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06 January 2016

Charles Russell Speechlys Senior Counsel recognised in New Year honours list for services to further education

Kate O’Rourke, Senior Counsel at Charles Russell Speechlys, has received an MBE for services to further education in the New Year honours list as Vice Chair of City and Islington College’s governing body.

Kate has been a member of the College’s governing body since 1996, becoming Vice Chair in 1998.

Her legal professional background helped to lead and direct the College through its 10 year accommodation strategy which ended in 2005, and to the achievement of outstanding status by Ofsted in 2008.

Despite her focus on strategic and governance issues Kate has always ensured that the needs and voice of students are put first. As Vice Chair of the governing body, Kate has acted as the champion of adult learners and is an advocate of second chance learning.

On an annual basis she has attended and awarded prizes to many of the College’s Access to Higher Education adult learners.

She said: "I feel very privileged to have been part of the College for so long as it has given me wonderful opportunities to work with great people, and for such a great enterprise. Receiving an MBE is just the cherry on top of the ice cream. "

After qualifying as a solicitor in Australia, Kate worked for three years in Sydney before moving to New York to work for the Australian Consulate. After a year in the United States she moved to London and re-qualified as an English solicitor.

At Charles Russell Speechlys, she advises businesses and individuals on protecting and enforcing their trademarks, domain names, designs and copyright, and she is the Vice President of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.

Kate has also carried out a number of other voluntary roles.

From 2004 to 2011 she was a board member of the Clean Break Theatre Company, a charity that gives female offenders the opportunity to perform, and has previously been a Member of the Arts Council (London), the Radio Authority and the Consumer Panel of OFCOM.

Graham Drummond, Assistant Principal – Policy and Governance, said "Kate has been a stalwart Vice Chair of the governing body, and chair of the College’s Search and Governance Committee. She has insisted on procedures to be reviewed regularly and followed to the letter, to ensure that nothing but excellence is accepted. Kate is a model governor who is passionate about the College, and is a role model for future female leaders. "

Christopher Page, Senior Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys said: "We are delighted for Kate that her fantastic work has been recognised in the New Year honours list with this accolade. Kate’s dedication and passion are clear in all that she does. "