Name: Sara George

Organisation: Sidley Austin

Role: Partner, Head of Crisis Management for Europe

Based: London

Trained at: Criminal Bar – Chambers of Ann Rafferty QC 4 Brick Court

Year qualified: 1999

What’s your most vivid memory from being a pupil?

Representing the driver of a seafood van topped with an enormous papier mache prawn in his trial for dangerous driving.

He had been spotted driving erratically by an off duty police officer then refused to stop and was chased by police helicopters for 20 miles through rural Cambridgeshire before he overturned the prawn van in a ditch and was cut out of the vehicle by a fire crew and paramedics. He was extremely fortunate to be completely unharmed.

Despite watching the film and minute-by-minute commentary from the overhead police helicopter of the giant prawn careering down country lanes (“prawn heading in an easterly direction”, “prawn leaving the road” and “prawn involved in Road Traffic Collision”), the jury still took four hours to find him guilty. I still wonder precisely what it was I said that had caused them to have any doubt.

Tell us about a sliding doors moment when your career could have gone in an entirely different direction?

The decision to leave self-employed practise and to join the UK Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority) at its inception was a very difficult decision but unquestionably the right one for me.

I received the best possible training as a forensic investigator, as a case controller and as an advocate. I had the opportunity to do the first and most important cases against the best funded and most determined opponents as the guardian of the public interest at only 27 years old.

What’s the hardest question you’ve ever been asked at interview, and how did you answer?

“Can you identify the next number in the sequence?”

“No, of course I can’t. If I could, I would be a scientist, not a barrister.”

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?

The type of international investigations and crisis management work I do now didn’t really exist as a specialism when I qualified. If the job you want to do does not exist, you just have to create it.

Tell us about ONE former colleague who you miss, and why? (It doesn’t have to be a lawyer)

Bill Boyce KC for his probity as a prosecutor, compassion as a defender and decency as a leader.