Profile – Dr Michael Vincent
Michael joined Queens University Belfast Law School as a Lecturer in September 2021. He began his career working as a corporate and commercial lawyer in the City of London, gaining expertise advising blue-chip clients across a wide-range of industries. This included a period seconded to a global advertising agency with responsibility for legal and company secretarial matters throughout the EMEA region and Russia. During this time he developed an interest in professional responsibility, and a commitment to the advancement of legal education, ethics, and innovation in legal services delivery to enhance the quality of advice provided to the public and businesses. He has subsequently developed a portfolio of innovation in teaching & learning within Higher Education, having designed and led courses in response to strategic and policy demands. He was awarded Senior Fellow (SFHEA) status by the Higher Education Academy in 2020, and was awarded his ESRC-LSB funded doctorate by the University of Warwick in 2021. This empirical piece of research considered the effectiveness of the SRA’s outcomes-focused regulatory regime in respect of conflicts of interest in large international law firms.
University of Warwick, Ph.D Law (ESRC – LSB funded Scholarship) (2021)
Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) (2020)
AdvanceHE Professional Development Course for External Examiners (2019)
Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales (2010)
Law Society (E&W) Legal Practice Course (2007)
Durham University, Law LLB (Hons) (2003)
Law of International Business Transactions (LLM) (Module Convenor)
Company Law and Corporate Governance (MLAW)
Company Law and Corporate Governance (LLB)
European Law, Company Law and Trade (JD)
Land Law (LLB) (Warwick, Bristol)
Law in the International Business Environment (LLM) (Warwick)
Banking Law (LLM) (Birmingham) (Module Convenor)
Trusts & Equity (LLB) (Birmingham, QMUL)
Commercial Law (LLB) (JD) (Birmingham)
Accountancy & Finance (BSc) (Birmingham)
Clinical Legal Education (LLB) (Bristol)
Foundations of Business Law (LLB/BA/BSc) (Bristol)
Public Companies Law (LPC) (University of Law)
Business Law and Practice (LPC) (University of Law)
International Commercial Law (BPTC) (University of Law)
Core Professional Skills (LPC) (University of Law)
Finance and Business Skills (PSC) (University of Law)
StreetLaw Project Co-ordinator (Current)
Nottingham Law School (External Examiner) (2019 – 2021) Appointed by the Academic Standards & Quality Committee to uphold quality assurance on the LLM/LPC Private Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, and LLM/BPTC Legal Research modules.
University of Bristol Law School Curriculum Review Committee (Academic Year 2017 – 2018) Invited to join the law school’s 12-person committee and played a strategic role in re-designing the undergraduate curriculum to enhance student experience, employability and skills, and in response to policy and educational reforms including the English SRA’s Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
University of Bristol Law School Exam Board Subcommittee on bad academic practice (2017 – 2018)
Research & Scholarship Highlights:
ESRC - Legal Services Board funded PhD
The SRA’s Outcomes-focused regulatory regime (OFR) governs the solicitor’s branch of the English legal services market. Michael worked collaboratively with the LSB and investigated the impact that OFR has made upon decision-making around conflicts of interest in large global law firms. This identified that at the global level, powerful sophisticated clients dictate their own contractual conflicts rules to firms, which bear no relationship to the SRA’s OFR rules. Client rules define the scope of the ‘client’, and address breaches by reference to service levels and key-performance indicators rather than regulatory rules. Michael’s research highlights the issues that this client behaviour presents to the fundamental principle of lawyer independence, and fact that global law firms have passed decision-making around complex conflicts issues from lawyers to centralised conflicts teams. He was supervised by Prof Julian Webb (University of Melbourne), and his thesis was examined by Prof Emeritus Avrom Sherr (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies) and Prof Davinder Singh (Warwick).
University of Bristol
Supervised an intake of 160 students in the University of Bristol Law School’s Law Clinic working on live matter files delivering advice on commercial, company secretarial and intellectual property issues, and conducted several feasibility studies using live matters as pilots;
Michael developed a business skills limb, securing support from the University; skills training from law firms, and the business start-up incubator the SETSquared Partnership, and organised outreach activities with community interest groups including the Bristol Green Capital Partnership to create opportunities for students, and to support the University of Bristol’s civic agenda.
Secured donations from corporate and alumni donors, introduced greater transparency into student recruitment, and drafted clinic policies and operating procedures.
Legal Services Board Research Consultant
Michael maintains an on-going collaborative relationship with the LSB, with time on secondment to support its research team, notably in examining the cost of regulatory compliance for consumers and providers since outcomes focused regulation was introduced to the legal services market.
Jubilee Centre, University of Birmingham Research Consultant
Michael was invited to become a paid consultant on its ‘Virtue, Practical Wisdom and Professional Education’ Research Report. This was a pilot Intervention designed to enhance ethical understanding and reasoning in student lawyers, doctors and teachers; funded by the John Templeton Foundation.
University of Warwick
Warwick – Stanford University Transatlantic Research Fellow – Awarded a competitive funded visiting fellowship to fund a month – long research trip to the United States. Michael was able to develop collaborative research links with Stanford University’s Center for the Legal Profession; the CodeX Center for Legal Informatics; with policy-makers at several State Bars, and the American Bar Association.
Ethics a County North of London? – Michael led the design and delivery of workshop activities that critically considered ethics in ‘real world’ legal practice. He secured funding from the firm and Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Teaching & Learning to deliver an interactive session collaborating with senior lawyers from the firm.
