Briony Clarke

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LPC Legal Practice 2009

1.  What is the most exciting aspect of your work? 

Every day is different. That in itself is exciting. It is very rare to have two identical days. I can be in the Crown Court one day, Police Station the next, meeting with a client or conducting a trial. The variation is what I find thrilling about this work.

2.  Did you always want to work in the legal sector?

Since the age of 15 I did. Before that I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to get work experience with my firm and from that point onwards I knew I wanted to work in the law. I knew that I wanted to be a criminal lawyer. The question at that point was whether I wanted to be a solicitor or barrister.  Working in a solicitors firm I didn’t just want to follow that path because it was easy and what I knew best, and so I arranged to undertake a mini pupillage just to ensure I had all the facts before making a decision.

3.  In what ways did studying at ARU help you get into your chosen career?

ARU was great and in reality one of the only choices for me. At the time I was selecting where to study for my undergraduate degree, I was working at the firm.  I wanted to become a solicitors as soon as possible and wanted to be able to stay in the area so that I could continue to work at the firm part time.  ARU is a great university and was on my doorstep. The tutors were great and I really enjoyed it there.  
When I finished my degree the next obstacle (as I saw it) to becoming a solicitor was the LPC. ARU at that point had the full time course (1 year) at Chelmsford and the part time course (1 day a week over 2 years) at Cambridge. Although Cambridge was slightly further to travel, it was an ideal solution for me. I travelled to Cambridge once a week, and the other four days a week I worked at the firm.  This two years of study and working counted towards the first year of my training contract.  The option of the part time LPC at Cambridge made the work and study balance possible.  

4.  What is your fondest memory at Anglia Ruskin University?  

I have some great memories from my time at both the Chelmsford and Cambridge campuses. I really enjoyed the sense of community that there was and have some very fond memories particularly of the SU bar. 

5.  Are you still in touch with anyone from your university days?

I am mainly still in touch with those who I did the LPC with. A few friends on my course were also working in the legal sector whilst at ARU and we found very quickly that our paths would often cross, mainly at court.

6.  What was the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Nothing will come easily. It’s a cliché but anything worth having, needs to be fought for. It won’t be handed to you on a plate and the world doesn’t owe you a thing, it is for you to go out and take it.

7.  What is the best advice you can give to today’s graduates?

Never give up. Many people find it difficult to secure work post graduation and particularly in their chosen field.  However, with perseverance comes success.

8.  What is your biggest professional achievement to date?

Being appointed a deputy district judge. Prior to that I have dealt with some really important cases, including one at the Supreme Court, which was a career high for me but the recent appointment tops all of that.

9.  Would you say you have your dream job?

Without doubt. Very few people can claim to love what they do, but I really can. I don’t get that sense of dread on a Sunday evening and for that I know I am very lucky, and very grateful.  

10.  What drives you?

A desire to be the best that I can be. I don’t want to be just “OK” at something, if I want to do something, I want to do it to the best of my abilities.  

11.  Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

There are some amazing and inspirational female judges, at all levels of the judiciary. They are inspiring and motivate me to continue on this path.

12.  What hobbies do you have outside of work?

Horse-riding and I have a massive passion for literature. I am often found with my head in a book, if I hadn’t studied law I would have loved to have done an English Lit degree.