Name: Nick De Marco QC
Firm: Blackstone Chambers
Role: Barrister specialising in Sports Law.
Trained at: Blackstone Chambers
Year qualified: 2001
What’s your most vivid memory from being a pupil?
When I was called in by our heads of chambers to tell me I had been offered a tenancy at the end of my pupillage. I was so certain of, and prepared for rejection that I reacted with shocked and repeated protest, ‘no, there must have been a mistake, are you sure?’
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
Having left school with no A-levels and worked in a series of jobs in hospitality and retail, as well as a brief period in film and video editing, approaching age 30 I didn’t know what to do next. A friend said I should study law and train as a lawyer because I was good at arguing and persuading people. ‘I won’ be able to qualify until I am in my mid-30s’, I protested. ‘That’s better than reaching your mid-30s and having no qualification’ he replied. An obvious response perhaps – but I hadn’t thought of it that way until then. I’m lucky I took his advice.
The other thing is something often said in different ways that I heard the other day on the radio, this time from F1 driver Lewis Hamilton: ‘The best thing about winning is the losing’. He went on to explain that it is the struggles and knocks from defeats that he learns most from, and that make winning far sweeter. It’s the same for a barrister – the things that go wrong, and the mistakes you inevitably make, are what make you.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
My parents, for encouraging me to think for myself, do what I like, be independent, critical and creative, and for giving me the freedom to find my own way and be the person I am.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Do what you really want to do, because only then can you work as obsessively hard as is necessary to achieve success. Always try to think a few steps ahead of any problem or situation. Never give up. But make sure you enjoy yourself and have other passions too – because we all only live once.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
Two of my best friends at law school, my favourite mooting partners when we mooted for UCL, have both gone to become very successful barristers: Riaz Hussain QC is a leading silk in construction, professional negligence and international arbitration at Atkin Chambers, as well as being active in promoting diversity at the Bar. Luke Harris of 5 Stone Buildings has the practice I think I would most want to have if I didn’t do sports law – he is the ‘the go-to junior for art cases’.