Law Careers Question Time 2018

Law Careers Question Time 2018 at University of Brighton

13th of February 5.30 – 7pm for Q & A, Networking 7 – 8pm

Mithras House 218, Moulsecoomb Campus


An ideal opportunity if you are interested in a career in law to have your questions answered and talk with law professionals more informally. All welcome, no need to book.


Panel Biographies

Richard Ager, Barrister, Crown Office Row

Richard Ager was admitted as a solicitor in 1981 and transferred to the Bar and was called in 2004. He practises locally. He specialises in 1) Family Law and in particular public and private law Children cases and 2) Court of Protection work (Mental Capacity Act 2005). Recently he has developed an interest and practice in Inquests and coronial law.
Zoe Bowler, Probate Officer, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS)

Zoe graduated from her Law and Criminology degree at Brighton last summer and is in her first graduate role as a Probate Officer. In this role, she works to get a grant of representation out to the person entitled so the assets of a deceased person, so they can be released. She was also, up until recently, volunteering with Sussex Police as a Special Constable. Zoe is now working towards becoming a barrister and balancing this with her full time role.
HHJ Stuart Farquhar, Nominated Judge of the Court of Protection, Brighton Family Centre

I have no family connection to lawyers; father was an engineer and mother looked after me and my two brothers. Attended state schools.

1980-1983          Manchester University


1983-1984         Worked at solicitors during the day and KFC at night & weekends to pay for Bar

1984-1985         Bar School

1985-2005         Barrister in Nottingham (after pupillage in London where I was not offered tenancy)
Started doing all types of work but after about five years began to specialise in

family work and then just in money cases on divorce
2005-2013          District Judge in Cambridgeshire – Family and Civil jurisdiction

2013-present     Circuit Judge in Brighton – Family Court and Court of Protection

Interests             Supporting AFC Wimbledon, walking the dog in the rain (other weather conditions are accepted), preferably near pubs with good real ale.

Married: my wife works as an advisor for a Carers Support Organisation. Two children, neither following a legal career (having seen the impact upon me!)
Mollie Ferguson, Trainee Solicitor, Cripps LLP

Mollie Ferguson is a second year trainee at Cripps LLP. Her current seat is in the private client division, and she has previously done seats in commercial property, and corporate healthcare. She qualifies as a solicitor in September 2018. Mollie did a Law and German Law degree at University of Kent (which included a year abroad in Marburg, Germany), before completing the LPC LLM at University of Law, Guildford. She is the President of Kent Junior Lawyers Division, and the Trainee Solicitor rep for Kent Law Society.
Gemma Garrett, Solicitor, Family Law Partners

Gemma is a specialist family solicitor at Family Law Partners based in Brighton.  Gemma has a specific focus on financial claims, including those with an international element.

Gemma joined FLP in March 2016 from a London boutique firm, prior to this she trained and qualified at a leading regional firm in the South East.

Immensely proud of her strong Sussex connection, Gemma has lived most of her adult life in Brighton where she studied at Sussex University obtaining a First in her LLB Law degree.  Gemma went on to pass the Legal Practice Course (LPC) with distinction at the College of Law, London Bloomsbury.

In her spare time Gemma enjoys walking her beloved English Bulldog Reggie (when she can get him to walk) and eating out – it is not coincidental that she is married to a chef.  If Gemma had not trained as a lawyer she would be a food critic and would embark on a gastronomic tour of the world travelling to every restaurant with a Michelin star!


Komal Joshi, Pupil Barrister, 12 College Place

A Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) graduate from City University London supported by a Lincoln’s Inn Major Lord Denning Scholarship. Called to the Bar in July and presently actively seeking pupillage in the Southern Circuit.

I have actively sought and taken every possible opportunity to take part in moots at university. As well as the intrinsic enjoyment I have derived from mooting, competing has developed my public speaking skills as well as helping me towards a degree of competence with regard to the particular rigours of legal advocacy.

• University of Brighton Moot 2014: 1st Place
• ESU Essex Court Chambers Mooting Competition: 1st Round
• UKSLA Mooting Competition 2014: Winner of first two rounds
• University of Brighton v University of Sussex Moot Finalist
• Landmark Chambers Moot: 2nd Place

In addition to my academic achievements, I was a key team member of the Innocence Project at the University of Brighton and The City Law School advice clinic at City University London.



Fiona Martin, Director and Head of Employment Law, Martin Searle Solicitors

Fiona Martin leads the employment law team at Martin Searle Solicitors. She is known for her national campaigns and acts for women who experience pregnancy and maternity discrimination. She also provides expert opinion for the media and has appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to talk about the recent rise in pregnancy and maternity discrimination cases.

