With over twenty years experience Andrew is a successful property and commercial litigator. From complex contract disputes to contested land boundaries Andrew has appeared in courts and tribunals at all levels, including the House of Lords.
How would you describe your time at The Blue Coat School?
Blue Coat School was a more austere place in the 1980’s than it is now. It was also disconcerting to have the local Militant Labour council trying to close down the School on the grounds that it was too elitist. The council’s failure to do so was one of the best things that could have happened in the lives of the students.
What was evident to all of us was that the teachers were on a mission to ensure we got the highest grades we were capable of and that we also had extra curricular opportunities that would add value to our lives. I struggle to think of a single teacher who didn’t give up their evenings for pupil activities when they could have been at home watching Cagney and Lacey, Terry and June and Wogan.
How did your experience at the School prepare you for your career?
My seven years at Blue Coat taught me that the best tools for making key decisions are Reason and Evidence. Feelings, superstition and blind faith offer little in comparison.
Extra curricular opportunities were a key part of School life and I regularly entered public speaking and debating contests. By the time I first stood up and spoke in a court of law, I was prepared to put forward and defend my arguments.
What has been your path since leaving?
From a very early age I decided that I wanted to become a barrister. My passion and enthusiasm for law did not diminish and I applied to study law at the University of Birmingham. From there I obtained a scholarship to study at Bar School, where I successfully qualified as a barrister and then trained at Lincoln’s Inn. A small chambers in Liverpool offered me the chance to become a member of their set.
What do you do now?
I’m a property litigation barrister based at Exchange Chambers. Our chambers has premises in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. My work tends to involve donning a wig and gown and conducting trials in which the parties are arguing about property. Perhaps commercial landlords and tenants are in a dispute, or possibly squatters are trying to claim rights to expensive land.
What would be your advice to students today?
- Don’t waste your life staring at your phone.
- Don’t litter your sentences with the word “like”.
- If you’re thinking of opting for a university degree course that offers no obvious career progression, at least consider the possibility that it could be the wrong choice.
- Avoid the mistake of having strong opinions about matters when you’re not an expert in the details.
- Don’t put anything in an email or online that you wouldn’t want quoted back at you, e.g. in a job interview.
- Don’t give too much advice to students today.