“I am a QC in Chambers and I am a ‘home grown’ tenant, by which I mean that I did my pupillage in Chambers and I have been here ever since getting tenancy, over 20 years ago now. My path to Chambers and law was not the usual one.
I went to a local comprehensive school in Wales. I did not study law at university but veterinary medicine, at Cambridge. After completing that course, though I knew I did not want to be a vet, I accepted a post at Bristol Vet School. I did not feel I was really a qualified vet without having practised at least for a time. I was a junior fellow at Bristol for two years, and passed further professional exams, and won a Wellcome PhD position. However I eventually realised the whole world of science and medicine was not for me. I took umpteen psychometric tests which kept coming up with ‘lawyer’, and I applied to City University for the law conversion course. I was offered pupillage in Chambers after an assessed mini-pupillage. I became a tenant in 1997.
I have deliberately kept my practice away from clinical negligence, and maintained a broad range of work areas. I do cases involving all professions’ negligence: lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, brokers, land agents, construction & planning consultants. I also do a lot of construction work and adjudications. I often act in regulatory matters before many different tribunals – an area of work that I targeted as I could see the scope for practice at handling witnesses and experts. I do commercial work, particularly involving supply chains of goods. I am qualified for Northern Ireland, Singapore and Dubai.
Besides my practice, I am also actively involved with Equality & Diversity issues via TECBAR’s committee, and I started this SBA (Specialist Bar Association)’s initiative for women’s networking events. I attend the TCC (Technology & Construction Court) Users’ committee, and women in arbitration events.
Throughout my time in Chambers, I have been able to direct my practice with guidance and support. I have had two children, and work almost entirely from home, with a Chambers-based ‘hot desk’. My clerks manage my work diary to fit around the school terms and school event diary so that I can be both parent and full time barrister effectively. Chambers has supported me through changes in my life and continues to do so. The support comes from my fellow members of Chambers too – particularly when taking maternity leave, and dealing with work load.
More than anything else, my fellow members of Chambers are an inspiring, varied, interesting and delightful group of people, as well as an exceptionally supportive, collegiate community.”
“I went to a local comprehensive school in Derby, and studied law as an undergraduate at King’s College, London. I wasn’t at all sure what I wanted to ‘do’ at that stage – prior to studying law I had wanted to become a doctor, or a famous musician (one can dream…) and it was whilst doing the BCL in Oxford that I first started to seriously consider becoming a barrister. I then spent a year as a research assistant in the Law Commission (slightly incongruously, but very enjoyably, in the criminal team) before doing the Bar Vocational Course and coming to chambers as a pupil in 1999. I had done a mini pupillage here whilst at the Law Commission and had been struck by how interesting and varied the work was, and how inspiring, yet down to earth, the people were.
I have a varied commercial, insurance and professional liability practice. I particularly enjoy the work I do acting for other barristers in professional negligence or disciplinary proceedings. I also sat for several years as a judge on the Bar Tribunal panel which enabled me to see things ‘from the other side of the fence’.
I combine a busy practice with a busy family life as the mother of two boys and have always had excellent support in managing and combining the two.
I consider myself very lucky indeed to be in a chambers full of talented, varied, intelligent and fun people, with whom I enjoy spending time. There is a genuine open door policy here, and it is a supportive and friendly environment. The work is rewarding and interesting but can be challenging and stressful. Knowing that there are plenty of barristers to chat something over with, or run a point past, makes a big difference.“
“I practised as a solicitor for many years before joining the Bar. I have found that a career at the Bar enables me to combine the different areas of law that I most enjoyed as a solicitor.
After studying Law with French Law at Oxford, I trained as a solicitor at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. I spent eight years at Freshfields, where I qualified into the Litigation Department. Whilst at Freshfields I had the opportunity to spend time in-house on secondment at the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where I worked on anti-doping and sports corruption matters and which provided a valuable insight into life as an in-house lawyer. I continued my sports law work at the boutique firm, Onside Law, where I was made a Partner and Head of Litigation. I then spent two years at Mishcon de Reya as a Legal Director before joining the Bar. I also spent time in Switzerland as the Legal Counsel to the Independent Commission set up to investigate doping and corruption in cycling and sat on a government review panel for UK Anti-Doping.
At the Bar my practice includes commercial litigation and arbitration, as well as sports law. The Bar provides the freedom to combine different practice areas. Sports law includes a mix of disciplinary work (for example charges for doping, match-fixing or bringing a sport into disrepute) and, essentially, commercial disputes. Further, allegations of fraud regularly arise in both non-sport and sports cases. Whilst these practice areas complement each other, working in different areas also provides variety. This might include attending a disciplinary hearing at short notice, injunctions or drafting a range of submissions and pleadings. Whilst at the Bar I have had the opportunity to work on a range of interesting cases, including acting for Alex Hales and Daniel Sturridge in defending disciplinary charges, prosecuting disciplinary charges against Nathan Hughes for the RFU, acting on a $900 million fraud case in the High Court and prosecuting match-fixing cases at hearings in Miami. I often travel for work and my cases regularly involve working in French and Spanish.“
“I came to the Bar through a slightly atypical route. I grew up in France and attended an international school. I undertook a BA in Law at Cambridge University, before undertaking a Masters in Political Economics at Sciences Po, Paris, and an LLM at Georgetown University, D.C. That summer, I sat the New York bar and then began work as an associate in the International Arbitration team of Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton in Paris.
After an enriching time working with various partners on both French and English language arbitrations in Paris, I decided to apply for the Bar. I wanted to be able to develop my advocacy skills and my own practice at an earlier stage of my career. I also wanted to get a good grasp of a domestic legal system to complement my arbitration work. I therefore undertook the BPTC while working as a consultant for the World Bank, before commencing pupillage and being taken on as a tenant.
The Bar is a fantastically stimulating and rewarding career. There are inevitable pressures and long hours that come with it, but it is a unique opportunity to shape your own career at a very early stage of working life. It combines intellectual stimulation, advocacy, and the management of (your own!) business, so you are never short of things to do. It is also a very collegiate environment, as most barristers appreciate the difficulties that are inherent in the profession. 4 New Square is a particularly friendly, inclusive and well-run set – which makes the job all the more pleasant.“
“I aspired to become a Barrister from a young age. What initially attracted me to the Bar was the advocacy, the intellectual challenge and the opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives. The more I found out about the profession the more I thought it would suit my skills and character.
Barristers come from a range of backgrounds. What matters is what you are capable of and whether you have the right temperament. Don’t let stereotypes deter you from coming to the Bar.
I went to a local comprehensive school in Durham. My first real exposure to ‘the law’ was work experience at the Crown Prosecution Service, which I organised myself. Visiting various Magistrates’ Courts gave me a flavour of advocacy in the context of real life.
After school, I read law at Cambridge. I also completed a range of mini-pupillages and became increasingly interested in commercial law. As well as the quality of the work, what initially attracted me to 4 New Square was the relatively informal and supportive atmosphere.
Prior to pupillage, I spent a year working as a Judicial Assistant in the Court of Appeal. Since becoming a tenant, my work has been both challenging and rewarding. I have particularly enjoyed developing a strong international dimension to my practice, which has taken me to the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man.“