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Dean of Moorgate: An interview with Caroline Carter

Today we have the pleasure of introducing the new Dean of Moorgate, Caroline Carter. We discuss starting a new role during a global pandemic, her career progression and her exciting plans for the London campus.

I trained in the City and moved as a junior lawyer from Linklaters to Ashurst, becoming a senior equity partner and leading a European wide group of employment, incentives and pensions lawyers for almost 20 years. I also held some interesting management roles in trainee recruitment, new partner appointments, partner remuneration and merger integration. I retired in 2016 to develop a portfolio career focussed on higher education, diversity and social mobility. I am on the council of a postgraduate university, Cranfield, where I focus on the people agenda, as well as being a director and trustee of The Brilliant Club. I am a board advisor to AccessEd, a governor of an all girls’ non-selective state school and a shareholder in an angel investing trading platform. After a year of virtual house arrest, I got a message via LinkedIn from a headhunter, saying that ULaw would like to talk to me, and under cover of a global pandemic, I have had a ‘soft launch’ as the new Dean in the City.   

I was not in the market for a day job, but the headhunter was so knowledgeable about his brief and why he thought my experience as a former law firm partner, together with my passion for education and access, made me a candidate worth looking at closely. I felt positive that whatever the outcome, going through the process would be a learning experience.  I was aware of the changes to legal education coming down the line and felt that I could be accretive to the team at Moorgate and, in time to the wider ULaw community. It was the place I trained at many years ago and the quality was beyond measure, giving me the firmest of foundations.

I am in my first 100 days and am doing a lot of listening and learning from the people around me. Law is a people business, and relationships are key. I am most keen to build strong bonds with the Moorgate team, get to know the staff as they re-enter the workplace once again, and engage with current and prospective students and stakeholders. I have spoken on a ULaw panel about social mobility, and I will be addressing all Moorgate staff about my role and how we will all work together with a post-Covid reset. I have an open management style, and I hope people will see me as approachable, empathetic and solution focussed.

These are early and unusual days, fettered and constrained at present. However, my ambition is that the role is significantly outward facing, supporting specialist teams to build strong pipelines of student and staff talent and encouraging more law firms to entrust us with the professional education of their future business owners. Success will be playing a key part in offsetting the challenges of sector disruption and ensuring that ULaw Moorgate is a place of both choice and prestige for all students.

University access is one of the main gateways to enabling young people to build career success and business leadership.  It is necessary for universities to draw from the widest pool of talent and look for curiosity and potential, not the finished article. Part of the bargain is for universities to support students, make them feel valued and integrated and, in turn, those students will take pride in all that they do, work hard and be on the road to success. There should be no student who feels they are an outsider at ULaw.

The highlights of my legal career have been two things that shape who I am, the first being appointed a senior equity partner and at the same time head of a large department, and giving birth to my first child a few months later. It was a great year.

Cases and deals have also brought lots of high points, too numerous to mention. It is a testament that many of my former clients are now my firm friends, as are professional adversaries.

My educational highlight was meeting my husband at Chancery Lane, ULaw (then College of Law) was the start of the journey leading to the two things I mentioned above, and we are still together decades later. Choose your seating partner wisely would be my advice.

The people at ULaw have all been so welcoming and are of such a high calibre; they more than make up for my inept IT skills. They have been patient and understanding as I fumble my way through the day. Things will improve for us all as we emerge and re-board the physical world of work and combine that with virtual working patterns. It will have some similarities with how our students wish to engage with their education, and we must continue to be adaptable and agile to support one another in all that we do.

Spend your debt well is my advice to any student, undergraduate or postgraduate, as you are investing in yourself for the future. You cannot put a price on a trajectory that you want to be successful and long. The world of work has changed, as has the span of the future working life. Make that investment and walk through the door of a university with an undisputed track record in professional training, where the student is at the core of its reason for being.

 

Discover everything you need to know about ULaw Moorgate on our dedicated Moorgate campus webpage.