Sue Carr QC, Barrister, 4 New Square
How long have you been working for your current company?
I have been a barrister at 2 Crown Office Row, now 4 New Square since 1988.
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
I took silk in 2003 and became a recorder in 2009. I achieved both through the normal channels of competitive application.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
Becoming the first female chairman of the Professional Negligence Bar Association, the first female chairman of the Complaints Committee of the Bar and the first female head of chambers (76 members including 22 Qcs).
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
Managing the obligations that I have as head of chambers – strategic as well as administrative, together with a full-time practice. I manage by delegating when possible but also by allocating set periods in the day to deal with chambers matters.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
Very difficult at times, but easy at others. Taking short breaks rather than large blocks of time away helps, and seizing the moment when, for example, a trial settles unexpectedly.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
Not really – though I mentor others now and find that relationship highly rewarding. I was supported by my pupil supervisors and have always received good and ready advice from my clerks.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
Yes to both. Disadvantage: lay clients sometimes need to be convinced/reassured about being represented by a woman. To learn that is very dispiriting, but it happens. Advantage: easier to stand out and be remembered. Plus multi-tasking is a strength!
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
Flexible working hours and recognition by organisations of the benefits of home working. Recognition of under-representation of women in the higher levels of the profession and judiciary.