This term we are dedicating Tuesday to Q&A's with our incredible lecturers. Our first post features the truly wonderful Amanda Millmore - moot connoisseur.
1) Alma mater?
I was lucky enough to read Law in Cambridge (Christ's College).
2) Who inspires you?
The marvellous Baroness Hale is pretty inspiring, as she speaks such sense and with such understanding of the lives of ordinary people when you read her judgments and speeches. Although, as my Family Law students will discover, I have quite a long list of favourite family law judges. When I was at University it was Helena Kennedy (now a Baroness, but then she was just a charismatic barrister) - who inspired me to write my dissertation and pursue a career at the criminal Bar.
3) What made you want to pursue a career in law?
It sounds awfully trite, but it is genuinely true...I studied "The Merchant of Venice" in English when I was 14. My brilliant teacher had us enact a courtroom scene; I spent hours preparing my questions and got to cross-examine Shylock and I loved every moment of it. I was told by a careers teacher that they didn't think a career at the Bar was for people like me, which spurred me on even more to prove them wrong (stubbornness has its benefits).
4) Did you take the traditional path or did you have a career before law?
Very traditional in law, less so in academia - Law degree, Bar Vocational Course (now BPTC), called to the Bar (Lincoln's Inn), pupillage and then tenancy both at 4 King's Bench Walk Chambers in London, career break with children when I established an online CPD website for lawyers, teaching A-Level Law & then teaching at the University of Reading.
5) Career highlight?
So many, but 2 cases stand out for me: Winning a High Court international child abduction case to get a child returned to the UK from Italy before Mr. Justice Singer. Successfully changing the residence of a child in the High Court in a long-running implacable hostility children case - this was such an important decision for my client and took 2 years of patience and numerous hearings.
6) Legal journey low point ?
Pupillage rejections were hard. I remember getting through to the final 4 at 23 Essex Street (Criminal specialist set) and being rejected, but with hindsight my pupillage at 4 KBW was better for me as it was in a general common law set, so I ended up with more diverse practice areas (family & personal injury too). Losing my first jury trial :(
7) Best thing about your job?
2 things: Students - I love that moment when someone "gets it" and seeing students flourish is hugely rewarding. Plus, I get paid for talking! I get to stand up in front of hundreds of students and talk about something that I love.
8) A Significant career achievement?
Having a High Court Judge write compliments on my legal aid form in a complex domestic violence case urging the Legal Aid Agency to recognise the difference my representation had made.
9) What would you be doing now if a career in law was not an option?
Probably teaching something else, I always loved history and maths.
10) A piece of advice for our students?
Sometimes the best things happen when you least expect them; not getting one opportunity can often lead to something even better!