Professor Rosa Greaves
I was born in the Azores (Portugal) and came to the UK when I was 11 years old, where I was brought up in London. After completing my LLB Law at the University of Leeds, I went on to study for an LLM in European Legal Studies which had just been launched at the University of Exeter.
I then qualified as a Barrister, and was a "stagiaire" in the Legal Service of the European Commission. In 1976, I took up an appointment as a Lecturer in European Law at the University of Southampton and, in 1994, I became The Allen & Overy Professor of European Law at the University of Durham where I remained until 2006.
I was Head of Department at Durham from 1995-1998 and Director of the Durham European Law Institute. In 2006, I came to the University of Glasgow where I am Professor of European Commercial Law and now Head of School.
My time at Leeds
I always wanted to be a lawyer but not necessarily an academic. I chose the University of Leeds because they offered an LLM in International Law and I wanted to specialise in this field of law. Also I was brought up in the south and, like most University students at the time, I wanted to explore the north of England.
I had a wonderful time at University. I was very engaged in Student Union politics and I was a member of the Union Council and ran for President of the Students Union in 1973. I lost that but I got the position of Union Hostess which was great as, at that time, all the big bands played in the Refectory. I was there when Wings gave their first public performance at Leeds! I also heard and saw the Rolling Stones and all the big bands.
Leeds is a fantastic city! It’s very vibrant with lots of things to do – the shopping was always great.
Three years of studying Law was great but, unfortunately, I did not enjoy much of the international law course. Instead, I applied (after advice from the Head of School) to a new European Law degree was being launched at the University of Exeter. This was the best advice I have received as I went on to become a specialist academic in this area of law.
I have followed an academic career route but with frequent breaks where I worked in law firms in London and Brussels as well as spending time in the European Commission and in the European Court of Justice. My experience of being a student at Leeds was very rewarding and I enjoyed the academic environment. No doubt the experience influenced my decision to become an academic.
I am currently a Professor of Law and also the Head of the School of Law at the University of Glasgow. In addition, I am a Part-time Professor at the University of Oslo and I am often abroad delivering seminars at European Universities or papers at conferences. I enjoy the variety of my professional life very much.
Being Head of School is a very heavy task involving attending never-ending committee meetings but it is also rewarding when you can assist colleagues and students to achieve their projects and ambitions. I make sure that I have a significant teaching load and I try to keep up my research output. I became an academic to teach and research not to be a manager but someone has to do that job!
I would absolutely recommend Law at Leeds to any student thinking of applying! A law degree trains your brain to comprehend, analyse, structure your arguments and evaluate large amounts of information. You need to be aware of social-legal issues, politics and economics to understand how legal systems operate. The LLB is an excellent degree which gives you skills and preparation for most of the careers you wish to pursue . . . and not necessarily practising as a lawyer.
Whatever you decide to study at University the most important thing is to experience three years of living in a highly intelligent and energetic community in which most of the people you come into contact are between 18 and 22 years old. You will never experience that once you leave University.