School of Law

Derek Whayman

LLM Senior Status Law | 2009–2011

Photo of Derek Whayman

About me
I am about to start the third year of my PhD at Newcastle University and I'm on track to finish early. I hope to become a law lecturer

Why did you choose to study Law?
My interest was piqued by a dispute I was involved in. I had become fed up with the working culture of the various companies I had worked for in London and wondered if I should take the opportunity to do something wholly new. Leeds has a prestigious University and took late applications, so I entered as a mature student only a few months after applying in 2009. I’m delighted to say that rather than simply going back to my old life, I seized the opportunity to do something new and rewarding, not just as a taught postgraduate student but also beyond.

What do you miss most about your time at the University of Leeds?
The supportive and helpful tutors, most of all. It was they who encouraged me to get further stuck in to the academic questions and develop my own thoughts. They made the effort to assist when I had a particularly knotty question. I’m still in touch with many of them. Also, I still have friends in Leeds I can’t see as often now I’ve gone.

Tell us about your career path since finishing at the School of Law?
I was taken on as a part-time tutor at the School and I taught Land Law and Equity & Trusts. I was therefore lucky enough to carry on learning – nothing makes you learn the material more than having to teach it! My interest in the academic side of law was developed further because I kept spotting issues and inconsistencies in the law. While these often have to be left to one side for undergraduate teaching, the researcher can pick them up and focus on them. Ultimately I made a PhD proposal from them. The PhD will help me complete my knowledge in a specialised part of equity as well as develop my research and writing skills. It’s regrettable that I had to leave, but unfortunately there was no-one at Leeds to supervise my project.

What do you like doing when you’re not working?
I pass the time – lots of it – road cycling. Many students never get to see the Yorkshire countryside. But why not experience Buttertubs Pass, perhaps England’s most spectacular riding road, or dare to descend Fleet Moss as fast as its ample gradient will allow?

What are you most looking forward to in your future and career?
I’m most looking forward to getting it started properly, i.e. securing that first post! I’m only a baby academic at the moment. Perhaps I shouldn’t complain though – I’m already getting on with the ‘work’ of teaching, researching, writing, publishing, presenting and so on. There will simply be more of it and it will get better.

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