Who? Harriet Wistrich, 47-year-old solicitor in the civil department of London firm Birnberg Peirce & Partners, who specialises in actions against the police and other detaining authorities.

Why is she in the news? She is one of a team from Birnberg Peirce which is representing the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the 27-year-old Brazilian electrician shot dead by police officers after they mistook him for one of the 21 July would-be suicide bombers. The Metropolitan Police was found guilty last week of breaking health and safety laws when officers pursued and shot Mr de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in south London on 22 July 2005. The Met was fined £175,000 plus £385,000 costs.

Although the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) handled the health and safety trial, Ms Wistrich and colleagues are acting for the family during the forthcoming inquest into Mr de Menezes' death.

Background: After studying for a degree in politics and philosophy, Ms Wistrich opted for a career change in the 1990s after helping to prepare domestic violence cases. She undertook a conversion course and completed her legal practice course at Westminster University in 1995. She trained with Winstanley Burgess and qualified in 1997 before joining Birnberg Peirce five years ago.

Route to the case: The case came to the firm's partner, Gareth Peirce, who is 'obviously very well known', via a friend of the de Menezes family. Ms Peirce still had input into the case, but delegated to Ms Wistrich and other members of the team.

Thoughts on the case: 'The important thing is the inquest. That is where the family will have a chance to participate in proceedings. Their role so far - the CPS prosecuted the health and safety trial - has been as spectators and that has been very frustrating for them. The most important thing is really just to be able to explore all the evidence thoroughly. The health and safety prosecution did not explain what happened in the tube carriage, what the firearms team were told or the briefing by officers beforehand... it did not look at the mechanism and causation of death.'

Dealing with the media: During the hearing Ms Wistrich took issue with a number of stories about Mr de Menezes. She says: 'I was not complaining about the media - it was the defence team choosing to drag out claims and their interpretation of what happened in the tube. The media coverage was a bit overwhelming as there was so much interest... It is about asking the right questions... [it would be easy to] get carried away with Sir Ian Blair and lose sight of what and where things went wrong. I don't want the case to just become a political football which loses sight of the key issues.'

Anita Rice