Lancaster University law lecturer awarded prestigious teaching accolade

Lady smiling at camera surrounded by greenery
Sadie Whittam, Director of Clinical Legal Education at Lancaster University Law School

A Lancaster University law lecturer has been named Law Teacher of the Year 2023 by Oxford University Press, a prestigious award celebrating extraordinary teachers in law schools across the country.

Practising Solicitor and Director of Clinical Legal Education at Lancaster University Law School Sadie Whittam, one of five finalists nominated for the title, was announced winner at a Celebrating Excellence in Law Teaching half day conference in London this afternoon (Friday June 16th).

Specialising in civil litigation, dispute resolution and clinical legal education, the solicitor had a 100 per cent overall satisfaction rate for her LLB Law clinical learning programme in 2021-22. Sadie has also developed a national reputation in the field of authentic learning and assessment.

She was nominated by two colleagues who described her as an “exceptional, talented and gifted educator”.

“I am absolutely delighted to win the OUP Law Teacher of the Year Award and it is the highlight of my academic career so far,” she says. “I am extremely grateful to my wonderful students, colleagues, and mentors for all their support.”

Sadie’s nomination was largely based on student feedback, with one suggesting: “She is the best teacher I have ever had, and she has forever become my mentor. Her involvement and ideas for […] workshops and assessments are out of this planet.”

“I absolutely love teaching and my subject matter,” Sadie adds. “I feel incredibly privileged to support students in their social justice work in the Clinical modules and introduce them to professional practice.

“Teaching is a collaborative process, and I am very lucky to work in such an innovative and forward-thinking Law School. I am so grateful to my wonderful colleagues and students, who are an endless source of inspiration and encouragement.”

The Oxford University Press Law Teacher of the Year Award celebrates talent and innovation in law schools across the country. Sadie has played a vital role in the set-up of Lancaster University’s community-focused Law Clinics, enabling student advisors to provide free legal advice to local people, and using her position as Director of Clinical Legal Education has developed a suite of clinical legal modules.

She leads Lancaster Law School’s Careers and Employability Provision, managing and organising internal activities and an external expert speaker programme, and oversees student visits to the Inns of Court.

“I use various techniques to help students understand difficult material,” she adds, “from student participation in a simulated mediation and advocacy in our mock courtroom, to running class quizzes and inviting guest speakers, to developing a partnership with a local newspaper so that students can have their work published in a legal column. I care very much about my students’ whole lives and careers – not just their law school education.”

Head of Lancaster University Law School, Professor Catherine Easton, says: “This is an exceptional achievement for one so early in their academic career. It just goes to show Sadie’s fantastic skills and dedication. She is an outstanding legal educator, demonstrating true dedication to the development of each individual student, while constantly improving the field through her vast breadth of knowledge and constant pedagogical innovation. It is so impressive and fitting that this has been recognised at a national level.”

For more information, visit the Oxford University Press website:

Back to News