Friday, June 15th, 2018
Who are your role models, and why?
Paul Shrubshall. He managed to elevate the clerking/ practice management profession to new levels, and alongside that gave so much of his time to the Institute of Barristers Clerks. In addition working with the late, and legendary, Ron Burley, the Senior Clerk at Brick Court from the late 1940s to early 1990s, was eye opening. If I had a role model at The Bar it would be Sir Sydney Kentridge QC who I cannot recall raising his voice in anger in my time clerking him, but whose searing intellect and incredible humanity made him a great man to work for.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
Being married, having children are wonderful satisfying personal moments. However professional satisfaction has been almost on a daily basis reflecting the continued pre-eminent position of Brick Court throughout mine and Julian Hawes stewardship of Chambers.
If you bumped into a 30-year younger version of yourself, what would you say to him?
I would remind him of the Mark Twain quote. ” I have had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened”.
What’s been your biggest epiphany in your career so far?
Realising that the Member of Chambers who had a computer terminal with Google on it in 1998 wasn’t as mad as we all thought!
What have been some of your biggest obstacles at the Bar and how did you master them?
Obstacles no, but challenges of course many. These have included regulation creep, continual dabbling with court rules and procedures, and I have also found the gradual shift to defensive lawyering a concern. Burley had a great phrase, which was that a client pays for your opinions and not your doubts.
What did your parents do and how did they influence you?
My father was a warehouseman, and mother a homemaker. My mother, in particular, was keen that I made my way in London, and can remember being frogmarched at 17 years of age to the local railway station, and hawked around employment agencies at Liverpool Street. She also made sure we did not drop our vowels! I ended up working as an outdoor clerk at a small firm of solicitors on Bishopsgate, which was my first exposure to the legal world.
What direction are you heading in?
After 32 years in the same institution I am looking at potential new roles, and interesting projects over the coming years. I look forward to a little less intensity, but involvement in stimulating working environments. I have a mini gap year planned in which many itches are to be scratched, and will be refreshed for the new challenges ahead.