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 Robert Lassey a Member of 6 years call. "A capable, competent and safe pair of hands due to his sound legal knowledge, experience, and expert litigation strategy and tactics. He is hard-working, thorough, masters the law and the facts comprehensively, and has an engaging personality. He is passionate about achieving the best possible outcome, but honest and realistic about confronting risk and weaknesses in the proceedings with a pragmatic approach to dispute resolution."
1 - What made you choose law as a career?
When I graduated from university, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I certainly hadn’t ever contemplated a career in law. None of my family and friends were lawyers, and I didn’t really know much about it. So I did what most self-respecting twenty-something year olds would do in those circumstances. I went to see a careers advisor. Her advice was invaluable; “start with what you’re good at & what you enjoy doing. Then work outwards from there.” Simple yet extremely sound advice. So when I got home that day, I decided to write out two lists – one (admittedly much shorter) list of the things that I was good at, and one of things that I enjoyed doing. The areas in which these two lists converged provided me with a good jumping-off point. From there, my search led me to law, and more particularly to the Bar. With the benefit of considerable hindsight, this is all very obvious to me now. I was always going to do this job. I just didn’t know it at the time. So here I am, now six years in; still doing what I’m (at least reasonably) good at, and what I (most definitely) enjoy.
2 - Why did you move into your chosen practice area?
The short answer is that it was somewhat of a happy accident. The slightly longer answer is that many moons ago I was fortunate enough to observe an Employment Tribunal whilst on a mini-pupillage. I remember being immediately struck by two things. Firstly, the legal and factual complexity of Employment law was unlike anything I had observed before. I quickly learnt that it was not uncommon for cases in this jurisdiction to involve multiple different heads of claim with a factual matrix often spanning over a number of months and years. To that end, I distinctly recall thinking that a practice in this area would be an enormous yet exciting challenge for any Barrister. I still think that today. Secondly, the emotionally charged nature of the proceedings was (and continues to be) fascinating to me. After all, alongside health and family life, work is typically one of the near-constant structural pillars in people’s daily lives. It is little wonder then that when things go wrong, they often do so catastrophically. When combined with the adversarial nature of Employment Tribunal proceedings, as well as the frequency with which you are ‘in court’ compared with other areas of civil law, Employment law was the natural choice for me.
3 - Why did you choose Nine St John Street as the place to develop your practice?
That’s an easy one. Our Chambers has a well-earned reputation for excellence and professionalism, both on circuit and beyond. Our reputation is especially prominent in Employment law, where we are consistently ranked by the Legal Directories as the best Chambers in the North West and arguably the best Chambers outside of London. We are fortunate enough to have an enormous strength and depth of talent in our team (and in Chambers more broadly), who consistently attract work from some of the country’s finest Solicitors and most-esteemed law firms. Put simply, 9SJS is the obvious choice for any ambitious Employment law practitioner seeking to develop their practice. If anything, the question should be; why wouldn’t you want to develop your practice here?
4 - What does the future hold for you?
In the immediate future, I’m looking forward to a rest after what has been an extremely busy year for me both professionally and personally! In the longer term, I’m hoping to continue to expand my Employment law practice to incorporate bigger and more challenging cases, and to maintain my rankings in both The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. I’m also keen to gain more experience in appellate advocacy, having recently conducted a successful appeal in the EAT which resulted in one of my proudest career achievements to date – my argument appearing as a precedent in Harvey. But perhaps most of all, I look to the future not with a sense of pride in what I have achieved thus far, but with a heartfelt appreciation for those who have assisted me in getting to this point. Without the unwavering support and encouragement of my colleagues and friends in Chambers, my clerks, instructing Solicitors, and of course my long-suffering friends and family, I wouldn’t have been able to benefit from the incredible opportunities this job has afforded me. Long may that continue.
Full details of Robert's career to date can be found here.
To instruct Robert or to discuss an Employment matter please contact Julia Lanza, Practice Manager on Julia.Lanza@9SJS.com or 0161 955 5123.