Ryan Richter and Philip Bennetts QC, Co-Chairs of the Employed Barristers’ Committee

Making up around 20% of the practising Bar, the approximately 3,500 barristers who are employed work in an astonishingly diverse range of settings. Each brings their own independent legal thinking and advice to the challenges put before them in guiding, advising and representing their employers. But who are these people and what do they do? Members of the employed Bar regularly instruct our colleagues in chambers, so you may well already know several employed barristers, but we hope this article in Counsel magazine will help to highlight just some of the work they undertake. The biennial Employed Bar Awards were instituted to recognise and showcase the range of talent and diversity at the employed Bar and, importantly, to help promote the ‘One Bar’ ethos by demystifying the world of the employed barrister.

2020 has been an exceptional year and it has served to highlight that unity across the profession is so important. It is perhaps no surprise to find employed barristers at the forefront of the enormous changes which have hit society in recent months. It is perhaps fitting that the Employed Barrister of the Year, Simon Regis has led from the front, working tirelessly on the government’s response to safeguard public health. We know how hard hit some at the self-employed Bar have been, and many at the employed Bar have faced the enormous challenges of furlough and redundancy. We are delighted that some employers have done what they can to assist our self-employed colleagues with extra advisory work being briefed out and some organisations, like the Crown Prosecution Service, amending their pay structures to allow earlier payments. We recognise that we must all work together, and we hope that reading about the award winners and their work will shine a spotlight on the work of the employed Bar. It is with great sadness that we were not be able to celebrate these achievements at the awards event which had been planned, but very many congratulations to all of the winners.  

The awards have eight categories this year, spanning the range of work that the employed Bar undertakes. Alongside categories recognising the work done in the public sector and in law firms, other areas demonstrate how employed barristers have sometimes to take the law right onto the front line, as the work of the winner of the Armed Forces category, Commander Eunice Marland shows. This year included a new Legal Team of the Year category, spotlighting the role employed barristers play as part of a team, often working alongside self-employed colleagues. A substantial number of very high quality nominations were received. We went through several rounds of judging, online of course, until the final judging panel that comprised, among others, Chair of the Bar Amanda Pinto QC and Jonathan Jones, the Treasury Solicitor, determined the overall winners.

Employed Barrister of the Year & Outstanding Employed Barrister in the Public Sector

Simon Regis: Deputy Director, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Legal Advisers (DCMSLA), Government Legal Department (GLD) (call 1997)

The diversity of experience as a government lawyer was, for me, one of the clear attractions of moving into the employed Bar. Since joining HM Customs & Excise Solicitor’s Office in January 2000, I have made full use of the opportunity for movement. It has more than exceeded my expectations and is one of the things I enjoy most about working in government and at GLD. I have the opportunity to be stretched, challenged and in different ways, either through working for new client departments or the varied roles I have undertaken within these, which include litigation, advisory, public inquiry, project management and policy.

If I were ever to write my memoirs, one position which would stand above many others is my time at Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. I need not emphasise how important that public inquiry is -not just to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, but to society at large. To have been involved with the inquiry, even during the more turbulent initial stages, was a positive and uplifting experience and is something I will never forget. 

But why law in the first place? Well, this must be one the cheesiest answers ever given, but it’s so true… as a child I always wanted to be a doctor, but I didn’t get on with biology so that subject got dropped midway through secondary school. Around this time (we’re talking mid-1980s) a new US drama was shown in the UK and I thought, ‘Yes, that’s what I want to do.’ It was glamorous, high powered and many times delved into social issues. Of course, I am talking about LA Law! (I’m waiting for one of the obscure channels to start reruns.)

One of the things that you learn early on working at the employed Bar in government, is the necessity and importance of team working. Even though I made the transition many years ago, I remember it being a little strange, moving from a position where you were expected to be very self-reliant across the board, to a situation where you are actively encouraged to be a team player.

