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A day in the life of Associate Professor Rachel Avery

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In this edition of Dialogue, we find out more about Rachel Avery, Associate Professor in our Law School.

Rachel joined the University in 2010 and works part-time in our Law School where she convenes the commercial law module and co-ordinates the First-Generation law students group. She is also the Deputy Director of Undergraduate Admissions and the law school lead on outreach work with a particular interest in schools’ outreach.

Outside her work at the University Rachel is a practising barrister at Devereux Chambers, London specialising in the fields of commercial and employment law. This means that every day is different. Some days she’ll give a lecture and take tutorials, others she may be travelling to a school (local or further afield) to do outreach work or welcoming a visitor to the Law School to give a lecture to the First-Generation Students group. Other days may be taken up with work for chambers.

Rachel Avery
Rachel Avery

Dialogue asked Rachel about a typical day...

6am: Get up

6.30am: Have a quick breakfast usually listening to a news or current affairs programme on the radio.

6.45am: Get the children up and ready for school.

7.30am: Take the children to school.

8.30am: Start working either at home or in my office.

8.30am-11am: Prepare lectures, tutorials and outreach talks, mark any outstanding work, have Teams meetings.

11am-12pm: Give a lecture.

12pm-1pm: Office hours.

1pm-1.15pm: A quick lunch.

1.15pm-3.30pm: Take tutorials, do admin, more Teams meetings.

4pm-5pm: School governor’s meeting or meeting for one of the other voluntary roles I have. I also sometimes use this time to read papers for upcoming meetings or start to prepare an activity or event for the Law School First Generation Scholars group.

5pm-8.30pm: Oversee homework and any activities my children have after school.


More about Rachel…

What do you enjoy about your role?

I really enjoy the varied aspects of my role and that no two days are the same. However, the thing that I love most is the interaction with students. I take huge pride in seeing the students that I have taught graduate and witnessing the huge amount that they have learned and experienced (both academically and socially) since arriving at Durham as first year undergraduates.

What are you most proud of?

At work, being the joint winner of the Law School staff Equality, Diversity and Inclusion award as well as seeing the huge strides that the Law School has made in its outreach work which has led to real changes in the make-up of the undergraduate student body. 

Outside work, my three fantastic children (Benjamin, Harry and Sophie).

What’s the best bit of advice you have been given and that you would give?

That as well as valuing success and achievement (which it is hugely important to recognise and celebrate) the way you behave towards and interact with other people is just as important. The importance of showing interest in and kindness, understanding and compassion towards others cannot be overestimated. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people won’t forget how you made them feel.”

How do you look after your mental health?

I try to make time each week to meet friends, go for a walk or do some volunteering. 

Conversations with my children about their perspective on issues are also always life-affirming.

What is your favourite food?

This is the most difficult question! Depending on the day it can range from curry to steak to risotto. That said, I am always happy with a margherita pizza and a cheeseboard!

Where has been your best holiday?

Malta. I lived there as a child and being there always brings back wonderful memories.

What are your hobbies?

I attend a ballet class each week and also love reading and the theatre. I also spend a lot of time watching my children play cricket.

Do you have any pets?

No, but I get daily requests for a dog. I have managed to ignore the pleas so far…!



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