Louisa Nye, Chair of the Young Barristers’ Committee
Chambers: Landmark Chambers
Year of Call: 2007
Practice Area: Real property law and Landlord and Tenant.
Being Chair of the Young Barristers’ Committee is an exercise in multi-tasking and organisation! I have to maintain my practice, while also attending various meetings and events as of the Young Barristers’ Committee (YBC). I am also involved in writing responses to consultations and papers for the Bar Council.
My day starts around 6.45am, not too early. I get into Chambers around 7.30am to go over my notes and papers for the meetings I have during the day.
I also spend an hour looking over a case that I have been asked to advise on and to draft proceedings in, and send an e-mail to my instructing solicitors indicating some points on which I believe difficulty may arise as a result of professional ethics.
At 9.30am I have my first meeting of the day; a meeting with a District Judge to discuss a reference for an application. While I am Chair of the YBC, I also have to ensure I am developing my own practice and taking the opportunities I can to expand the work opportunities available to me.
By 10am I have made my way to the Royal Courts of Justice for a meeting with Sir Adrian Fulford, the Senior Presiding Judge. My Vice-Chairman, Duncan McCombe, and the YBC Executive, Onyeka Onyekwelu, also attend. We discuss the technological developments in the courts; the good and bad points of Better Case Management and the potential for an Online Court. Duncan and I spend time outlining the concerns in relation to access to justice, and the potentially detrimental effect of the proposed changes on the Young Bar. We also discuss succession and ensuring that there is a strong cohort of young barristers who will be the QCs and judiciary of the future.
After the meeting, Duncan and I have a coffee to touch base. I then go back to Chambers to collect papers for cases, that I then take to the Bar Council Offices to work on in the afternoon. Thankfully there is usually a spare desk so I am able to sit and work alongside the staff at the Bar Council office. This enables me to do my work on cases, while at the same time being on hand to discuss issues as they arise with Onyeka and other member of the staff.
At 12.45pm Duncan, Onyeka and I have a lunch with the Chair of the Bar Standards Board. We discuss the realities of life as a junior barrister and the current problems with the BPTC, and the effect that this has on early years of practice financially.
After lunch Duncan and I hot-foot it over to Fleet Street for a meeting at 2.30pm with Gerard McDermott QC, Chair of the Bar Conference Organising Board, to discuss the Annual Bar Conference and Young Bar Conference.
At 4pm I return to the Bar Council Offices. This gives me an opportunity to sit down and check my e-mails. I also spend the time advising on a leasehold enfranchisement case and giving an opinion on whether to commence proceedings.
I finish at about 6pm and head home, continuing to keep an eye on my iPhone for any e-mails that might come in! I have some dinner, do some yoga, and watch some rubbish TV so that I can decompress from the day.
The greatest benefit of being the Chair of the Young Bar is the opportunity to speak to senior members of the profession and the judiciary. It is a privilege to be in a position where I can put across the concerns of the Young Bar, and am met with interest and true respect from the individuals that I am dealing with.
The greatest challenge is balancing my work as Chair with a full working practice. I effectively do two day jobs at once, so I have to remain as organised as possible and keep on top of e-mails and phone calls, as well as meetings.
The highlight of my time as Chair so far, has been being asked to speak at the World Bar Conference in April 2016, and being able to address the leaders of the referral Bars and others on behalf of the Young Bar of England and Wales.