Work Life Quiz: Brie Stevens-Hoare, Hardwicke

What’s your favourite film? I’m torn between Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd and Love Actually.


Brie (Michelle) Stevens-Hoare
Brie (Michelle) Stevens-Hoare

What was your first-ever job?

Shop assistant and general dogsbody in a fashion shop in the Butt’s Shopping Centre in Reading. I worked nine and a half hours for a total of £9.50.

What was your worst experience as a trainee/pupil?

It’s hard to choose between following my male pupil supervisor unthinking into the gents’ loos at Snaresbrook Crown Court, or hearing an opponent tell my pupil supervisor that I could go into the judge’s room to hear the discussion they were about to have if I sat in his lap.

What time do you usually leave the office?

Almost always about 30 minutes after I plan to.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you have been?

My fantasy job would have been designing roller coasters – and testing them, of course.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Children of the Revolution by T.Rex.

Who’s your hero and why?

Erin Pizzey, founder of the UK’s  first women’s refuge in Chiswick in 1971. She tackled society’s desire to deny the existence of domestic violence head-on, addressed the problem and raised the issue in a political context.

What’s the best thing about your job?

My favourite bits are  cross-examining people and an engaged, challenging tribunal.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Preparing for a trial only to have it settle at the last minute. It has to happen when it’s in the client’s interests, but it is unbelievably frustrating.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake to date?

It took me almost 18 months of pupillage in different places to work out I was not a criminal advocate and didn’t want to be. It then took me another 18 months to work myself into the sort of practice I really wanted.

What car do you drive?

A yellow Mini with a black roof – what else could follow a pink Beetle?

What book are you reading?

The Book of Dave by Will Self. Wonderfully well-written, thought-provoking and irreverent, as you’d expect from him. 

What’s your favourite children’s book?

The Godfather. Well, I was 11 when I read it. If you want a traditional children’s book, I guess that would be The Hobbit.

What’s the most interesting case you’ve worked on?

On a human level it would be an Inheritance Act claim, where the protagonists on one side were the deceased’s wife and her adult children,  and on the other his mistress and her 38-year-old son by him. The deceased had managed to maintain a double life for 45 years. The wife and her children never knew the mistress and her son existed. When they learned of the mistress they were convinced she’d had all the money. Unfortunately for her, she’d put the house she’d paid for in joint names with the deceased. So they went after ‘his’ share of her house. It was a stark example of how people try to use litigation to resolve all sorts of things that have nothing to do with it and cannot be resolved. Watching both women get a more complete picture of the man they had devoted themselves to was painful but fascinating.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?

I once managed 54 hours trying to clear everything that came in last minute  before going on holiday. 

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?

My digital camera. Then, depending on the terrain, either my motorbike or a bungee so I could rig up my own bungee jump.

If a movie was made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

Tilda Swinton.  She has red hair. I know the similarity ends there, but you can dream, can’t you?

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)

During pupillage I was awarded the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s certificate of appreciation for trial training given to trainee CID officers at Hendon. I got a Blue
Peter  badge at age eight for developing a winter cake for birds. I was elected chair of Reading Abortion Rights Campaign at the age of 16.

CV

Name:  Brie (Michelle) Stevens-Hoare

Chambers: Hardwicke

Title: Barrister

Lives:  Camberwell, London

Education:           

1982-85: London School of Economics (LLB)

1985-86: Inns of Court School of Law

2004-06: London School of Economics (LLM)

Work history:       

1987-present: Barrister, Hardwicke