Atkin Chambers Barristers
My time as a junior tenant (in my first few years of practice) was split into two broad groups of work: work on larger cases, where I was one of a number of Counsel involved; and work on smaller cases, in which I was instructed on my own. The former usually involved long periods of preparation followed by long periods in trial; often, I would work on discrete areas of advice, so that I was the first point of contact for the solicitors and experts involved. This gave me the opportunity to get to grips with a particular technical case or legal argument or line of factual inquiry. The smaller cases had their own, slightly different, challenges: from dealing with an awkward client to cross-examining on the colour of paint in certain photographs (a forensic triumph which, I feel, never quite received the recognition which it deserved…). As time has moved on and I have found my name inching away from the bottom of chambers’ board, that division has remained much the same, with the smaller cases becoming a little larger and with my role in the larger cases expanding to include trial advocacy.
One of the most noteworthy features of practice has been the global reach of the cases in which Atkin Chambers is involved – I found I was dealing with cases with an international flavour from the very start, and my work has since involved clients from, and disputes relating to, a number of different jurisdictions including Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
I enjoy the mixture of collegiality and individuality in chambers: while one is undeniably working on one’s own account, there is always someone to whom to chat about a particularly tricky point of law or the like. Chambers continues to be a supportive environment too – I was, for example, lucky enough to be able to take up the post of judicial assistant at the Court of Appeal to the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, for three months in early 2000, which I found a very fulfilling experience.