Her clients include national and international multi-site employers and locally she works with Wired Sussex advising digital media companies.

Fiona trains employers and HR professionals to be best practice managers. Her employment law blogs and campaigns seek to raise awareness about the importance of Equality and Diversity in the workplace.


Lynn McFadyen, Barrister, 1 Crown Office Row

Lynn specialises in public law children proceedings and is regularly instructed to represent local authorities, parents and Children’s Guardians in the full range of care proceedings, from neglect to serious physical or sexual abuse. She has experience of cases with an international element and has been involved in a number of cases where reporting restrictions have been obtained.

Prior to being call to the bar, Lynn was a solicitor for 17 years in private practice – specialising in family law, principally in public law care proceedings and adoption. For her first ten years as a barrister, she practised from Parklane Plowden Chambers in Leeds.
Giovanni Parcou, Legal Assistant, Bennett Griffin LLP

I graduated 2015 with a 2.1 LLB Law with Business at University of Brighton and was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Prize for my contribution to local enterprise. I have previously worked as an Assistant at Legal 500 City firm Winckworth Sherwood LLP (dealing with Network Rail High Speed Two (HS2) matters) and am currently working at the Legal 500 regional practice Bennett Griffin LLP in Worthing. I have over two years’ recruitment experience both in contingent recruitment and headhunting (executive search) and led a successful career at G2 Legal before returning to private practice.

I have written for the Legal Cheek, The Student Lawyer and the university and last year my legal cheek article was discussing the implications of cybercrime as featured in The Times.

For the last two years I have been applying for training contracts and vacation schemes and in 2017 was successfully selected for the Fox Williams vacation scheme. I have made progress with top City firms’ application processes, progressing further each year.

As a member of Aspiring Solicitors I have made a commitment to diversity in the legal profession insofar as encouraging and assisting those from low-income and financially disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue careers in commercial law.


Alice Rowland, Head of Commercial Law, Brighton and Hove City Council

Alice Rowland studied Law at Nottingham Trent University. After graduating in 1999 she went on to complete the Bar Vocational Course at the Inns of Court School of Law. She was called to the Bar in 2000 and undertook pupillage in Sussex. She practised at the self-employed bar until 2005, undertaking mostly criminal defence work.

She then started work at Eastbourne Borough Council, initially working on enforcement and prosecutions. When her boss left, she persuaded one of her colleagues to apply for his job with her as a job share. They were jointly the Monitoring Officer at Eastbourne for seven years during which time Alice started to specialise in commercial work and worked on a number of big commercial projects including the re-development of Devonshire Park and the transfer of the Towner Art Gallery to a charitable trust.

She then joined the civil service and worked in HMRC’s Solicitors Office and then the Government Legal Department (in the team which advised Defra). She worked on some huge IT contracts and undertook some fascinating, complex procurements.

Finally, Alice’s dream job came up and happily Brighton & Hove City Council agreed to appoint her as Head of Commercial Law. Alice now manages a large team and works on some of the City’s most exciting projects including the transfer of the Royal Pavilion to a charitable trust, regeneration schemes such as Preston Barracks and Circus Street and the Waterfront Project which aims to build a conference centre and arena at Black Rock using the proceeds of the sale of the Brighton Centre.

Outside of work, Alice drives her three children around and is working up to swimming in the sea.

Dominic Stevens, Head of Business Planning, Reporting and Benefits Realisation, Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB)

The YJB is the public body responsible for monitoring the youth justice system and advising Ministers on the performance of the system. Roles include:

  • Strategic planning to reduce crime by 10 – 17 year-olds in England and Wales
  • Managing a project to improve employment opportunities for young people leaving prison
  • Leading a programme of work to improve the transition young people make from youth to adult justice services at, or around the age of18
  • Contract management of: prions, a secure escort service transporting young people to and from court, intervention services for young people found guilty of committing sexual offences

His expertise in youth justice has led to him being a guest lecturer on the youth justice system at universities in England, and also presenting and sharing practice with youth justice workers in Australia. Whilst living in Australia, Dominic worked for the Australian Government to change operational practice so it complied with new legislation which set out the principles for deciding whether a child should be placed in local authority care, with adoptive parents, with a guardian, or reconciled with birth parents.

Other employment includes working for the Home Office on a programme of work called Keeping Children Safe from Harm. This focused on making changes to the immigration system so that it was more child-focused and tackled issues like child trafficking.

Dominic is also a trustee of a charity called Feltham Community Chaplaincy Trust (FCCT). FCCT provides mentors to young men in prison and continues to work with them when they are released to help them resettle back into their communities.

Dominic studied Law with Business at the University of Brighton and graduated with First Class Honours.


businessemployability fortnightlawnetworking

Christina Keiller • 26/01/2018

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