Name: Andrew Thornton QC
Firm: Erskine Chambers
Role: Barrister/QC from March 2020
Trained at: Erskine Chambers and 8 Stone Buildings (now 10 Old Square)
Year qualified: 1994
What’s your most vivid memory from being a pupil? Having my pupil-masters pointing out the split-infinitives in my written work.
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)? The key to being a good lawyer is to understand a complex issue and be able to explain it to someone else so that they can understand it too.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? That is a really difficult question. I could name both my pupil masters, a number of colleagues and others. Ultimately, forced to plump for one person, I would have to say Professor Raymond Smith (sadly deceased), who tutored me at university and employed me as a research assistant in the summer vacations.
Why? He encouraged me to plump for the Bar when I was having doubts. But for his advice, I would have applied for a training contract with a law firm. His wise words gave me courage when I was lacking it. Although I am sure I would have enjoyed working at a law firm, I am sure I would have regretted not taking the risk.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do? Absorb as much information as you can from watching other people. You never stop learning and can learn both from people doing things well and doing things badly.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now? Climbing the partnership ladder at Bird and Bird.