QC in waiting: James Turner

Barristers who applied for silk in the latest round have learned their fate. Here, successful QC applicants answer questions about life at the bar, the silk process, and which actor would play them in a film

James Turner

Name: James Turner

Set: Quadrant Chambers

Year of call: 1990

What was your first-ever job?

Gap year commission in the Royal Marines.

Which barrister most helped shape your career?

Hard to choose between Alastair MacGregor QC of One Essex Court and Nigel Teare QC of Quadrant – who as it happens were in the same tutor group at Oxford – who led me in countless cases between 1995 and 2006 and encouraged me to understand that I really might have something to contribute.

Which case was your most memorable as a junior barrister?

Applying to a magistrates’ court in Yorkshire for delivery of a stolen motor boat to the insurance company who had paid out for it, opposed by the man who had been charged with stealing it. When he put his character in evidence, the CPS advocate nearly had a hernia putting in his list of previous.

Why did you apply for silk?

I have been appearing against silks for several years and felt it was time.

What was most challenging part of the silk application process?

The interview. Room 101.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?

Assuming that a district judge, who had no reason to know anything about it, would need no assistance on the effect of the Carriage of Goods by Road Act 1965. Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

The hours.

Where will you celebrate taking silk?

I already have: lunch out with my wife.

If you weren’t a barrister what would you have been?

Photographer? Linguist? Who knows?

What book are you currently reading?

Play it Again by Alan Rusbridger.

If a film was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

Tom Cruise, because I’m the same height as Jack Reacher.