Moving back to the present, and my current role at DCMSLA, I lead a team with a diverse portfolio of culture, sport and gambling matters. There is understandably a strong coronavirus response to the work that my team does, which carries forward from my previous role as a senior lawyer at DHSC Legal Advisers. I led on two major projects there, firstly on the continuity of supply of medicines in the context of EU exit and then on public health response to coronavirus including the delivery of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

I believe that both these major projects fed into my nominations for Outstanding Employed Barrister in the Public Sector and Employed Barrister of the Year. I am obviously immensely proud, honoured and humbled to have won in both categories and I congratulate my fellow nominees. And while this is clearly a recognition of the work that I have done, equally this is recognition of the work undertaken with my colleagues. I worked together with other DHSCLA and GLD colleagues to deliver government objectives - so these are their awards too!

Once again, I would like to thank my colleagues for nominating me, and GLD and the Bar Council for recognising the contribution that members of the employed Bar bring to the profession.

Outstanding Employed Barrister in an NGO

Alison Pickup: Legal Director, Public Law Project (call 2007) 

I did pupillage at Doughty Street Chambers in 2007-2008, with public law and immigration supervisors. Previously I had been a caseworker at the Refugee Legal Centre, so for the first few years my practice was immigration focused, and predominantly asylum cases. As time went on, my practice broadened into wider public law, though always with a focus on migrants’ rights. Between 2012 and 2016 I was involved in a series of test cases on legal aid including acting for the Public Law Project (PLP) in its challenge to the proposed legal aid residence test, which was successful in the Supreme Court in 2016.

I’d known PLP before this, from its flagship annual conference, Judicial Review Trends & Forecasts, and had always been impressed by it. In early 2016 I saw that PLP was advertising for a Legal Director. I was finding the pressures of self-employed practice difficult to manage and had been considering a career break. On the basis that a change can be as good as a break, and knowing what I did about the organisation, I was immediately attracted to the job.

My work at PLP is a mix of management, legal strategy, policy work, training, fundraising and practice. I enjoy the variety of the work – it’s brilliant to be able to combine practice on interesting public law cases with the other aspects of the role. I enjoy being part of a team and the sense that other people have my back. I am in court far less than I was in self-employed practice and in the first couple of years I really missed that. I have plenty of opportunities for written and oral advocacy in different ways, and being responsible for the organisation’s legal strategy is fascinating and challenging. The idea of paid holidays, sick leave and annual appraisals can seem alien to someone who has spent a long time in self-employed practice but it’s definitely easier to maintain a work/life balance.

Driving towards the same goals – PLP’s charitable objects and our organisational strategy – is a particularly rewarding feature of my role. But the best part is my colleagues. I have trained two pupil barristers at PLP and it’s been very rewarding seeing them develop their skills as barristers as members of the PLP team.

Understanding the importance of proactively communicating and supporting our colleagues has been more challenging during the pandemic – you can’t just turn around and ask someone a question or chat to them over a cup of tea – but being proactive about it has helped to create new connections and ways of working. This is important to maintain.

I believe my nomination is a result of PLP’s legal work over the last couple of years, including our intervention in the Supreme Court in Miller/Cherry (the prorogation case). We were the only NGO to be granted permission to intervene. The intervention drew on the work of our Statutory Instruments Filtering and Tracking Project which had been monitoring the process of legislating for Brexit. I developed this project together with our Research Director and we co-supervised the research fellow. As a result, we had something unique to bring to the argument about the legality of prorogation, and I was able to quickly pull together a great team both within PLP and in our external counsel (Tom de la Mare QC and Daniel Cashman) to work on the case.

When I left Chambers to join PLP a lot of colleagues – and professional clients – asked me why I was ‘leaving the Bar’. I felt I had to explain to so many people that I would still be a barrister, but an employed one working within an NGO. It’s wonderful to have the work I’ve done since joining PLP recognised in this way, and it validates my sense that I am still part of the Bar community. 

