Reflections on becoming a QC

 

Suzanne Robertson shares her thoughts on the journey to this achievement.

In celebration of her appointment as one of Bankside Chambers’ newest QC, Suzanne Robertson shares her thoughts on the journey to this achievement.

A sense of appreciation, achievement and honour are some of the feelings I have experienced since being appointed to the rank of Queen’s Counsel.

I have had cause to reflect on all the people that have contributed to me and to this appointment.  In addition to my family and extended family, there are many people who have encouraged and helped me along the way.  Many of those people are also members at Bankside Chambers.

To begin with, I am indebted to my Bankside colleagues for welcoming me to the chambers in 2007 when I had been out of the profession for some time. The Chambers has been an inspiring place from which to practice as a barrister.  I have been and continue to be surrounded by people who are at the top of their specialist areas and who are incredibly willing to share the benefit of their expertise and experience when asked.

I am also very grateful to the solicitors who have recommended me to their clients and continued to do so again and again.  We all form close and valued relationships with clients.  Entrusting a client to another professional is not an easy thing to do.  I have acted for hundreds of people and companies since coming to Bankside and I have valued the opportunity to learn to understand and work with each one to achieve the best result possible.

If I hadn’t already considered the appointment an achievement, the huge number of congratulatory comments, emails, telephone calls and letters that I received would have made sure that I did.  I was floating for days on the fact that so many people took time to contact me and the lovely things they said. I am very grateful to them.

Prior to joining Bankside Chambers in 2007, I had seven years out of profession when my two children were born.  My appointment shows that placing a priority on care of children need not preclude someone from future success in the law.  As any parent knows it is difficult to balance parenting and a career and at times it is extremely hard work.  But it is very rewarding to do so.

I encourage other women or men who wish to take a break from the law, or work less hours for a time, in order to prioritise care of children (or for any other reason) to do so.  I also encourage women returning to the profession to realise that, apart from the unavoidable time lag, the options in terms of what can be achieved remain the same.

Achievement connotes a sense of having arrived.  It is appropriate in the sense of attaining a goal.  However, I also consider the appointment to Queen’s Counsel is the beginning of another phase of my career.  It is an honour to be a member of the Inner Bar.  At the ceremony I am to declare that ‘I will well and truly serve all those for whom I may be called upon to act in the rank of Queen’s Counsel to the best of my knowledge and ability, with due respect to the law and usages of New Zealand and mindful always of my obligations’ to the Court.  I am happy to make this declaration.  I look forward to new challenges and responsibilities and to meeting and working with hundreds more clients in the years ahead.