8th March, 2023

International Women's Day 2023: Amy Smith

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we want you to learn more about some of the incredible women in our Chambers.

In our fourth and final piece we feature Amy Smith.

Can you tell us about your journey to the Bar?

I had a relatively straightforward journey to the Bar. I took a gap year before University to be able to help at home with a terminally ill parent. I was also able to get a job to save up some money for University. I did a four-year law degree, incorporating a year abroad in Sweden. I then did the Bar Course in Leeds, after which I worked for the Law Commission in London. I then came to 9SJS for my pupillage and have been here ever since.

As a woman, have you faced any particular barriers in your career? If so, how did you overcome them?

When I was at University and looking at Chambers’ websites, the barristers were predominately male. It did make me question whether this world was one that I could successfully navigate. However, I can honestly say that I do not think my sex has been a factor at 9SJS. I do think that self-employment and court work can be difficult to mix with family life, but it is worth the effort.

Photo of Amy Smith

 

What progress have you seen at the Bar on equality?

I have seen massive changes. The Bar and the Judiciary are more reflective of society now than they were when I started my career. But there is still a lot of work to do and I hope to be part of that change.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to anyone considering a career at the Bar?

I would absolutely encourage anyone to consider the Bar. I believe it is the best job in the world. But it is not easy. I travel all over England, Scotland and Northern Ireland for work, sometimes for weeks at a time. There is a lot of evening and weekend work. It can be draining and push you to your limits. It is not a career to enter into lightly. However, doing advocacy every day is wonderfully challenging and exciting.

Can you tell us about a woman who inspires you and why?

I hate to be predictable, but my inspiration is my mum. She is a Northern working-class woman who started her career at the bottom and worked her way to the top. It was a career that was not conventionally “women’s work”. She was dedicated and driven, not letting traditional sex roles dictate her future. She is a passionate feminist and has always pushed me to read more. I’m glad she had my back and she is my greatest champion.



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