Outstanding Employed Barrister in a Law Firm

Patrick Rappo: Partner, DLA Piper UK LLP, Corporate Crime and Regulatory Investigations Group (call 1995)

Not really knowing what to do at university, I stumbled into law as it was a professional qualification that could lead to a job. Being an argumentative soul, I decided to become a barrister as it promised more independence, courtroom advocacy, and the ability to focus on a career in crime; without having to complete law firm seats in which I had zero interest!

I was a self-employed barrister specialising in crime at 9 Bedford Row for 13 years, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, working six if not seven days a week, regular legal aid cuts, and more and more of my work being conducted by the CPS and in-house teams, meant that I started looking at my options. I was involved in serious mortgage fraud cases and one of the largest counterfeiting cases, leading to a new £20 note being created, which piqued my interest in ‘big fraud’. After much soul-searching, I moved to the Serious Fraud Office, as an ‘Investigative Lawyer’ when it was re-styling itself after the highly critical De Grazia report.

Life at the SFO was very exciting, as it was undergoing significant transformation. The cases were enormous, involving cutting edge legal points, international cooperation, working side by side with investigators and accountants, and drafting and enforcing new laws such as the deferred prosecution agreement legislation.

After six years, I once again started looking at my options and after many discussions, I joined the London office of an international law firm as a partner, to develop its Anti-Corruption practice. Game keeper now turned poacher! This I did for five years, building the team from just me to 10 people, before being approached by my current firm, DLA Piper, to join its Corporate Crime and Regulatory Investigations practice.

No one day is the same. I do a mix of criminal law advisory matters, compliance program design, investigations into red flags and whistleblower complaints, and responding to law enforcement enquiries, including the SFO, FCA, DOJ, and World Bank. It’s a broad mix of work, encompassing fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption and tax evasion.

One of the reasons I joined DLA Piper was the opportunity to work across the globe. Another was its commitment to pro bono, such as the Welfare Benefits Clinic which I have helped set up, which involves written and oral advocacy in appeals against government refusals to pay employment support allowances. So far, we have had a 100% success rate, providing real assistance to extremely vulnerable individuals.

Most recently I have been defending in the SFO prosecution of Barclays Bank and four of its senior directors for an alleged fraud on the market during the 2008 global financial crisis; the highest value fraud case brought to trial by the SFO to date. This was a factually and legally complex case: involving applications to the High Court for a voluntary bill of indictment when the bank was dismissed from the case, to an appearance in the Court of Appeal after the first trial, where the SFO successfully appealed the terminatory rulings for the individuals. Eventually, after many years’ hard labour, and the end of the second trial, the jury acquitted all the defendants in February 2020.  

Overall I have now been at the employed Bar for 12 years and have worked to showcase opportunities for barristers outside of chambers - as a member of the Employed Bar Committee of the Bar Council, a Chair of the Bar Association of Commerce Finance & Industry (BACFI) and as a Bencher at Gray’s Inn.

I continue to be impressed with the Bar Council’s work to unite barristers under the One Bar banner. These awards are a part of that process and a recognition of the esteem in which the employed Bar is now held. I am deeply honoured to have been nominated, although the award really belongs to the whole DLA Piper team and the counsel who worked on the case with me.

Outstanding Employed Barrister in Commerce, Finance and Industry

Adrian Berrill-Cox: Manager, Legal, Enforcement at the Financial Conduct Authority (call 1986)

I first decided to become a barrister having spent the long holidays home from school watching Rumpole of the Bailey and Crown Court on the television. As I got older and found out more about what would be involved, the idea of becoming a barrister seemed more and more attractive. This being 40 years ago, and I was at a school for disabled children, my teachers were not tremendously encouraging. But I managed to scrape some A-levels together and get off to Reading University and thereafter was called by the Inner Temple in 1986.

