrating Excellence in Law Teaching conference this summer. Tickets are now available for the conference, visit the Celebrating Excellence in Law Teaching page for more information.

Follow the award as it progresses by visiting this page, and follow #ltoty on Twitter. For any questions regarding the award, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us at helaw.uk@oup.com.

ExpandCloseAdam Shaw-Mellors

Adam Shaw-MellorsAdam Shaw-Mellors is a Senior Lecturer at Aston University, where he teaches commercial law, international commercial law, and legal system and skills, and was the law school’s first Director of Employability.

"When I was a law student at Aston, I had a teacher who believed in me and supported my development.  I am committed to doing the same; helping, wherever possible, my students to fulfil their wonderful potential."

Adam’s nomination by two colleagues described how Aston students come from backgrounds typically underrepresented in higher education and don’t respond well to traditional teaching methods.  They went on to describe how Adam’s ability to “understand the dynamic” with students, understand the best way forward for their development and having the “courage and dedication” to follow through on that understanding provides a “uniquely uplifting” educational experience. To his nominators he is “without compare”.

Titled as a “true champion” for his students and a “genuine mentor” for their development, Adam provides extra time for students to help their understanding of key concepts and bonds with them using music - key element in his teaching.

Adam has also led various initiatives across Aston Law School, including the university’s largest mentoring programme which links students with professionals, and the mooting competitions. Adam’s colleagues praised him for the way he builds his students’ confidence; pushing them out of their comfort zones but providing the right framework to allow the process to be beneficial. Adam designs, considers, and selects external partners to participate in this unique “genuine” interaction.

His colleagues pay tribute to Adam as being “genuine as they come, and our students recognise this almost instantly; he is on their side above all else, and it is an exceptionally rare commodity.”

Bringing students closer to the legal world, Adam has developed, and manages the Jill Poole Memorial Lecture Series, (in honour of Adam’s mentor and guide, and former Dean of the Law School, the late Professor Jill Poole); the series plays host to prestigious members of the judiciary and legal profession. The effects on the students are described as “extraordinary” with some left “awe-struck” at the chance to network with powerful individuals from the legal profession. At a university where visits from Supreme Court judges isn’t expected, offering this experience to students is described by Adam’s colleagues as being “truly inspiring”. 

ExpandCloseAndy Unger

Andy UngerAndy Unger is an Associate Professor at London South Bank University, teaching law and technology; comparative law; and international protection of human rights.

"My approach to teaching is collaborative and experiential, with a strong emphasis on social justice and employability…The longer I teach, the more I believe that we learn most from our own mistakes and that the teacher’s role is to provide a safe and constructive environment in which that can happen."

Andy was nominated by two of his colleagues, who opened his nomination by describing him as an “exceptional law teacher, whose approach is not to teach just through theory, but to develop students through practical skills, reflection, cross discipline collaboration and iteration.”

Recognising that his students would be working in a world transformed by digital technologies, Andy introduced an inter-disciplinary Law and Technology module. Students from law and computer science courses work together with real clients to provide technological solutions to real world legal issues. One client fed back how the students “grow in confidence and ability in this unique module”.

Outside of his modules Andy has made use of his network to set up the LSBU Legal Advice Clinic, a drop-in clinic staffed by students, and supervised by practising lawyers. Many LSBU students have no pre-existing links to the legal profession, so their ability to obtain professional work experience is limited. The clinic brings those opportunities ‘in house’ making them available to all. Alongside the clinic is another innovation of Andy’s, a core second year module ‘Working in the Law’ coordinating “an impressive and diverse range” of work placements.

This clinic is an example of how “experiential learning and co-production are at the heart of his pedagogies”. Students find themselves “thrown in right at the deep end” of this experiential learning, providing advice - and as a result some measure of social justice - to its clients.

Andy’s colleagues drew attention to his investment in his local community and how his “striving for social justice” also underpins his teaching. Andy works with local solicitors to offer opportunities for law students; and he has involved local practitioners in planning for the future; including the legal executive route into the degree and planning an SQE facing course. 

ExpandCloseJeffrey Kennedy

Jeffrey KennedyJeffrey Kennedy is a Lecturer in Criminal Law at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches criminal law, evidence, and criminal sentencing.

"My approach to teaching is one that humanises the law, cultivates civic development, and emphasises interaction…I want students to see the law not as some abstract set of rules but as a live force involving real human stories, having impacts on human lives, and being shaped by human values and failings."

Nominated by his Head of Department and Director of Education, Jeffrey’s nomination highlighted his university-wide reputation for “innovative and student-focused” learning.
As part of his module on criminal sentencing, Jeffrey introduced a collaborative podcast project with students. Students interviewed and engaged directly with those within the legal profession, prominent public figures, and individuals who have been marginalised by the criminal justice system.

In piloting Queen Mary’s Project ReMAKE, Jeffrey has also encouraged collaboration between law and business students to work with formerly incarcerated individuals to develop entrepreneurship strategies.

