Advisory Board

The School of Law Advisory Board is composed of international members of the legal and criminal justice professions, particularly our eminent alumni. Established in 2010, it meets twice a year to advise the School on future developments and to ensure that major initiatives are informed by its members’ range of perspectives and depth of expertise.

We are most continually grateful to our Board members for giving their time and commitment to drive the School forward.




Group photo of law advisory board

The Advisory Board's functions are to:

  • Provide guidance on the strategic direction, actions and initiatives of the School
  • Provide advice and support in enhancing our international reputation and profile
  • Serve as ambassadors and advocates to the School providing a connection to practitioners in the field and other external contacts
  • Provide advice and support to the School in relation to its teaching, research and contribution to society
  • Share developments and discuss current issues within the legal and justice sectors and education

Board members

Chair of the Board: Louise Glover, Director of Civic Engagement.

Secretary: Grace Armstrong, Engagement Officer


Natalie Cosgrove

Switalskis Solicitors

Photo of Natalie CosgroveA highly experienced clinical negligence solicitor, Natalie qualified in 2011 after cross qualification from the Bar and now works as a Solicitor for regional firm Switalskis.

She has a special interest and acts in cases relating to birth injury and cases relating to secondary victims and complex injuries. Natalie is passionate about the care provided to vulnerable and detained patients in the NHS and vulnerable patients in residential homes

Natalie is a Member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Law Society Advocacy Section. She holds Higher Rights of Audience in both Civil and Criminal.

Natalie is the current Vice President of the Yorkshire Union of Law Societies, immediate past President of the Sheffield and District Law Society, a Committee Member of the Yorkshire Lawyers Support Trust, and a Committee Member of the South Yorkshire Medico Legal Society.

Natalie is a Trustee for Sheffield Mencap and Gateway, an Ambassador for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and a volunteer baker for Free Cakes for Kids Sheffield. 

Steven Dawson

Partner and Head Private Client Department, MKB Solicitors LLP

Photo of Steven DawsonSteven joined MKB when he qualified as a solicitor in September 2001 and became the Head of the Private Client Department in 2006. He became a Partner in 2008 specialising in all areas of Private Client work including the administration of estates, preparation of Wills, tax planning and trusts, Court of Protection, Public Guardianship Office matters and powers of attorney.

Steven prides himself on providing advice in a straight forward, ‘no nonsense’ way, and is incredibly proud of the team he works with in the Private Client Department. Planning for later life, or dealing with matters after the death of a family member is never nice – our aim is to make it as simple and trouble free as possible. Steven aims to forge lasting relationships with families in the hope that we can assist with events at every stage of a persons life. Be it amending Wills following marriage or the birth a child, through advice with helping parents financially supporting grown up children, right through to later life, and ultimately helping families who have just lost someone. Steven believes the role of a good Private Client lawyer is to be here at every stage, to provide the best advice for whatever may occur.

Steven is past President of the Sheffield District Law Society (2014/15), a 150 year old independent organization representing Solicitors firms across South Yorkshire.

Gillian Duckworth

Director of Legal and Governance, Sheffield City Council

Photo of Gillian DuckworthGillian is the Director of Legal and Governance and Statutory Monitoring Officer at Sheffield City Council. She is a qualified solicitor and has been with Sheffield since 2010. She works closely with senior officers and elected Members and regularly advises on controversial, complex and sensitive matters affecting local authorities.

Gillian works actively to promote career opportunities for lawyers in the public sector strengthening the training programme within the legal department at Sheffield, engendering closer working relationships with the University and entering into innovative partnering arrangements with the private sector legal world to offer public sector support to other local authorities and greater resilience for Sheffield City Council.

Abigail Hickinbottom

Barrister, St Johns Buildings

Photo of Abigail HickinbottomAbigail read History at Newcastle University, and completed the Common Professional Examination and Bar Vocational Course at Northumbria University, before being called to the Bar by Inner Temple in 2004.

She practises in family, personal injury and employment law at St Johns Buildings in Sheffield.