Despite warnings that a court practice was not practical from an electric wheelchair I decided I had to try, and I'm indebted to Dick Hayden (2 Dr Johnson's Buildings) and David Mole (4-5 Gray's Inn Square) for affording me pupillages. It turned out however that the warnings were well founded and that, in retrospect, I was probably 10 years too early in trying to practise at the self-employed Bar. Although I was not able to practise from chambers, I do not for one minute regret having tried to do so. It was 1988 (Black Wednesday) and a career in the City was tricky, so I went to the Bank of England as a banking supervisor and followed that function to the Financial Services Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) thereafter.

I work in the legal department in the enforcement division at the FCA. I am one of six managers in a department of 50 or so lawyers dealing with contentious financial regulatory law. My particular areas are advocacy in smaller tribunal cases, dealing with refusals of applications for authorisations, and change of control and civil litigation arising from unauthorised activity and scams.

Settling down into a large organisation with a well-defined hierarchy was difficult (it was very painful learning 'Bank style' from my first boss) but the advantages soon became apparent and have led me to a long and rewarding career. I do sleep easier at night knowing that I am 'on the side of the angels' and working with a team of highly competent and professional lawyers who think the same way. The ability both to rely upon others and to help others in my immediate circle is a source of comfort, and also reassurance that we are doing the best job we possibly can. In common with most barristers, I suspect I find the most rewarding aspects of my work are facing up to complex problems and finding good solutions and getting good outcomes in difficult cases.

I don't know who nominated me for this award or why. I am, however, delighted to have been given this award by my peers. I feel that this award not only reflects upon the fact, which was not so clear a few years ago but has now become apparent, that members of the employed Bar are 'proper barristers', just like any others. I'm also pleased that it recognises the value of the work done by employed barristers both generally and, specifically, at the FCA where I am privileged to work with some of the best and most committed lawyers I could hope to have spent my career with.

Outstanding Employed Barrister in the Armed Forces

Eunice Marland: Naval Legal Services – Employment Law Adviser (call 2007)

I am delighted to have been given this award, thank you! It means a lot to me and to the cadre of naval lawyers with whom I serve.

I joined the Navy as a science graduate and served as a logistics officer in a range of ships and establishments. It was not my intention to become a naval lawyer until the opportunity presented itself after about five years’ service. I was selected for legal training and completed the GLD, BVC and a mixed crime and civil pupillage at 23 Essex Street where I learnt the bedrock skills of advocacy and opinion writing which have stood me in good stead in all my roles in the Navy.

I am one among 18 Royal Navy officers who provide all the specialist, in-house advice needed to ensure that the Navy acts lawfully in everything from naval operations overseas, courts-martial, sea training, internal complaints, data protection, you name it. Since being called to the Bar I have advised on all these areas of law – sometimes many of them at the same time! 

One of the stand-out moments of my 20+ years in the Navy, however, was when I deployed as the Head of the Logistics Department in a frigate, HMS RICHMOND, as part of the EU’s Counter-Piracy mission off the coast of Somalia. I was responsible to the Commanding Officer for all life support to the 250 members of the Ship’s company ie stores, food, medical provision etc. The Ship was operating under Rules of Engagement and using arrest and detention policies which I had previously developed and advised upon when I was the Royal Navy’s lawyer in the EU Mission’s headquarters.  It was immensely satisfying to be able to track my advisory work in that HQ into my experience of the frontline.

The variety of work is attractive, but more importantly, the fact that Naval barristers alternate between legal and non-legal roles allows us to bring wide operational and deep professional experience to the legal advice we provide to the Command. 

My current role flowed from having been given the opportunity to study for an LLM in employment law. It’s been a fascinating area to advise in, given that most statutory employment law doesn’t apply to members of the Armed Forces. I weave between the vestiges of royal prerogative, statutory terms of service and administrative law principles which makes the job intellectually stimulating and keeps me on my toes. I have advised on some key personnel policies including the introduction of women into the Royal Marines and the introduction of part-time working for regular Service personnel – both monumental changes to the Armed Forces’ terms of service, intended to support Defence’s desire to do two things: attract the right people into the UK’s Armed Forces and then offer them more personal choice in how they work.

