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Bill Jennings

Industry Fellow and Magistrate

Why do you volunteer as an Industry Fellow?

I was a specialist Family Law magistrate who sat as a Lay Judge in the Family Courts of Nottinghamshire. Although I have retired from the judiciary, I did not want my experience, gained over a number of years, to go to waste and, after a meeting, I was honoured to be asked to become an Industry Fellow. I was given the opportunity of continuing to put something back into the community.

What volunteering activities have you been involved with as an Industry Fellow (e.g. mentoring, guest lectures)?

Since becoming an Industry Fellow, I have been heavily involved with a number of volunteering activities.

My main commitment has been with the wonderful Law School in helping with the start-up and running of a number of “challenges”. These are mock hearings set in a court room environment with the students presenting their case or arguments in front of the bench and receiving a proper judgment accordingly. These challenges give the students an incredible insight into the law at work especially in the Family Courts. Anyone can observe a Criminal Court in action but Family Courts are closed: this is the closest that they can get to the real thing whilst studying.

I have helped out as a guest speaker at some Court Visit Association meetings and have also participated in a number of mock interviews.

What do you enjoy and find most rewarding most about being an Industry Fellow?

It enables me to put something back by helping the University, its staff and the students by offering them my outside perspective and offering help and support.

It gives me great satisfaction to know that I have helped in some way to the fulfilment of part of the students’ studies. I have also been able to continue in putting something back and not letting my experience and knowledge go to waste.

I have also been overwhelmed by the gratitude that I have received from students and staff. That alone makes it worthwhile in continuing.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about volunteering as an Industry Fellow?

I can only say do it now! I can assure you that you won’t regret it. I find it most rewarding working with the students. I have been nothing but impressed by the high standard of their work, it is truly impressive.

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