The University of Law has recruited magic circle stalwart Tony King to lead its renewed efforts to establish closer links with law firm clients.

King, who retires as director of the Clifford Chance Academy this summer, will act as special adviser and visiting professor.

The college, which has eight centres in seven UK cities, wants to work closer with client law firms to shape its education and training provision. 

It already has 30 exclusive training arrangements with law firms and works in some capacity with more than 90 of the top 100 UK law firms.

King (pictured) was previously director of education and head of HR development for more than 20 years at Clifford Chance before becoming director of the firm’s worldwide training academy in 2011.

He is currently chair of the City of London Law Society’s training committee, a member and former chair of the Law Society’s education and training committee and a member of the advisory board to the International Bar Association’s academic and professional development committee.

John Latham, the University of Law’s chief executive, said King will bring ‘sector-wide credibility and reputation’ to the institution. ‘Tony is a pre-eminent figure in the world of legal education and training.

‘His appointment as a special adviser is a key step forward for the university as it seeks to further strengthen its work with law firms in the UK and beyond.’

The university has made no secret of the need to change to meet the needs of students and firms.

Earlier this year, president Nigel Savage confirmed plans to tailor courses so students were better equipped to secure work.

He told the Gazette: ‘We need to look at those areas which can be commoditised and those which need more intensive learning.

‘We will have to separate courses to allow students to do the bits they want – first year of the LLB and one chunk of the LPC, enough to get a job in a particular sector.’