Connor Johnston

Barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Photo of Connor JohnstonConnor is a barrister who practises primarily in housing, homelessness and community care. He is committed to legal aid work and to representing the interests of those who are homeless or at risk of losing their home. He is a member of the Young Legal Aid Lawyers (an organisation which he chaired jointly between 2011-2015) and a committee member of the Junior Housing Law Practitioners Association. Connor is highlighted in both Chambers UK 2017 and the Legal 500 for his social housing work, where he is described as a 'recognised housing and homelessness specialist with a growing reputation for technically complex possession cases and judicial review' and as being ‘extremely committed to social welfare law as a whole'. In July 2015 he was named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (Newcomer category). He is the co-author of Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice (Jordan Publishing, 4th edition 2016) together with HHJ Luba QC and Liz Davies.

Rt Hon Sir Maurice Kay

Former Lord Justice of Appeal

Photo of Rt Hon Sir Maurice KayRt Hon Sir Maurice Kay began his long and distinguished career in law at The University of Sheffield in 1961. On completion of his Bachelor degree he opted to take the unusual step of pursuing a PhD in law, which he completed in 1971. He received tutelage from Professor Sir John Wood, one of the leading employment lawyers of his generation, with whom he shared a fondness and enthusiasm for football.

On leaving Sheffield Sir Kay worked in academia, teaching at the Universities of Hull, Manchester and Keele, and was widely published in the areas of business law. In 1975 Lord Justice Kay qualified as a barrister, practising in Chester until 1988 when he was awarded Silk. He began to gain judicial experience as a Recorder.

In 1995 he became the first Sheffield graduate to be appointed a Justice of the High Court and was assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division. There he found himself once again dealing with employment law, and later joined the Administrative Court, addressing wide ranging, and highly sensitive ethical issues.

In 2004 Sir Kay was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal, the second highest level of judge in the English legal system, assessing appeals, reconsidering rulings, and making judgements on cases from lower courts. He retired from this position in November 2014.

On his time studying at the University of Sheffield, the Rt Hon Sir Maurice Kay said:

"My recollections of Sheffield are entirely favourable. I was well taught and that was instrumental in giving me the wherewithal and confidence to pursue my careers in the academic world, at the Bar and as a Judge. The University and the City were friendly places. I was able to pursue many interests, cultural and sporting, without being overly distracted from work and social development. I would certainly recommend, and have recommended, Sheffield to others. I should also add that Law at Sheffield enjoys an excellent reputation amongst the professions - more so now than in my day."

Siobhan Kelly

District Judge

Called to the bar in 1995, Siobhan Kelly is a civil specialist whose principal areas of expertise are in clinical negligence and personal injury law. Siobhan acts for Claimant’s in Clinical Negligence cases and has experience of cases involving negligent birth and CP claims, delayed treatment, ophthalmology, surgery and drug overdose. She frequently acts for both Claimants and Defendants in all types of personal injury claim including road traffic accidents, accidents at work, occupational disease cases, trippers and slippers. Her practice also encompasses property law, insolvency, and public interest immunity.

Ooi Suan Kim

Principal, O S Kim & Associates

Photo of Ooi Suan KimMs Ooi Suan Kim (Kim) graduated with LL.B (Hons.) from The University of Sheffield and thereafter was Called to the Bar of England & Wales by The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, before qualifying as Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in Malaysia. Kim practices law in Malaysia and is Principal of O S Kim & Associates, a boutique corporate, commercial and real estate legal practice. Kim is member of The Bar Council of United Kingdom, and is elected member of the Executive Committee of The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn Alumni Association, Malaysia since 2009.

Over the span of her career, Kim has undergone corporate and management training by Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and National University of Singapore. Kim holds directorships on board of several companies, one of which is Builders Biomass, an integrated bioenergy solutions provider and manufacturer of biomass products, in which she currently chairs. In the corporate realm, Kim’s achievements in innovative green technologies and sustainable development gained recognition when Kim was honoured as Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs of Malaysia by HRH Queen of Malaysia, awarded with the Prime Minister's Best Innovation Award in Green Technology, ASEAN Excellence Award in Innovation, Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Industry Award, Malaysia Greentech Award and the Frost & Sullivan Malaysia Technology Leadership Award. With Kim’s legal expertise in corporate & commercial areas as well as in advanced manufacturing, Kim serves on the Executive Council of Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers.

