Law at Robinson is led by Director of Studies and Fellow, Dr Brian Sloan, who specialises in Family Law and also teaches in Land Law and Equity. Students of Law at Robinson are extremely fortunate to also be supported and taught by Professor Christopher Forsyth; the Warden (Head of College), Professor David Yates, who has been an academic lawyer at Bristol, Essex and Cambridge Universities and also worked in private practice as a partner, and later Managing Partner, at the law firm, Baker & McKenzie; and a College Teaching Associate.
Robinson has a reputation for producing students who attain very good marks in Law and show marked year-on-year improvement in their examination results. This is due to the high quality of teaching, provision of a constantly updated College law library and the College's Law Revision Week, unique amongst Cambridge colleges.
We are fortunate at Robinson to have a University Teaching Officer, Professor Christopher Forsyth and to be able to draw upon the experience and expertise of our Warden, Professor David Yates. In addition, Robinson usually requires the services of two CTOs, one of whom serves as Director of Studies (DoS), or a CTO and a College Teaching Associate. In Law, as in most subjects, the DoS is responsible for all aspects of a student's academic life; he or she advises students, organises teaching, monitors progress, and ensures all appropriate support is available.
The typical law undergraduate will, during the course of his or her career through Parts 1A, 1B and II of the Law Tripos, complete 14 subjects (4 in the first year and 5 in each subsequent year). The four first year subjects are compulsory and in each of the subsequent years two further subjects are compulsory, therefore, teaching provision is vital in those subjects. In addition to this in the second and third year undergraduates have a choice of subject and in a typical year there are some 20 or 21 subjects overall (depending upon individual student choices) in which supervision is required.
The requirements for teaching provision should also be seen in the context of the Law Tripos as a whole. Law is a subject that changes constantly. This has two implications in particular for the way in which it is taught. Firstly, it inevitably adds an additional dimension to teaching preparation; the subject matter of a supervision can sometimes change day-to-day and almost certainly will change from year to year. Secondly, in drafting the content of the Tripos courses, recent legislation and case law is simply added to the existing content and thus the overall volume of the courses increases exponentially. This leads to a large workload for students and supervisors alike and means that students need a particularly high level of support and guidance in structuring and approaching their preparation for supervisions and exams. Practically, this translates into a frequent need for additional teaching material such as handouts, detailed comments on written work for supervisions and often, extra teaching or advice sessions.
To meet the needs of our Law students, Robinson usually requires the services of two CTOs or a CTO and a College Teaching Associate in addition to its long-standing UTO appointment. The College has funds in place for the present College teaching posts for a limited period of time and is seeking additional donations in order to secure the posts in the long-term.