Name: Riel Karmy-Jones QC
Chambers: Red Lion Chambers
Trained at: 3 Hare Court (now 2 Bedford Row), Hollis Whiteman and 2 Hare Court
Year of call: 1995
What’s your most vivid memory from being a pupil?
A leading female QC with whom I was working at the Old Bailey being nervous at wearing a trouser suit in court for the first time. This was in about 1998.
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
As a woman at the Bar who also wanted a family, I was always very concerned about taking time off and the impact that would have on my career.
One of my leaders, a senior QC, told me that I shouldn’t worry, that disappearing for a few months would not be noticed any more than if I were doing a disclosure brief. He said “you won’t be forgotten – there will always be work. Take the time.”
I was too anxious to follow that advice, and with neither of my children took effective maternity leave – but how true his words were, and how I wish I had listened.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
My husband. I was already married when I decided to make a career change from theatre to law. My husband has always been encouraging and supportive throughout. He has kept me going through all the late nights and early mornings – and the meltdowns.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Work hard, be ambitious, but never forget your family and friends because they will be there when the going gets tough, and during the quieter times. But it’s not one-way traffic, and they will need yours too.
That and always be nice to the court staff!
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
Many of my friends from bar school moved on and we lost touch, but one of my best friends, with whom I started my pupillage, is now a very successful Crown Court judge.