Barrister of the month: Anne Studd KC

24 April 2024
Name: Anne Studd KC
Role: Head of Management Committee
Specialist in (areas of law): Police law, Public Law, Personal injury
Based mainly:  South East
Called to the Bar in: 1988, Silk 2012

Joining 5 Essex Chambers

As I think most Barristers would say, there is a significant amount of luck at the Bar.  Right place right time – for the Chambers where you end up and the brief that can change your career – they definitely exist.
I had a really wonderful Pupil Supervisor, David Ellis at Lamb Building. He was supportive and knowledgeable and taught me such a lot about written and oral advocacy but also about how to conduct yourself even in the trickiest of circumstances.
It was my good fortune that he had done a case with Jeremy Gompertz QC, the Head of Chambers at 5 Essex Court at the time, and told him that I was looking for a third six pupillage ‘with a view’.  By chance 5 Essex had a gap for a tenant at the Junior end as someone had just jumped ship to another set of Chambers.
I arrived when the Junior tenant was Andrew Waters.  We all did a lot of crime and my life was spent with a very heavy bag over my shoulder traipsing around the Magistrates Courts in Essex doing the Prosecution lists. I got paid between £125-£185 per day, depending on the number of cases in the list and whether it was a remand court or trial court. Someone told me the other day that the rate remains much the same now.  The difference is that we knew we were well paid for it – you don’t hear that sentiment at the criminal bar now.
I soon found out that 5 Essex was so culturally different from where I had come from, even then Junior tenants really were treated as equals and pupils were told what their prospects were as soon as possible.  I was told when I arrived in July 1990 that if I did a good job, I would be “offered a seat” by Christmas and in late October Jeremy Gompertz came to find me after court, told me he had “taken soundings” and asked me if I would like to accept a tenancy.  I managed to hold it together until he left the room, but it was a huge deal. I remember it like it was yesterday.  I had by then been in pupillage for just over two years and although I had worked and earned through that period, I had not felt very secure!
And of course I have stayed.  5 Essex has been like an extended family for me.  I married a member of chambers – quite controversial at the time – and the Godmother to my first child is one of my colleagues.

Why did you decide to become a Barrister? 

I decided to become a Barrister when I was about 14 because I thought it sounded really interesting. I only knew about it because a friend of my Dad’s had qualified but never practised and regretted it. When I look back, I realise I knew nothing about the Bar really, but once I got on the path after my history degree, I never wavered until that afternoon in October 1990 when I formally joined the profession. 

What I hadn’t bargained for was the sometimes relentless hard work (and lack of, or cancelled social life), when you just can’t see it will ever end and of course those moments of self-doubt when really any job feels better than this one!  The train to Plymouth can be very appealing when in fact you are meant to be heading in the opposite direction to argue a tricky case against a difficult/unpleasant opponent. I also hadn’t appreciated how absolutely wonderful and supportive people at the Bar can be.  The support of friends in the profession when things aren’t going as well as you had hoped is incredibly special and I am delighted to say, not unusual.   

Tell us about a sliding doors moment when your career could have gone in an entirely different direction? 

I have obviously had moments when I thought I would leave it all behind me and become a flower farmer. Maybe that is ahead of me still… In case you are interested a field of peonies would float my boat nicely. 

What are your career highlights? 

I have had a wonderful career really. I have a lot to thank the MET for as I did so many interesting cases for them when I did not want to travel because my children were small.  I helped close Downing Street with big metal gates, I was instructed in a number very high-profile Inquests including the tragedy surrounding the death of Jean Charles de Menezes and have helped (I hope) to get them out of a number of other scrapes. Although it might not have been the best paid, it was NEVER dull and it worked very well with my family life.  

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do the job you do? 

The best advice I can give is: 

  • First for yourself: try to say ‘Yes’ as often as you can even if it is a bit out of your comfort zone or a bit more work than you would ideally like to take on – you never know where it will lead and generally you can manage more than you think for a short time. 
  • For others: Be pleasant as far as you can be – unless you are David Pannick, clients seldom chose you for your brilliance, although some like to think they do – they mostly chose you because they can work with you and it makes a hard case just a little bit easier. We all remember unpleasant opponents and talk about them often.  Bad reputations spread much more quickly than good ones.  
  • Be supportive:  Success breeds success and it is important as a Chambers that everyone thrives as far as possible.  Being undermining or sarcastic can be more damaging than you may ever know.  Egos, even big ones – are fragile.  

Tell us about a person who’s had an influence on your career? 

And lastly, I cannot talk about my career without mentioning Senior Clerk Mark Waller, who has been with 5 Essex Chambers since 1998.  When I started in Chambers it was normal for female solicitors to be offered female barristers.  That was about 20% of the client base at that time. Many of the male solicitors expressed a preference to instruct men because “they liked to go for a drink afterwards” and their wishes were accommodated without question. 

The first Clerk I had who absolutely would not accept that as an approach was Mark.  That is one example of why I have a lot to thank him for. There are many others.   

What others say of Anne 

Legal 500 

  • ‘A formidable opponent, with a steely centre and a commanding court presence.’ 
  • ‘Her knowledge of police work is magnificent.’ 
  • ‘Clear as crystal, faultless and measured in her advice and advocacy but, most importantly, Anne cares about what is best for the client.’ 

Chambers UK 

  • “Favoured by clients for her skill in getting straight to the heart of the issue, however voluminous the material which she is presented with.” (Professional Discipline) 
  • “She has an incisive ability to deal with large amounts of documents and handle complex and intense matters. She is also good with clients.” (Inquests & Public Inquiries) 
  • “Anne’s advice is succinct, focused and pragmatic. She is well respected by clients and instructing solicitors alike.” (Police Law) 


Anne Studd KC

Call 1988 | Silk 2012


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