What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I am a barrister at Tanfield Chambers. Each day is very different, but I represent people - usually parents or separating couples - in court at least twice per week. The rest of my time is spent preparing cases, providing legal advice or researching some (usually arcane!) point of law. I also keep up to date with new law and deliver lectures or provide commentary on matters I think are interesting or controversial. My specialisms are matrimonial finance, trusts of land and private children disputes, but I also advise on contested probate and inheritance act matters.
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
I have been a tenant at Tanfield Chambers since being invited to join in 2010. The set at which I did my pupillage, with two other pupils, did not take any of us on, so we all (successfully) applied elsewhere for tenancy via a 'third six' pupillage. I was a late starter in the legal profession (I retrained when I was in my early thirties), having been a database designer and an actor beforehand. I've acted badly in some terrible short films and (rather better) in some excellent stage shows. I have designed some awesome databases, too!
What are the people you work for/with like? Any memorable stories?
My colleagues in chambers - both barristers and staff - are very good company indeed, and several of them are extremely witty. Several of us climbed Snowdon together this year, and Tanfield always enters teams for the Great City Run and the London Legal Walk, both of which are fun to do together.
What is the best and worst part of the day for you?
I love those moments in court where a judge is suggesting a way forward, resolving a problem or asking questions of counsel, and the 'answer' to a particular family problem is emerging. I obviously like 'winning' too, but family law is not so cut and dried, and sometimes the best outcome (the 'win'), in the long term at least, is a negotiated outcome.
The worst part of the day is when a court hearing means I have to travel back through somewhere like Waterloo or Victoria in the evening rush hour to get back to chambers, or when I forget to drink enough water at court...