Vice chancellors should beware of Nigel Savage. He is about to take the helm of a new "university" and is out to get a nice slice of their business, writes Tony Tysome.
Professor Savage, one of the most outspoken critics of the College of Law, has been appointed as its chief executive. He sees the college as the perfect pocket-sized "university", unfettered by the usual constraints of the sector.
But he insists that the old "cosy" relationship between the college and the Law Society, which he was so critical of in 1994, no longer exists. This means he can take up the post with a clear conscience and turn his critical eye to other law schools and universities.
Higher education has been slow to catch on to his formula that has put Nottingham Law School, which he has managed since 1989, in a strong position to survive the tough financial world, he says.
"Mine is a simple formula under which you give students and the law firms what they want. Too much of higher education is devoted to providing what the academic community wants," he said.
Nottingham Law School is better placed to respond to its "clients'" needs than most, since it is a subsidiary company of Nottingham Trent University, conceived and developed by Professor Savage.
The College of Law may not have the same entrepreneurial background, but it is the biggest provider of postgraduate and vocational courses for lawyers in Europe.
Professor Savage sees that as the perfect platform from which to punish the shortcomings of the rest of legal education. "The joy of the job is that the college is the size of a small university with a network specific to legal education. It gives me the chance to run a university devoted to law without all the baggage which usually goes with legal education in universities," he said.