Olympic champion and human rights lawyer awarded ULaw Honorary Doctorates

22 November 2017 


Olympic Gold medallist and lawyer Jonny Searle MBE and human rights lawyer Rajiv Menon QC, both alumni of The University of Law, were awarded honorary doctorate degrees at a graduation ceremony which marked the achievements of ULaw’s LLB, GDL and LLM graduates. The ceremony took place in Church House Westminster, London, on Saturday 18 November 2017.

Jonny Searle MBE, a lawyer and a renowned figure in the sporting world, won gold medals at both the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and the rowing World Championships in 1993 during a rowing career that spanned over 10 years, most of which overlapped with his legal career. Jonathan joined City law firm Ashurst in 1993. He moved to an in-house role with international entertainment company Modern Times Group (MTG) AB in 2002, where he worked for many years as General Counsel and, later as Company Secretary.

Jonny was awarded the ULaw honorary doctorate degree for his influential work in media law and his commitment to supporting people in their career development, which he continues to foster as an executive coach and keynote speaker.

Rajiv Menon QC is a high profile barrister with over 20 years’ experience in serious, complex and high profile criminal defence cases, in particular involving human rights violations, miscarriages of justice, political protest and the abuse of power by the state. Notable cases Rajiv has worked on include his role as leading counsel for 10 for the bereaved families at the new inquests into the death of 96 Liverpool football supporters at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield in 1989.

Rajiv is a member of Garden Court Chambers and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011. His Honorary Doctorate award from the University is in recognition of his commitment to fighting for human rights and social justice.  

Upon receiving the honour, Jonny Searle MBE said: “I enjoyed my time as a student at The College of Law as it was then and remember the great relationship between the tutors and the students. I'd like to thank the University for the award and to wish students graduating all the best for the future. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on what you've achieved and congratulate yourselves.” 

Rajiv Menon QC also commented: “I became a lawyer because I love the thrill of being an advocate and making a positive impact. My career focus has always been on representing the individual against the state, whatever the case may be. I'd like to thank The University of Law for bestowing this award on me. I don't know I deserve it, but I'm grateful nevertheless. To those students who graduated on Saturday I wish them many congratulations.

“There are so many ways for students and lawyers to contribute to society. My advice is to do right and fear no-one.”

Professor Andrea Nollent, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of The University of Law (ULaw), said: “We take great pride in seeing our alumni go onto outstanding success and transformative careers. It is an honour to mark the achievements of Jonny Searle MBE and Rajiv Menon QC with honorary doctorates in celebration of their accomplishments and successes. They are an inspiration for our students.”

Jonny Searle MBE and Rajiv Menon QC join a notable list of senior legal figures to be awarded honorary ULaw degrees, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, member of the House of Lords and former cabinet minister. Previous recipients also include Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court; Lord Neuberger, former President of the Supreme Court of the UK; and Shami Chakrabarti, founder of Liberty.

To download pictures from the graduate ceremony, please click here. Copyright © The University of Law (ULaw). 

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