Adrian Lower

District Judge (Magistrate’s Court)

Peter Mahy

Managing Partner, Howells Solicitors LLP

Photo of Peter MahyI was one of the first students to be lucky enough to be selected for the Erasmus programme and spent two terms of my second year in Tilburg in the Netherlands.

I completed an M.Phil in Criminology at the University of Cambridge in 1994 before undertaking the LPC, joining Howells Solicitors in Sheffield as a trainee in 1996. I qualified in 1998 and specialised in civil liberties and human rights. I was made a partner at Howells 2002 and in 2011 I was appointed as Managing Partner. Howells Solicitors is a firm of solicitors with almost 200 employees specialising in providing high quality specialist legal advice to individuals including the poorest and most vulnerable who are reliant on Legal Aid.

I also retain my role as Head of the Civil Liberties Department and act for clients in a wide range of civil liberties issues. I have been listed in Chambers and Partners as a leading individual for many years in relation to Actions Against the Police, Civil Liberties and Administrative and Public Law. Many of the cases I deal with are high profile and I often appear on national television and radio. I conduct cases before all levels of courts, including the House of Lords and European Court of Human Rights and have over 30 reported cases.

In 2010 I was named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award as a result of my work on the Marper case before the European Court of Human Rights. The Court ruled that the retention of innocent people's DNA was a breach of their human rights.

I was delighted to have been invited back to the School of Law in 2012 to give a lecture on the Marper case and again as a keynote speaker at the INUK Conference. Each visit brought back fond memories and allowed me to catch up with those that taught me 20 years ago and are still at the School of Law providing students with an excellent education and training. Many of our staff are recruited from the University of Sheffield so I know we will be getting staff who can become some of the best solicitors in the country. I know that the education I received at the School of Law has allowed me to go on and develop such an interesting and fulfilling career. The School of Law literally gave me the education I needed to become a solicitor and change the world.

Gareth Miles

Partner, Slaughter and May

Photo of Gareth MilesGareth joined prestigious Law firm Slaughter and May in 1997, and was made a partner in 2007. 

Gareth’s practice covers all direct taxes, stamp duties and value added tax with a strong focus on corporation tax. He has extensive experience of corporate transactions, including, in particular, mergers and acquisitions (public, private, domestic and cross-border) and group reconstructions.

Gareth is listed as a leading individual in the Tax section of Chambers UK, 2017. He is also in Who's Who Legal, 2016 and is recommended for Corporate Tax in The Legal 500, 2016. Gareth writes regularly for tax publications, is a member of the Tax Committee of the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association and is on the consultation board for LexisNexis Tax PSL.

Sam Millington

Associate in the Litigation and Arbitration group, DLA Piper UK LLP

SMSam works in the Firm's Sheffield office and has a wealth of experience acting for clients in both civil proceedings and international arbitrations. Sam's main sectors of focus are financial services, telecommunications and construction.

Sam graduated from the University of Leeds in 2014 with a First Class Honours Law Degree. Having secured a training contract with DLA Piper, Sam completed the Legal Practice Course at the University of Sheffield in 2015 and was awarded the Sidney Herbert Clay Trust prize for achieving the highest marks in the year in the School of Law.

After completing a six-month international secondment to DLA Piper's Litigation, Arbitration and Investigation team in Dubai, Sam won the 'Trainee Solicitor of the Year' Award at the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2017. 

Robert Moore

Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Photo of Robert MooreBob is a corporate partner at Herbert Smith Freehills who specialises in cross-border Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) as well as advising boards of listed companies on governance issues.

Bob's clients operate primarily in the pharmaceuticals, infrastructure and transport sectors and his experience includes recommended and hostile public company takeovers, private company acquisitions and disposals and joint ventures, distressed M&A, demergers, innovative returns of value to shareholders and listed company regulation and compliance.

He studied Law at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 1999.

Charles Neal

Partner, Bell & Buxton LLP and Former President of the Sheffield and District Law Society

CharlesNealHaving qualified with First Class Honours in European, International and Comparative Law here at the University of Sheffield School of Law, Charles began his life as a qualified Solicitor working in the commercial field.

