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A photo of David Parsons

David, who has been acting as Interim Head of Legal Services since 2017, has been appointed permanently to the role heading the University’s Legal Services Division.

The Director of Legal Services is the most senior legal professional advisor in the academic University. The Director is responsible for providing legal advice on a wide variety of issues affecting the University, from major gifts and partnerships to property law, regulatory compliance, investigations and legal challenges, and interpretation of the University’s Statutes and Ordinances. The Legal Services Division, under David’s interim leadership, was recently a runner-up in awards for in-house legal team of the year.

David read Law as an undergraduate at the University. His first career in the law was as a barrister in chambers at Gray’s Inn, specialising in defamation and advising clients across the media spectrum as diverse as Elton John, the Body Shop and the Daily Mirror. In 1997 he became a solicitor in private practice at a City firm, specialising in intellectual property matters, particularly in the digital field. He then returned with young children to his roots in Cambridge to take up a wide-ranging advisory role with the University in 2002. This role has required him to advise on an extremely diverse breadth of issues which have in recent times included the establishment of the University Primary School, the £85 million gift from the Dolby family to support the Cavendish Laboratory, the legal aspects of the governance changes to enable the merger of Cambridge University Press and Assessment, setting up the University’s Covid Testing Centre in double-quick time, and defending the University against a range of regulatory and legal challenges.

The Registrary, Emma Rampton said: “It is a very great pleasure to see David appointed as Director of Legal Services after his substantial contributions as interim director, particularly during the last two years when his advice in dealing with the myriad unexpected challenges thrown up by the pandemic has been invaluable. The breadth of his legal expertise, his sheer intellectual ability and his deep knowledge of the institution are huge assets to the University, and I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

David comments:  “I am delighted to be appointed to the post of Director of Legal Services. The University is a truly unique and inspiring place to work: new and challenging issues arise daily and the opportunity to support its work both nationally and internationally is a privilege. I look forward to working with the group of outstanding solicitors and administrators who comprise our in-house legal team to develop an even more professional and responsive service to our wide range of clients within the University”.


17 March 2022