This is a job like no other; it can see you advising on the lawful uses of weapons systems one day, and flying to the Falkland Islands to resolve seemingly intractable personnel issues the next. Never a dull day, and your ‘office’ may be a ship, a submarine or a shore base somewhere in the world or, as many of us are finding out just now, it could just as easily be in your home. It is a lot of fun being a barrister in the Royal Navy and I am delighted that the Bar Council continue to recognise those of us whose careers are ‘a little bit different’ and who are still very much a part of the Bar.  

Outstanding Employed Barrister in Sports

Tim Naylor: Director of Integrity and Regulation at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) (call 2010)

I came to the Bar, having worked briefly in finance after university to help pay student debts, to be a criminal barrister and I was very focused on that. I had a criminal and disciplinary practice at QEB Hollis Whiteman and Apex Chambers in Cardiff, with a niche practice in sports law. A key client was the BHA who I represented in disciplinary panel and licensing committee cases, as well as providing ad hoc legal advice when required. I helped to cover the Head of Regulation role in 2016 while they recruited for that position and found myself thoroughly enjoying the diverse aspects of the role, from managing a team (a new challenge) to implementing change. My daughters had been born a few months earlier, so the pull of financial stability was appealing, as well as being able to focus on sports law and regulatory issues. I still try to stay connected to criminal practice through pro bono work for the Cardiff University Innocence Project. However, it was great to take on a new challenge. I have always been a keen sportsman, and it is amazing to be able to work in sport in my professional life.

I became Director of Integrity and Regulation in 2018 and manage the Legal Regulation and Integrity teams. This includes live monitoring of horse racing and betting markets as well as investigating potential corruption, anti-doping and integrity concerns. I am also a member of the Executive team responsible for managing the organisation as a whole, including the many facets of the work of a major sport’s governing body.

It would have been a significant shock to move from independent practice into a rigid corporate 9-5 environment but the BHA is far from that. Jamie Stier and Brant Dunshea (BHA Chief Regulatory Officers) have always supported my flexible working. The hours are often still long, and the issues arise quickly and often, but that is what makes it such an exciting sport to work in. I miss friends in chambers and the support structure of the robing room, but I have a great team at the BHA and fantastic new colleagues. Teamwork is absolutely embedded in everything we do. 

To anyone thinking of moving to the employed Bar, I would advise them to take the time to consider it. If it is not for you, there is nothing stopping you returning to chambers. Times have changed and we are all working in a variety of ways. I am also a non-executive Director at the Football Association of Wales so have a range of potential career options. I retain links with the self-employed Bar and could always go back.

The most rewarding aspect has been seeing the difference the work makes. We have modernised the Rules of Racing, changed working practices, improved the disciplinary function and advised on crucial safeguarding matters. It is fascinating to piece together the hundreds of regulations, instructions, directions and procedures that are required for what should be, on a basic level, a fairly straightforward athletic competition between thoroughbred horses.

At the Executive level, we have guided the sport through difficult times. The most challenging aspect is that there is no real let up. It is ongoing, all year round. Participants and spectators often have passionate views and might not like certain regulatory decisions. Managing those different opinions and expectations is not always easy, nor is having every decision debated in the media. We have a responsibility to the sport, however, as the governing body and we take that seriously.

There is always more we can do. The pandemic has put the sport and its participants under considerable strain both financially and in terms of physical and mental wellbeing. Recent events have also highlighted the need to look hard at ourselves, our approach to diversity and inclusion, and our responsibility here. I have a platform, hopefully, to work to make change which might not have been open to me at the Bar.

