Lucy McCormick

1.      Where do you practise?

I practise out of chambers in London. However, I travel to courts up and down the country on a daily basis - it wouldn't be unusual to find myself going to, say, Preston, Hastings, the High Court and the Isle of Wight in the same week.

2.      What area do you specialise in?

I have a wide-ranging commercial and common law practice, with particular emphasis on property, insolvency and PI. As a relatively junior practitioner, I consume most areas of law with equal relish - in the normal course of things, I will find myself specialising more as I become more senior.

3.      What was your route into the profession?

I did History at Oxford, followed by the Law Conversion and the Bar Course. Before pupillage, I picked up some experience at the Financial Markets Law Committee at the Bank of England and as a Judicial Assistant at the Court of Appeal.

4.      What attracted you to the Bar?

The adrenaline kick of responsibility. As a barrister, you have to make a lot of the tough decisions: Settle or fight? Higher or lower? This approach or that approach? You rise and fall on your own merits, with no safety net - if you aren't any good, you won't get any clients and you will be eating a lot of cold baked beans from a can.

5.      What is the best thing about your career?

It's a cliché, but the advocacy. Oral or written, nothing compares to the art of coaxing a judge down your train of thought, or, better still, changing their mind.

6.      What is the worst thing about your career?

Barristers have a well-earned reputation for being flaky with their social life. A last minute brief comes in and you find yourself doing an all-nighter - and there goes your dinner party/night out. I think that is why barristers often socialise a great deal with other barristers - we know not to take it personally!  

7.      What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring barrister?

Know your audience. This really applies at all levels. With applications, above all, research your chambers, and your interview panel too if possible. In your early career, aim your advice at the solicitor, but if you really want to impress set it out clearly enough to be digestible by the lay client.  If you are the fifth case of the day in front of a weary district judge, be brief, pragmatic and don't irritate them by showboating. Even if you are at the Court of Appeal, check at what level the LJ's would like you to pitch it - judges can't all be specialists at everything.