One-stop shop for law - and sweet

August 26, 2005

Name: Jennifer James

Age: Old enough to wish I had started making additional voluntary contributions earlier.

Job: Head of the School of Law, De Montfort University.

Salary: About the same as one of our students will earn three years after graduation, provided they join a top London firm.

What is your background? After degrees at Exeter and Oxford universities I joined Reading University as it began offering law degrees and stayed (ending up as head of school) before moving to DMU in 2004.

What are your working hours? What one might expect for a head of school - very flexible in that if a task needs to be done, one finds time to do it, though I am glad to say I have not yet been called out in the middle of the night to deal with fire alarms or break-ins.

How many staff and students do you work with? About 65 staff and more than 1,000 students with everything from foundation degrees to postgraduates taking masters, both on site and via distance learning. We are a legal one-stop shop.

What has been your biggest challenge this year? A minor one - finding my way round our rather labyrinthine building, solved by time and the posting of numerous "you are here" notices.

What has been your worst moment in university life? Too many "I wish I hadn't said that" moments to list.

What is your office like? It's a decent size with a window but overlooking a rather noisy road.

Which university facilities do you use? I am lucky enough to have a parking space and I have found the presence of a chocolate vending machine in the building rather too tempting.

Do you socialise with people at the university? The family home remains in Reading so I do not socialise much in Leicester but colleagues are a sociable group.

Who have been your most difficult customers? I know one or two colleagues from the past with whom I would not wish to share a desert island.

What is your best excuse for bad behaviour? A fast apology.

Do you interact much with other parts of the university? Yes. Despite being a university where there is considerable devolution to faculties, I seem to be involved with many other departments, if only by sitting on interview panels. I now know much more about drama than I did this time last year.

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