Name: Rona Bar-Isaac
Firm: Addleshaw Goddard
Trained at: Lovell White Durrant
Year qualified: 1998
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
A very rare eureka moment sleuthing on a case. We were in Luxembourg for a hearing and our team had just won a tussle to get access to original documents relating to a Commission decision. I happened to be the one to spot that the time stamp on the fax header (yes, I know…) meant amendments were still being made after the final decision had supposedly been taken.
I am not sure it made much difference to the outcome, but I vividly remember the sheer adrenalin rush of spotting something and the pride in being able to add to all the hard work we had done as a team.
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
I am not sure it counts as wise, but it definitely made a difference – very early on in my career a client picked up on some of my purple prose which was “a bit Daily Mail“! I was mortified at the time (he was a pretty important client of the firm), but it got me thinking about effective advocacy – the power of facts speaking for themselves and how to get the right pitch for the right audience.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
Two partners I worked for in my formative years stand out as shaping the kind of lawyer I am today – Philip Collins, who introduced me to competition law, inspired me with his creativity and tenacity and trusted my abilities more than I did myself, throwing me into the deep end of everything and anything, but always had my back!
Then Polly Weitzman, who was a maverick in the best sense of the word, taught me to find my voice and not be afraid to be seen. Philip went on to be chairman of the Office of Fair Trading and Polly is now general counsel at Ofcom, so I clearly learnt from the best.
Today, I love the collegiate business of bouncing things around with colleagues/clients and coming up with something better as a result.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Be curious about everything – the problem you have in front of you, your clients, their businesses, your colleagues. Follow what interests you. Life is too short to be bored.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
My oldest legal friend from university is now a funeral celebrant!