See you next week in Bristol or in Bangor in June

Next Monday Albert is running an excellent 1 day programme on Regiopost and labour standards in public procurement at Bristol University. Attendance is free and the programme looks great. I look forward to seating in the audience relaxed enjoying the hard work of others instead of running around like a maniac on the backend...


On June 9th and 10th I am taking part on the Procurement Week Bootcamp 2016 which will be held in Bangor. This is a paid event (contrary to previous years) but the £99 fee for two days seems more than reasonable. It will be great to catchup with my former gang at the Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies in addition to a number of colleagues which will be in attendance.

In case you decide to go to the Bootcamp my recommendation as a former Bangor resident is to stay at the Management Centre. Do not let the name fool you, it's by far the best accommodation in town.

Links I Liked [Legal Education]

1. Watch out law students and recent graduates, Kim is looking for your job. No, not that Kim, but the AI system being deployed by Riverview Law.

2. All change, all change in access to the profession(s) in England and Wales.  Plus, apparently the SRA is behind the idea of a national exam. I remember fondly (not) my experience with the national access exam back in Portugal. But with 100 law schools and God knows how may BPTC/LPC providers, I do not see how it could be otherwise - other than getting rid of it all.

3. Harvard Law Library decides to scan every judicial decision on its archives. It needed to be done, but shame it is destroying the books in the process.

4. Law School Exams and the IRAC Method. A colleague of mine mentioned this exam/problem question answer technique on a revision lecture last week.

5. I am featured on this month's "Do one change" by the Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching about the work I did with assessments for Startup Law. I do love talking about teaching and learning in law bur never expected that what I do might be relevant in other disciplines. You can find a video of a Startup Law presentation on the same link. A more up to date version of the slide deck is available on the Presentations tab.

Links I Liked [Public Procurement]

1. My old job at Bangor University is up for grabs. Excellent place to start an academic career in public procurement...if you are motivated and willing to work very hard. Dermot is a great boss for those first years when we're freshly out of the Ph.D and has that important quality of protecting his team. Limited backstabbing and/or academic bitchiness too.

2. The European Procurement Law Group held its annual meeting earlier this week at Birmingham University. Thank you Martin Trybus for the warm welcome. The next book in our series (about qualification, selection and exclusion) is coming along nicely and we have some news to share in the near future. PS: Some of my colleagues have contributed case reviews for Concurrences e-Bulletin.

3. Some news about corruption in public procurement in Greece.

4. New Commission initiative to kickstart procurement of innovation. I remain sceptical that raising awareness is what is needed to get more (public) procurement of innovation. It has never been a problem of "tools" either. My view is that it comes down to (lack of) incentives and (lack of) risk tolerance, not to mention (lack of) money.

5. Someone does not like "open" procurement rules. Someone should read the rules with care and attention.

Thoughts on moving on

Today is my last day working for Bangor University. After four years I am moving to a new gig as Senior Lecturer at Swansea University. Excited, thrilled and energised to get things done, but also on a reflective mood about moving on.

Moving on is not difficult and should not be so either. It has been fairly straightforward for me. After leaving Portugal almost 10 years ago (yikes!) and passing through Barcelona and Nottingham before landing in Bangor, I am more than used to change. It probably helps that the migrant spirit runs in the family: 3 of my 4 surnames are not Portuguese and my father did his law degree in Ireland where his brother still lives. It runs in the family.

But this post is more than simply about living abroad. It is about change in general: accepting, embracing and looking for change. Working in academia affords us the possibility of moving around a few times during our career, as long as we are willing to do so. I have taken benefit of such changes over the years while allowing a few nice trains to pass by without stopping.

It is probably beneficial from a selfish career perspective to move every so often. Many people have always told me the only moment we have leverage over our employes is when we are appointed. After we sign on the dotted line, getting anything is extremely difficult. So the more we move, the more opportunities we have to improve our lot.

Moving on has its costs, particularly when you have a family or at least a significant other. My better half moved to Swansea over 3 years ago and we have been commuting weekly ever since, spending either 7 hours driving or 11 hours with our royal bums on trains. Not pleasant and very tiring. Stressful does not even start to describe it.

Luck had it that I was able to move to Swansa, thus making this particular moving on a no brainer in personal terms. Going home every night is priceless. But this move is more than simply a personal move. Professionally it makes sense to move every so often as with every passing year the opportunities to learn diminish. I learned immensely every time I moved to a new job. Had I stayed in my first law firm, my professional profile and even my personality would be a lot narrower and not for the better.

Exposure to new challenges, people and work methods forces us to adapt and devise new solutions. It is like a new opportunity to rebuild the professional scaffolding where our work rests, in a different way from our previous efforts. A new blank canvas where to project dreams, ambitions, frustrations or mistakes. It also allows institutions to renew themselves, improve working culture and benefit from fresh ideas.

I am very different from the Pedro who walked into Bangor 4 years ago, hopefully for the better. What I will not be in Swansea is the same Pedro I was in Bangor. Different challenges, different people, different solutions.

Happy moves.