Solicitor and senior lecturer, University of Law
I genuinely wanted to help people. Growing up in the 1980s was empowering. We had a woman prime minister and a new wave of women making their mark all over the world, but very few women lawyers. I wanted to make my mark.
I am inspired by the people I work with, from tutors such as Bill Bowring, who taught me human rights law, to my initial practice as a trainee solicitor.
Right from the start of my training I was involved in important and interesting work. As a trainee corporate/commercial lawyer for a large music company my first case was conducting the discovery work on a high-profile case against Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB. I found important documents that helped us part-win a case concerning licence fees. That case taught me that the groundwork in legal proceedings is often the most important part of the case.
Being reprimanded by a judge in my first appearance in the Crown court was hard but I picked myself up and went on to win that application for my client.
Anyone trying to get into the industry now needs to have more than just legal knowledge. They need to understand client relations, marketing, how to read accounts and so on. Therefore, getting University of Law students ready to succeed in the highly competitive industry and to have a prosperous career is challenging but extremely rewarding.
I’ve been lucky to have practised in a number of different areas such as intellectual property, company, contract and criminal law. I always dip into that knowledge in practice.
Having such a varied legal background, as well as still practising law, means I can advise my students on career choices.
Every time I win a trial it’s a highlight. I represented a client in a seven-hander case involving drugs importation and dealing. Imran Khan was representing a few of the co-defendants, but I was the only one who got bail for my client. Imran rang to congratulate me.
Clients who have been mistreated by the system are the hardest sort. They tend to find it difficult to trust their lawyer.
Every person should be able to access the law as a sword to fight their case and/or a shield to defend themselves. With increases in court fees and cuts in legal aid, this rule of law only seems to be available to the very poor or privileged few.
The profession is getting much better at adapting to suit the changing legal environment, including education. We constantly review our courses to ensure we equip our students with the skills and experience that future lawyers need.
Specialised lawyers provide the best advice for their area. However, we need to bear in mind that niche specialisations require broad commercial awareness in order to give full and balanced legal advice.