Legal Ethics Pilot (LLB) – designed and piloted a lengthier online and face-to-face legal ethics course in collaboration with the University of Birmingham’s Jubilee Centre. This provided data for a wider research project: ‘Virtue, Practical Wisdom and Professional Education’, which adopted Aristotelian Virtue Ethics as a lens though which to take ethical decisions in the absence of clarity from codes of conduct.
Legal Practice Experience
Michael qualified as a solicitor in England & Wales in 2010 with an international law firm, developing a specialism in international commercial law, and also gained experience on secondment with the advertising agency DDB, overseeing legal and company secretarial matters across the EMEA region and Russia. Highlights include:
- Advice within the fields of professional responsibility and regulation of the UK’s legal services market in a global context to several law firms and US State Bars;
- Leading negotiations between Tribal DDB, subcontractors, and Diageo Plc.’s subsidiary Guinness Storehouse Limited in the digital renovation of the Guinness Storehouse Visitor Centre, Dublin.
- Drafting a significant service agreement in collaboration with local Swedish counsel for the provision of services by The Cloud/BskyB across the Scandinavian Telenor ASA Mobile network.
- A secondment to The Cloud/BSkyB to act as General Counsel on intellectual property, data protection, company secretarial, procurement, and employment matters.
- Advocacy in the Employment Tribunal during proceedings relating to unfair and wrongful dismissal; discrimination, harassment; TUPE failure to inform and consult.
- Drafting agency and distribution agreements and advising PharmaCare Limited (an Australian-owned pharmaceuticals company) on the e-commerce and Distance Selling Regulations.
- Drafting DDB Europe Limited’s anti-bribery policy to comply with English anti-bribery legislation, then assisting human resources to develop new skills competencies for staff to comply with.
- Commercial litigation research on behalf of Christie’s Auction House during High Court proceedings for an alleged negligent valuation of a portrait by the Italian artist Titian Vercelli
- Intellectual property research for the Smokeless Cigarette Company Limited on patent registration of its smokeless cigarettes under EU law.
- Competition law research for Shell Oil on the application of block exemptions for anti-competitive arrangements under the EU Treaty and South American Mercosur regulations.
- General commercial and contract law research and advice to Royal Mail for the purposes of updating standard terms and conditions relating to the carriage of dangerous goods in the post;
- Local customary laws research on behalf of the British Arab Commercial Bank Plc. in litigation against the insolvent Al Gosabi Saudi business group to advise on the prospects of success in recovering a US$20 million loan.
- Tracing funds loaned by a major Russian bank to a fraudulent borrower through a complex international web of shell companies into which funds had been laundered.
Conferences & Seminars
“Challenging Traditional Rationalistic Models of Lawyer Decision-making – the Role of Self-view, Parallel Influences and Post-Rationalisation of Behaviour” SLS Conference 2019, University of Central Lancashire – (Sep 2019) presenter.
“Advising in Austerity” University of Bristol Law School (Nov 2017) organiser & presenter.
“Character and Ethics in Legal Practice” Jubilee Centre/Warwick Law School (Nov 2016) organiser.
“Facilitating Access to Justice: Beyond Lawyers – A UK Perspective” International Legal Ethics Conference Fordham University, New York (July 2016) presenter.
“Ethics – A County East of London? Ethics in Commercial Legal Practice” University of Warwick & Osborne Clarke LLP (Nov 2015) organiser & presenter.
“Power Practice and Privilege: Corporate Law Firms and Corporate Clients” ESRC Conference Birmingham University (June 2015) presenter.
“The Deregulation Debate and Conflicts of Interest” Legal Compliance Association’s Managing Partner Annual Conference (Jan 2015) presenter.
Character in the Professions: How Virtue Informs Practice (Jubilee Centre Research Report, Birmingham, 2020)
Virtue, Practical Wisdom and Professional Education (Jubilee Centre Research Report, Birmingham, 2017)
Challenging Traditional Rationalistic Models of Lawyer Decision-making – the Role of Self-view, Parallel Influences and Post-Rationalisation of Behaviour (SLS Conference, 2019)
Facilitating Access to Justice: Alternative Business Structures in the United States (International Legal Ethics Conference Paper, July 2016)
Copyeditor June 2015 Special Edition International Journal of Law in Context ‘International Economic Law, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development’.
Company Secretary’s Review Journal Case Law Analysis (LexisNexis):
- “Autoclenz Limited v Belcher and Others” Vol. 35 Issue 1/1
- “Publicis Consultants UK Ltd v O’Farrell” Vol. 35 Issue 9/1
- “P Lancaster v TBWA Manchester” Vol. 35 Issue 8/2
- “Cherfi v G4S Security Services Limited” Vol. 35 Issue 7/1
- “McKie v Swindon College” Vol. 35 Issue 6/1
- “Gosden v Lifeline Project Ltd” Vol. 35 Issue 4/1
- “Eversheds Legal Services Ltd v De Belin” Vol. 35 Issue 3/1
- “Sakharkar v Northern Foods Grocery Group Ltd (t/a Fox’s Biscuits)” Vol. 35 Issue 1/1
- “British Airways Plc. v Mak” Vol. 34 Issue 26/1
Westminster Higher Education & Legal Policy Forums
Society of Legal Scholars
International Association of Legal Ethics
Socio-Legal Studies Association
Association of Law Teachers
AdvanceHE/Higher Education Academy
Law Society of England & Wales