Name: Karon Monaghan QC
Firm: Matrix Chambers
In Hot 100 for: Work for Unison against the Government in its four-year battle over Employment Tribunal fees. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a pupil?
My most vivid memory of being a pupil? Confronting my pupil supervisor about his requirement that I draft pleadings stating that (notwithstanding a generous chambers grant and a scholarship), he should pay me for them otherwise it was exploitation. To his very great credit, he did.
Otherwise, going to extraordinarily dull dinners.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
There have been many. One is Sir John Mummery (a now retired LJ) who, when I appeared in front of him as a very junior barrister, always made me feel that I was worth listening to, as were my arguments, even if ultimately unsuccessful. This certainly increased my confidence which (despite a hard exterior) was sometimes lacking.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
Coming to the Bar and holding out for work I wanted to do. The Bar suits me. I like the advocacy, the intellectual challenge and the variety.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Stick at it for as long as you can. It is more difficult now than when I came to the Bar, I know. If you can’t get pupillage straight away, try and find other opportunities in the law which you can use as a springboard to get into pupillage later. Choose an area of law/job that you enjoy. This will make you happier and probably mean that you will be better at it.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
Writing a book on poverty and the law.