Distinguished barrister Lord Grabiner to become new Master of Clare College

Clare College, Cambridge
Image credit: Jim Linwood

Barrister Lord Grabiner QC has been elected Master of Clare College, set to take up his role in the new academic year. He will succeed the current Master of the college, Professor Tony Badger, in October 2014.

One of Britain’s top barristers, Lord Grabiner studied for his Law degree at the London School of Economics (LSE) before he was called to the bar in 1968. He is currently Head of Chambers at One Essex Court, a set of barristers’ chambers specialising in commercial litigation.

In a statement concerning his appointment, Lord Grabiner said: “It is an honour to have been elected as the next Master of the lively academic community that is Clare College.” He emphasised that he aimed to carry on the current Master’s work and that one of the challenges faced by Clare in the future will be “ensuring that the college remains accessible to students of all social backgrounds.”

No stranger to a position of responsibility in an academic institution, Lord Grabiner became a member of the LSE’s Court of Governors in 1991 and since went on to act as chairman between 1998 and 2007.

Lord Grabiner was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1981 and is currently a deputy High Court judge. In 1999, he entered the House of Lords and became a life peer. He has also served as the non-executive chairman of the retail giant Arcadia Group Ltd., owned by billionaire Sir Philip Green.

Lord Grabiner’s prominent law career spans several decades and he has represented a number of high-profile clients including HM treasury and Liverpool FC. Furthermore, he acted for Apple Computer Inc. in their long-running dispute with Apple Corporation over the utilisation of the apple logo in conjunction with the iTunes Music Store.

More recently, he was appointed by News Corporation to look into the practices of News International in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. It was reported by the magazine The Lawyer in 2012 that he had commanded an hourly fee of £3,000, making him one of the highest paid barristers in the country.

A first year student at Clare commented on Lord Grabiner’s election as Master, saying: “I'm not sure if T. Grabs has quite the same ring to it as T. Badge, but he seems nice enough. We'll just have to see what he's actually like in person." Regarding the exorbitant hourly rate he commanded, the student added, "Hopefully though he's going to take a pay cut from the £3,000 an hour that News International apparently paid him.”

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