Meet the team
The Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies (ECPLS) is a Centre dedicated to the delivery of first-class professional legal education and training for the emerging lawyer.
We are based at 9B Holyrood Road, in the heart of Scotland's legal centre, just a few minutes from the Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Courts, the Scottish Parliament and Parliament House where the highest criminal and civil courts in Scotland sit.
Rebecca Samaras LLB (Hons) (Edin), DipLP (Edin), Solicitor and Notary Public (non-practising)
I was appointed Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies (ECPLS) in March 2014 and lead the co-ordination and delivery of new and existing professional (including the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice) and CPD programmes. I also lead the award-winning Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC) which is housed within the ECPLS which I have been involved in developing for a number of years. I received the Principal’s Medal for Community Service in 2013 for my work as FLAC Coordinator.
Prior to my appointment as Director, I tutored in family law at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Edinburgh Law School and child and education law at postgraduate level before my full-time appointment as a Senior Teaching Fellow and Pro-Bono Coordinator of FLAC in 2011. I was course organiser for the Diploma’s family law elective and also taught on the Professional Competence Course which was the predecessor to the current trainee CPD. I also have extensive experience in teaching legal skills and am an alumnus of Core Solutions Group where I undertook training in mediation, negotiation and conflict management.
An Edinburgh LLB graduate, I practised for many years as a litigation solicitor in both large and small firms. I also undertook legal work for national and local charities. I appeared regularly in sheriff courts throughout Scotland and represented clients at tribunals and in Court of Session actions. I am a keen advocate of clinical legal education which I see as a major, integral part of legal education and continue to be involved in its development within the University.
Deputy Director (Learning and Teaching)
Emma Greville Williams MA (Oxon) Jurisprudence, Law Society Finals, Solicitor (England & Wales)
As a Deputy Director at the ECPLS, I teach on the PSR & Company and Commercial core courses, am lead tutor for the Corporate Finance Elective and am a personal tutor. I have extensive experience of teaching skills courses, including interviewing and negotiation. I have been teaching on the Diploma for over ten years. I am Tutor Mentor in the ECPLS, supporting our large pool of external tutors. I am actively involved with the Leadership Foundation for Women Lawyers in Edinburgh Law School.
I am also involved with aspects of the general management and co-ordination of the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and teach on ECPLS’ Trainee CPD courses, including the mandatory Ethics TCPD courses. I taught on the PCC (predecessor to TCPD) for many years.
I qualified as a solicitor in England in 1989. I trained in the City, at Ashurst, and on qualification moved to Freshfields, where I was an assistant in the Corporate department for three years. After maternity leave, I returned to Freshfields as a professional support lawyer for the Financial Services team and remained in this role for three years.
Following a move back to Scotland and a career break, I was a KnowHow lawyer at Dickson Minto WS, on a part-time basis, from March 2008 to July 2015. My principal role at Dickson Minto was to support the listed company and funds team. I was also heavily involved in training for trainees and lawyers in the firm.
While in practice, I experienced a broad range of corporate work, including company acquisitions, listings, acquisition financing and capital markets issues.
Deputy Director (Skills and Student Support)
Andy Duncan LLB (Scots Law) (Hons) (Dnd) Dip LP (Dnd), Solicitor
I have been a qualified solicitor since 2000 and have a wide range of experience working for and with a variety of legal firms. Most recently, I ran my own business providing professional support services to lawyers and before that worked as a professional support lawyer and associate in the Real Estate division of Morton Fraser LLP. In the past I also worked as a legal assistant at the Scottish Law Commission.
I have extensive experience in the provision of legal training for solicitors and trainees and also as a tutor (on the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and at undergraduate level).
As Deputy Director (Skills and Student Support) for the ECPLS, I assist with the general management and co-ordination of the Diploma and also teach on the Conveyancing course.
Free Legal Advice Centre Co-ordinator and Teaching Fellow
Keren Conway BA (Hons) (Stir) LLB (Stir) Dip LP (Edin)
After completing my English degree in 2005 I worked in Standard Life as a trainer within a niche team for a number of years before deciding to return to university to complete the accelerated LLB. I completed this followed by the part time diploma at Edinburgh. I then completed a Crown office traineeship, working in offices in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Fife. I then spent time in private practice working in Criminal defence, family cases, guardianships, intervention orders and Children's panel appearances before taking up my current role in the ECPLS team.
As well as being the FLAC co-ordinator I teach Skills on the Professional Skills and Responsibility Course and I am a Personal Tutor.
Elaine Hermina - Office Manager
I have worked in the Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies since November 2013. My role involves working closely with the managerial team and administrative staff to ensure the smooth running of the Centre and enable a friendly environment for both students and visiting tutors.
Before taking a career break to have a family I worked in other managerial and administrative roles both in the Middle East and the UK.
Mags Stewart and Jane McKenzie – Office administratorsWe work in the ECPLS office and provide administrative support to the ECPLS team and the students.
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