1. Why did you become a Solicitor Advocate?

Over the last few years I have read research that suggests that judges are much less influenced by oral advocacy than you might expect. If that's right, then I am definitely not judge material. I have always loved to listen to a well presented legal argument and I have watched courts being swayed (or so it seemed to me) by skilful advocacy. I wanted to have the opportunity to try to emulate those I admired most – including solicitor advocate colleagues at Brodies – and to have the chance to represent clients all the way through the court process and at every level. Truth be told, I also got a bit frustrated at times sitting behind counsel listening to them making arguments that (with my usual modesty) I was sure I could deliver at least as well.

2. How has the pandemic affected your work?

Like everyone, I've needed to adapt to working 'virtually' and to appearing in court cases via a video screen rather than in person. The technology has worked well but there have been unexpected revelations. One of the most important instructions was appearing in the Supreme Court for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in a case that involved a woman who had suffered workplace harassment but hadn't been able to recover her award of compensation from her former employer. It was a serious case but the hearing was lightened a little by the views of the sitting rooms and floral curtains of Supreme Court Justices.

3. What is the more challenging part of being a QC?

I am still a relatively 'young' QC and so it may be a bit soon to say. I am very conscious that where I am instructed in court cases 'the buck stops with me' and that carries a good deal of responsibility. But that's also a feature of being a partner at Brodies and something I have had time to get used to.

4. What 3 things can't you live without to do your job?

To misquote a former prime minister "Team, team, team". I have only been able to work effectively as a solicitor advocate because of the support of the Brodies team – whether that's colleagues who are instructing me, our library team helping with research or Ashley, my executive assistant, keeping all the plates spinning while I am in court. I've also been lucky enough to be instructed by clients such as the Scottish Government, the EHRC and OSCR, who have made me part of their team. I can aspire to appear in court as much as I want but I am redundant unless clients entrust their cases to my care.


Christine O'Neill KC

Chair & Partner