Who? Joanna Blackburn, employment head at City firm Mishcon de Reya.

Why is she in the news? Acting in the Supreme Court for Krista Bates van Winkelhof, formerly a partner at international firm Clyde & Co, who claims she was unfairly dismissed for making whistleblowing allegations against the managing partner of its Tanzanian arm.  

She also alleges sex discrimination.

The Court of Appeal ruled in 2012 that, as a partner, she was effectively self-employed and so was not entitled to protection under employment legislation. However, the Supreme Court subsequently granted her leave to appeal. The appeal, scheduled for 24 March, could set a precedent to allow partners protection under whistleblowing laws.

Clyde & Co said it strongly denies all claims made by Bates van Winkelhof.

Thoughts on the case: ‘The case could have huge significance not only for law firm partners, but partners in accountancy firms and financial services as well. They all have a professional obligation to report wrongdoing, but in so doing could lose their jobs without legal redress. It is also in the public interest that they should expose misconduct.’

Why become a lawyer: ‘I wanted the intellectual challenge of working with people to find solutions to their tricky problems.’

Career high: ‘This case. It’s hugely exciting to be involved in a case that could change the legal landscape.’

Career low: ‘I was newly qualified and had just won a case for my client. The defeated claimant tried to punch me as we left the court, but missed and hit my client instead.’