How did you come to study at Wolfson College?
I landed in Wolfson completely by chance. I applied to Cambridge, never dreaming I’d ever get in, and only chose Wolfson because of the name. I didn’t put down any other colleges. After a good interview and a miraculous 2:1 in my Law degree, I was offered a place. The year I spent at Wolfson changed my life.
What is your current occupation and how did you get into this role?
I practise as a Senior Counsel (like a QC) at the Bar of Ireland. I wound up at this after 24 years of practising as a Junior Counsel, specialising in civil litigation, mainly personal injury and employment cases.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I love the fact that I am independent and self-employed. The bit I enjoy most is trying to cross-examine witnesses during trials.
How have your studies at Wolfson helped you in your career?
I’m not really sure that my studies at Wolfson have helped my career, strictly speaking. I read for the LLM in four areas of law that I’ve barely ever come across in my career as a barrister. In terms of the friends I made at Wolfson, I would say that has been the lasting legacy of my time in Cambridge.
What is your fondest memory of your time at Wolfson?
What I remember most fondly is the unbelievable feeling of walking through Cambridge, mainly in the winter months, seeing the cold, frosty breath of people as they cycled or walked along the Backs, or went to or avoided lectures; of soaking in the incredible atmosphere of old bookshops, winding narrow streets, tea-shops, libraries, pubs, punts and old sandstone; and feeling that in a tiny way I actually belonged there.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
If you have children, only ever buy them washable markers.
Which person (living or historical) do you most admire and why?
The person I most admire is Elvis Presley. I know that his life ended prematurely and in circumstances that were less than ideal, but from the age of about ten he has been my hero. The depth of his musical talent and the impact he has had on popular music and culture are absolutely vast and are even more incredible given his humble beginnings in a one-room shack in Tupelo, Mississippi. What he represents for me is the epitome of the notion of the possible and the idea that you should never, ever give up on your dreams.
Which book has had the greatest impact on you?
The book that has had the greatest impact on me is The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger. I first read it when I was fourteen years old and have re-read it perhaps twenty times.