At Nine St John Street we pride ourselves on creating an environment that helps our Members practice thrive. All too often this happens 'behind the scenes' however from time to time the success of our Members is recognised by some of the leading Legal publications in the world. One such example is the Legal 500 'Rising Stars'. Rising stars at the Bar are defined as barristers between four and eight years’ call who are seen as up-and-coming members of the Bar in their respective practice areas by clients and peers alike. They will already be instructed in high-profile, complex, and high-value contentious and non-contentious matters, working with and opposite more experienced leading counsel. We are so proud that four of our Members have received this prestigious accolade. All too often, it is left at that. We felt it would be of interest to look behind the award at the individual and their road to where they are.
In this piece we feature Helen Longworth a Member of 6 years call. A client-friendly criminal barrister the Legal 500 comments "Helen shows empathy to her clients and handles even the most demanding of clients with care. She is approachable, helpful and will take up the good fight for the client and will not put on any pressure to plead in the face of overwhelming evidence, ensuring that all necessary avenues of enquiry are considered in preparing for trial. She is realistic and truthful with the clients and always makes the client feel listened to".
Today we take a few moments to dig behind the awards to get to know Helen.
1 - What made you choose law as a career?
I wanted to become a barrister from childhood. I wanted a career with a purpose and I believe that the law and a functioning justice system matters to society as a whole and I enjoy public speaking - so the Bar is a perfect fit. However, I also knew that I wanted to be the best barrister that I could be and that meant learning about people. Therefore I spent just over a decade in the charity sector before coming to the Bar, which allowed me to meet all sorts of people and to develop life experience that I now use everyday.
2 - Why did you move into your chosen practice area?
Criminal law is different every day, it is an area in which I have a talent, the issues we face matter to people. Everyone in these courts is having one of the worst days of their lives and I know that I am a capable and calm person for those involved in criminal justice to meet and to take advice from, whether they are a witness, complainant or defendant. The criminal Bar has the most public advocacy and the best advocates at the Bar are in crime. So it suits me, my skills and manner are suited to working with people in a strange and stressful environment, and it is the area of practice with the best story tellers and camaraderie.
3 - Why did you choose Nine St John Street as the place to develop your practice?
Nine St John Street is friendly, kind, well run and a centre of excellence in criminal advocacy. We have a great criminal team, both barristers and the chambers staff, and we work at the highest standards with some of the biggest and most challenging cases in the country. It is also based in Manchester, which is a place where one can live happily on criminal Bar income, where there is plenty of excellent work and where those at the junior end make rapid progress within a friendly and helpful Crown Court community.
4 - What does the future hold for you?
I really enjoy criminal advocacy so I will keep doing this. Over the past few years, I have been part of the prosecution for the biggest money laundering trial in English legal history. That trial isn't over yet so I will be doing that and other serious criminal cases involving fraud and drug dealing conspiracies. I also enjoy working with vulnerable defendants, the issues are often challenging and unusual and I have to be on top of my game to make sure they get the best possible advice, support and that they understand the allegations they face. I hope that I get to do some more of those cases. One of the aspects of criminal practice I enjoy is that you never know what is coming round the corner. It is not repetitive. I do hope in time to be become one of the best criminal advocates in the country.
Full details of Helen's career to date can be found here.
To instruct Helen or to discuss a Criminal matter please contact Chris Swann, Practice Manager on Chris.Swann@9SJS.com or 0161 955 5172.