This award reflects the hard work of the whole team at the BHA. Lawyers in sports’ governing bodies do not often get much attention. They have driven so much change and this is well-deserved recognition for what they have achieved.  

Legal Team of the Year

Serious Fraud Office: Camilla de Silva, Laura Haywood, Alex Jayne, William Hotham, Tom Cattee, Matthew Chugg, Sara Chouraqui, Rebecca Dix, Daniel Igra and Georgina Diamanti

Laura Haywood (Case Controller) writes:

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) team investigating Airbus SE won the Legal Team of the Year Award in recognition of its work concluding the SFO’s investigation into Airbus SE by Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). As part of the DPA, Airbus agreed to pay a global, coordinated settlement with the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the US Department of Justice (US DOJ) and the US Department of State totalling 3.6bn euros which was the world’s largest ever fine for corruption offences. The SFO team consisted of approximately 20-25 people and was made up of solicitors, employed barristers, investigators, administrators and accountants. The team members had a broad array of different backgrounds and skills, including experience of the criminal Bar, criminal defence, civil litigation and law enforcement; including as members of the police, intelligence organisations and Ministry of Defence. The team also retained external counsel; James Lewis QC, Allison Clare QC, Katherine Buckle and Mohsin Zaidi.

The diversity of backgrounds in the team truly made it a fantastic case to work on and manage. There can be a tendency in law firms and chambers to hire similar minded/skilled individuals, but the diversity of the SFO team meant we had a whole host of viewpoints and expertise that everyone on the case had an opportunity to learn from. For instance, trainee investigators worked alongside investigators with 20 years’ experience, and solicitors/members of the employed bar who were new to the SFO could work alongside experienced prosecutors and investigators to learn about DPAs and how the SFO works.

I can’t thank the team enough for the commitment and diligence they showed throughout the investigation. We had many a late night working in the office but there was a real sense of being in it together and everyone wanting to contribute their part to ensure success. There were also many highlights, not least spending so much time in Paris at the PNF’s incredible offices and forming new, long lasting relationships, at all levels, with our colleagues in France and the US.

The most challenging part was responding to frequent communication from Airbus’ lawyers. As an international company, the effects of the JIT investigation was felt by it across the globe, and Airbus was conducting its own internal investigation in parallel to that of the JIT.

The Airbus DPA has been referred to as a ‘landmark DPA’ due in part to the sheer size of the global penalty, but also it signals how well international law enforcement can work together to tackle bribery and corruption. I suspect that the team’s ability to achieve both of those aspects led to the award.

The award means an immense amount to me and the team. We are thrilled that our hard work has been recognised and honoured in this way and we are very thankful to the panel for selecting us. Although the DPA process becomes increasingly legal as a corporate proceeds through it, and this is a legal award, the legal work cannot be distinguished from that of the investigatory work. If it were not for the stellar work of our investigators verifying and sourcing new evidence for each of the jurisdictions under investigation, our administrative staff from keeping us able to function and the accountants from assisting in the calculation of the penalty, we wouldn’t have had such a great result. Being a part of the Civil Service, there is less of an internal tradition at the SFO of applying for awards such as this but it is testament to the quality of the team that on the rare occasion that we do apply, we are successful!

The contributions above have been edited to give each award winner equal and balanced coverage. You can, however, read more about the stories behind the awards of Patrick Rappo (Outstanding Employed Barrister in a Law Firm), Tim Naylor (Outstanding Employed Barrister in Sports) and the Serious Fraud Office (Legal Team of the Year). Look out for in-depth interviews with Simon Regis (Employed Barrister of the Year & Outstanding Employed Barrister in the Public Sector), Alison Pickup (Outstanding Employed Barrister in an NGO), Adrian Berrill-Cox (Outstanding Employed Barrister in Commerce, Finance and Industry) and Eunice Marland (Outstanding Employed Barrister in the Armed Forces), which will appear in future issues of Counsel.

Published on 30 July 2020.