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James Green (LLB Law 2002)

Biography

I did my LLB Law degree at Reading (1999-2002), and then stayed to take my LLM (by thesis) (2002-2003). I then moved to the University of Nottingham to study for a PhD in International Law (2003-2006, including a visiting scholarship at the University of Michigan in 2005). After my PhD I returned to Reading as a Lecturer, and in 2011 was promoted to Reader in Public International Law. I have published two books and numerous articles in leading journals, and have been lucky enough to present my research around the world. In 2009 I won the prestigious ‘Francis Lieber Prize’.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I chose to study at Reading primarily because of its reputation for law. More generally, the campus is lovely and I felt that it would be a nice place to study, with top facilities. It was also important to me that Reading is close to London, without the chaos of actually being in London.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

For me it was an excellent mixture of learning and socializing. I have many lifelong friends that I met at Reading, but it also set me on my career path (which has seen me end up teaching the very degree I myself took).

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

I think simply to make the most of all aspects of the experience: it does go by very quickly. In terms of your studies, it is important to engage as much as possible with your lecturers. They are there to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions of them! Socially, do make sure to mix with students on other degree programmes: it’s important to get different perspectives on the student experience.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I research and teach international law here at the University of Reading. I realised during my degree that I loved the law but didn’t necessarily want to be a lawyer. An academic career was the obvious choice, but it was a long and tough road, with many years of study and (as a result) many years without any money. However, I wouldn’t change it: I’m now able to research whatever I want and am in a position to inspire others through teaching.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Get as much experience as possible, as early as possible. To get an academic job you must now have a PhD, and that’s a huge commitment to take on. So, during your degree, see if you can do any research assistant work or get involved in some other way with research work going on in your department. It’s the best way to find out if the career is really for you, and also looks great on the CV later down the road (even if you end up doing something completely different).

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

Reading provided me with a great platform with the quality teaching I received during my degree and masters. Staff at the Careers Centre gave me lots of advice during my degree and were very sensitive to the fact that I didn’t want to follow the traditional path of becoming a lawyer. Of course, when I had completed my PhD Reading also gave me my first job. I still think it’s a wonderful academic environment – as evidenced by the fact that I am still here!

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Times are hard, as everyone knows, so my advice is simply to cast the net as wide as possible when looking for jobs or other courses. Don’t give up on whatever career path you want to take, but do be willing to think outside the box in terms of getting there.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

The University of Reading trained me, then employed me and then promoted me; I feel very lucky to have had this longstanding association with Reading. I’ve so many good memories – especially as I have been at the University on and off (in one guise or another) for over 10 years – but I think probably the most important memories relate to the many friends I have made.

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