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Gregory Mitchell QC

Job title: Silk, 3 Verulam Buildings
Qualifications: Call 1979; QC 1997
Core areas of practice: Commercial litigation, corporate insolvency and banking. 

How do you see the year 2011 for practice at the Bar? 

I know the position of the publicly funded Bar is difficult and is likely to remain so for some time. The position of the specialist Bar, however, is quite different. There is likely to be considerable growth in most specialist fields, in particular commercial, chancery, technology and construction. Asset price deflation, recession and market volatility inevitably lead to a substantial increase in disputes between businesses. 

31 December 2010
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“So… Tell Me About Yourself”

banana skinQC competency interviews can make even the smoothest lawyers trip up, believes James Hutchinson.  

Mark* peers at me over his spectacles, a look of mild horror spreading over his face. He’s an experienced, successful Chancery counsel in his early 40s and everything I expected: smooth talking, confident and urbane. Five minutes earlier, Mark had wafted confidently into his room in chambers. This is a man who spends his life speaking in court or telling the rich and influential what they can and can’t do. And yet here he was: speechless. 

01 October 2010
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QCs’ advocacy skills will be re-assessed

Barristers, including QCs, will be required to undergo a compulsory re-accreditation process every five years under proposals for a new criminal advocacy assurance scheme that is due to begin next July. 

31 August 2010
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Honorary Silks

Nominations for appointment as Queen’s Counsel “honoris causa” (honorary Silk) in Spring 2011 must be returned to the Ministry of Justice (“MoJ”) by 30 July 2010.

30 June 2010
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Mark Ellison QC and Martin Secrett

Names: Mark Ellison QC and Martin Secrett
Positions: Criminal/Fraud Silk and Senior Clerk
Chambers: QEB Hollis Whiteman 

31 May 2010
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Timothy Scott QC & Laura Heaton

Name: Timothy Scott QC     Position: Family Law Silk 

Name: Laura Heaton            Position: Family Law Barrister / Finance Director 

Chambers: 29 Bedford Row 

30 April 2010
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Barristers don’t surf

Tim Kevan takes a break from the Bar to go surfing and write a novel 

One of the joys of being a barrister is that you are self-employed and therefore get a lot more freedom over your own destiny than many might otherwise have in an employed position. Well, that’s in theory at least and I accept that it might sometimes appear illusory when there’s a backlog of papers sitting on your shelf and court days stacked to the horizon. For my part, I practised as a barrister for over ten years at the common law Bar at 1 Temple Gardens (now Temple Garden Chambers) in London and I had been able to use this flexibility to take breaks by the coast to catch the odd wave when the surfing conditions were right. It also meant that I’d had the chance to indulge another hobby—writing—as well as starting a couple of businesses. But as each of these things started to take more time, I eventually decided to make the jump and take a full-time break from the Bar for a while. 

31 March 2010
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129 Queen’s Counsel appointed in 2009-10 competition

THE fourth round of appointments as Queen’s Counsel was announced on 26 February 2010. These appointments are made following consideration by the independent Selection Panel, which recommends who should receive this highly sought-after award. All those appointed have demonstrated excellence in advocacy in the higher courts. Professor Dame Joan Higgins, Chair of the QC Selection Panel, said today: 

‘I have great pleasure at the announcement of these 129 names. I warmly congratulate all those whose appointment has been announced today. It is encouraging to see such a wide variety of advocates among the new appointments. 

The Selection Panel believes that the quality of applications this year was higher than ever. Nevertheless, inevitably, some applicants have had to be disappointed. The standard for appointment is very high. Even if an advocate has not been appointed on this occasion it does not mean that he or she is not a valued and effective practitioner. The Selection Panel would also like to express its warm appreciation to
the 1700 assessors who provided evidence on behalf of one or more applicants and without whom the process could not have worked effectively. All the Panel's decisions have been based solely on the evidence provided by these assessors and by the applicants themselves. I am encouraged that the proportion of successful applicants from an ethnic minority background broadly matches that for white applicants. 

31 March 2010
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A Radical Lawyer in Action

Tom Allen meets Edward Fitzgerald CBE QC—the thorn in the side of successive governments 

“You always hear him before you see him’’ warns the smiling receptionist at Doughty Street Chambers. “He’s not always great with time keeping, but don’t worry. We’ll find him.” She glances around. “He must be somewhere. Has anyone seen Edward?” People rummage through rooms, as if looking for a shoe or a belt but there is no immediate sign. Then a door slams, a voice booms and there is laughter. Edward Fitzgerald CBE QC has been located. 

28 February 2010
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Lawyers at Long On

Which lawyers have played first class cricket? Daniel Lightman investigates 

There is a long tradition of lawyer-cricketers. Perhaps the first was William Byrd (1674–1744). Born in Virginia, where his father was an early settler from England, he was sent to English public school and went on to be called to the Bar and join the Inner Temple. In 1704, on his father’s death, Byrd returned to Virginia to take over his family’s estates, and is said to have introduced cricket there. Between 1709 and 1712 William Byrd kept a secret diary, the entry for 25 April 1709 recording: “I rose at 6 o’clock and read a chapter in Hebrew. About 10 o’clock Dr Blair, and Major and Captain Harrison came to see us. After I had given them a glass of sack we played cricket. I ate boiled beef for my dinner. Then we played at shooting with arrows and went to cricket again till dark.” 

28 February 2010
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Chair’s Column

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Seeking a bright future for the Bar

Sam Townend KC explains the Bar Council’s efforts towards ensuring a bright future for the profession

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