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Ex-Pinsent Masons partner appointed dean of Aston Law School

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Bad news for career legal academics?

Jonathan Fortnam

Aston University has appointed a commercial litigator as the new head of its law school.

In a move that may have career academics looking over their shoulders, Aston Law School passed over the boffins to appoint solicitor Jonathan Fortnam as its new dean.

Fortnam, who spent over 30 years at Pinsent Masons after graduating with a 2.1 from Liverpool University, said that he was “delighted” to be moving into academia.

The Birmingham-based solicitor made headlines in 2013 when he secured an exclusive tie-up for the firm with energy giant E.ON. Pinsent Masons became the company’s sole legal adviser on a fixed-fee basis in one of the first deals of its kind.

Professor George Feiger, executive dean of Aston Business School, said: “Jonathan joins Aston Law School at a very exciting time, as we grow our unique offering which combines high quality legal and business education.

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Fortnam pointed out that Aston Law School is part of the university’s business school, saying that it provides “a unique environment for students to develop commercial and management skills alongside their legal skills”. The university’s law clinic focuses on commercial legal advice to small businesses and charities, rather than the social welfare law handled by most student advice centres.

Professor Richard Moorhead, who recently became head of Exeter Law School, told Legal Cheek that the appointment of a legal professional to an academic position was “pretty unusual”.

He added that while previous appointments from outside academia had been a failure, “In the right school, I think it can work. I’d think Aston was well placed to try this, and wish them every success”.

Aston is not the only university to recruit academics from the City. In June, Durham Uni scored former Slaughter and May partner Philip Bennett to teach a course on pensions law.

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27 Comments

Cambridge LLB

Solid firm – solid partner.

Anon

Shit uni.

anon

almost as shit as you

Anonymous

Really? Is that the best you can do? Bless.

Rupert

Aston.

Cute.

anon

anything wrong?

Anonymous

‘Aston’ and ‘legal academia’ shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence

anon

because only stuck up cunts from rg unis should be associated with it

Anonymous

Why is there such a high correlation between anger and poor punctuation? I suppose stupidity is prevalent in those showing both traits.

anon

Because it ain’t a formal email, fucking cunt.

wbofb

“The Birmingham-based solicitor made headlines in 2013 when he secured an exclusive tie-up for the firm with energy giant E.ON. Pinsent Masons became the company’s sole legal adviser on a fixed-fee basis in one of the first deals of its kind.”

What an incredibly boring life achievement.

tips@legalcheek.com

Why is law considered a science? More a set of practical skills requiring some background knowledge. Nothing in comparison to history, philosophy or math.

Anonymous

“Math”? “Maths” please, this is not America.

Interloper

Law is most definitely not a science. As one who has studied both.

Anonymous

Is “Aston University” real? I suppose applications from graduates of the place, if it exists, would not make it past the filtering before CVs get near my desk.

Anon

Never heard of it. And someone with a degree from Liverpool University is hardly fit to be a Dean of an academic institution. What a joke.

anon

what is it with you cunts and insulting universities.

Cambridge LLB

Only the Oxbridge is worthy of MoneyLaw, fools.

Anon

“… previous appointments from outside academia had been a failure …”.

So there have been previous appointments of this kind and this is nothing new and hence this story is nothing of note.

Anonymous

50.2% of school leavers now attend tertiary education. What a waste of public funds. Cull down the number of universities, especially the ones that are handing out firsts like confetti to students they consider “customers”.

Anon

The Deputy Head of Birmingham Law School at the University of Birmingham is not an academic in the conventional sense. He was a solicitor and then became LPC course leader at the College of Law, Birmingham. He is far better at teaching and fostering links with the business community than many academics. As with any organisation, a broad range of life experiences and work / educational backgrounds, is best.

Penis Pump

urgh, I’m guessing that you’re someone who has also had the displeasure of reading through his many, many posts on LinkedIn

I hate the man already and yet I and barely know who he is

Anon

Nice to know that the Deputy Head of Brum law has so much free time he can post on LC.

:)

Nowadays I would agree with you, but 20-25 years ago University of Liverpool was pretty solid.

Anonymous

It was better back then, more middle of the third division. Gone downhill since.

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