This approach has been praised by Jeffrey’s students, with one naming him as “one of the best lecturers” they’ve had across two degrees, and saying that his lectures are “super engaging and interactive”. These efforts have not gone unrewarded. Jeffrey picked up a President & Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Education and an Education Excellence Award in 2021, and secured nominations by students for multiple Queen Mary’s Students’ Union prizes.

Jeffrey obtained funding for and then guided the Students’ Jury on Pandemic Learning, an initiative described as “deliberative democracy pilot project” through which students advised the School of Law on its management of the Covid-19 pandemic. The students on the jury were “particularly inspired” by the involvement of public health and digital education experts who Jeffrey had arranged to give evidence.

Outside of the classroom, the nomination highlighted Jeffrey’s role in the management of education in the department where he has a “constant focus on student development and student voice”. Jeffrey has served as a member of the Departmental Education Contingency Group for the last couple of years, where his contributions always placed students at the “forefront” of discussions.

Colleagues have hailed Jeffrey’s teaching as being “innovative, empathetic, and above all, effective”, with his commitment to students and having their voices heard as being “truly impressive”.

ExpandCloseMarc Howe

Marc HoweMarc Howe is a Principal Lecturer in Law and University Teaching Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, teaching tort law, evidence, criminal advocacy, and communication skills for lawyers.

"At the heart of my teaching philosophy is the desire to bring the study of law to life combined with a commitment to experiential learning. My teaching seeks to bridge the academic and the professional in the context of the law curriculum and co-curricular activity."

Marc was nominated by a former student (now a practising barrister) and the interim Head of School, who applauded him as an “exceptional communicator” who seeks to foster participation in co-curricular activity in ways which “engage, motivate and inspire” students.

Marc draws on his practitioner experience to add an extra dimension to his modules: arranging live mock trials with barristers; creating a film of a criminal mock trial , used to raise important evidential issues; and developing a coursework assessment in consultation with criminal barristers in which undergraduates draft counsel’s advice on evidence.

“I found this module to be so practical and hands-on in approach. I felt that I could almost reach out and touch the different aspects of the topics, mentally pick them up, turn them over and examine them! It was a bit like taking apart a motor engine and considering the different parts, then reassembling it all again…”

As well as being used in his own modules, one of Marc’s films formed part of a session on course design which he led on the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education. It was also presented at internal teaching training sessions to encourage the development of authentic simulations in academic courses.

Marc has worked with the student body to provide pro bono opportunities for his students and organised competitions for mooting, criminal advocacy and client interviewing. In all these initiatives he has steered his students to success at university, national and international level.

Marc’s “outstanding commitment” has been recognised with the award of a National Teaching Fellowship for his work in the context of experiential learning and co-curricular activity; and the support of his students as individuals was highlighted by winning the ‘Above and Beyond the Call of Duty’ category in the Brookes Students Union Teaching Awards.

Marc has developed a national reputation for his work in the context of co-curricular mooting, courtroom advocacy and client interviewing, sitting on a number of advisory boards. His contribution to the student experience in the context of experiential learning has been recognised through the award of a number of fellowships.

ExpandCloseTamara Hervey

Tammy HerveyTamara Hervey is a Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at City, University of London, where she also teaches legal systems and methods, health law, and applied legal writing and research.

"I firmly believe that teaching should not be considered separate from research. It’s more rewarding to work collaboratively so I am always looking for ways to publish with undergraduate and postgraduate students, to draw them into the joy of legal research and enhance their degree experience."

Tamara was nominated by both a colleague and student, who called her “an outstanding law teacher”, and praised her dedication to helping both students and staff aim for the “highest quality educational experience”. Tamara joined City in April 2021 and set about using her experience to reform the applied legal writing and research module beginning from the point of view of students rather than of structures. She uses the content from modules the students are studying at the same time to bring them through guided learning and reflection aiming to “raise conscious awareness of necessary skills, and to deepen and sharpen them.”

Whether working with large cohorts or teaching smaller sized groups, the nomination drew attention to the various ways in which Tamara interacts with students (whatever the medium) so they are active learners, not passive observers.

“As a student with Asperger’s syndrome I can find university overwhelming… Tammy’s inclusive approach made me feel very comfortable.”

Demonstrating her “reflective approach” to teaching, Tamara also assists tutors at early stages of their careers, where she has been praised as a “very supportive and collaborative” individual.

Tamara has a strong research track record not only in her academic fields but also teaching and research methods. By creating a set of funded internships, Tamara has collaborated with the students and helped them develop “advanced-level research skills”. The student interns praised this opportunity as “incredibly enjoyable and rewarding”, crediting the experience as “invaluable”.

The nomination and Tamara’s own statement placed importance on acknowledging the needs of the individual. Tamara asks herself “what does being a law graduate mean, which skillsets will help students in future? Which stories can I tell to illustrate wider points, such as the need for LGBT+ awareness, code-switching, or challenging one’s own assumptions?”