Later he concentrated on private client work, becoming a Partner at Bell & Buxton Solicitors in 2010, and has built up a reputation for drafting Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. In addition, he oversees the formation and administration of estates and trusts, including charities, and provides tax planning advice in relation to all of these areas of client care and private client work. His background enables him to bring a commercial understanding to matters of individuals in business when they are making a Will or when going through the probate and administration process. His interest in European and International Law allows him to provide initial advice where an international dimension is involved.

In September 2014 Charles qualified as a Notary Public and has established a flourishing notarial practice in Sheffield, dealing with company and private individuals documents for overseas matters ranging from the purchase and sale of foreign property, foreign probates, certification of various documents for use abroad and the Hague Convention apostille.

An active member of the Sheffield and District Law Society for many years Charles was elected President of the Society at the AGM in April 2017.

Paul Singh

Service Manager, Civil Litigation Team at Sheffield City Council and current President of the Sheffield and District Law Society

psinghPaul is a Solicitor who has previously worked for well-known firms in Sheffield and Leeds and is currently working in-house for Sheffield City Council. He has been a specialist Employment Lawyer for over 10 years and now heads up the Council’s Civil Litigation team, dealing with a wide variety of matters including Business Rates, Housing claims, Inquests and Judicial Reviews. He has a particular passion for Equality and Discrimination law.

He is currently President of the Sheffield and District Law Society. His focus as President this year are to strengthen relations between firms in Sheffield and those in the wider region (Chesterfield, Barnsley and Rotherham), promote social mobility by encouraging students from poorer economic backgrounds to take up a career in law and provide the Sheffield Legal community with a national voice by responding to government consultations. He also hopes to raise money through social events for his chosen charity, PACT, which supports parents and carers of children diagnosed with cancer.

David Smyth

Senior Partner (Asia), Smyth & Co in association with RPC

Photo of David SmythDavid obtained a BA in Law from the University of Sheffield in 1981. He is a commercial disputes lawyer with over 30 years' experience and leads RPC's Hong Kong office.

David focuses his practice on professional indemnity, financial lines and other special risks claims. He has considerable experience providing general risk management advice to professionals such as accountants, solicitors, insurance brokers, surveyors and stock-brokers.

David has worked on the defence of claims in various jurisdictions including England, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the BVI, the PRC and Taiwan.

Phil Wheatley

Former Director General of the National Offender Management Service

Photo of Phil WheatleyAfter gaining a law degree from the University of Sheffield and inspired by the study of criminology which was part of his degree course, Phil joined the Prison Service as a Prison Officer in 1969 and was promoted Assistant Governor in 1970.

In 1986 he became Governor of Hull Prison; moving on in 1990 to a variety of headquarters’ roles. In 1995,following a series of escapes from high security prisons, Phil was appointed the Director, in charge of the six highest security prisons. He led security improvements that prevented high security escapes. In 1999 he was put in charge of all prison operations with the task of improving prison performance. He set clear standards for decency, improved the management of Governors and secured greater effectiveness and efficiency.

In 2003 he was made Director General of the Prison Service, becoming Director General of the National Offender Management Service responsible for all prisons and probation services in England and Wales in 2008. He delivered improvements that reduced reoffending, escapes, drug abuse and suicide and increased efficiency in both prison and probation. He retired from this role in June 2010.

Phil currently has a portfolio of roles; he is a Non Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, a Trustee of St Giles Trust and of the Feltham Community Chaplaincy Trust. He contributes to training, international conferences and academic study on penal practice. He acts as an expert witness in prison cases. He advises both public and private sector prison operators both in the UK and internationally.

His international work since 2010 has taken him to Pakistan, Latvia, Ukraine, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Bermuda and Barbados.

Stephen Williams

Banner Jones Solicitors

Photo of Stephen WilliamsA past president of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and strong advocate of the Sheffield City Region, Steve joined Banner Jones Solicitors Sheffield office; following a period of six years working as a consultant for Lupton Fawcett LLP.

Having qualified as a solicitor in 1973, Steve has practiced his entire career in Sheffield – proudly taking on the role of Chamber of Commerce President in 2013.

He is a highly experienced property lawyer, with specialised knowledge of relocation, residential sales and residential purchases. He also has expertise in the commercial property arena – managing transfer of equity and mortgages.