Finalist Interview: Tamsin Allen
Introducing the Solicitor of the Year – Private Practice Shortlist: Q & A with Tamsin Allen, Partner at Bindmans LLP
What is your background before working at Bindmans LLP?
I trained at Birnbergs (as it then was) but before then I had lived in Italy and taught English, had a baby and belatedly taken my legal exams.
What are the biggest challenges facing media and information lawyers today?
Following the decision to remove recoverable success fees for claimants, funding for ordinary people bringing cases against the press has become extremely challenging. The lack of a sensible and fully independent regulatory system for the press means that there is little credible alternative for those whose privacy has been intruded on, or who have been libelled. At the same time, small-scale publishers face challenges from well-funded and well organised claimants who seek to close down debate. Economic inequality matters in law as well as in wider society.
What is the most rewarding work you have undertaken in your career?
Representing ordinary people caught up in extraordinary situations – like phone-hacking clients or whistleblower clients. Guiding them through legal pitfalls and attempting to turn a disaster into a triumph is exceptionally rewarding work.
Making the step from solicitor to partner: what are your top tips for succeeding in this move?
I would advocate for mentorship and training for new partners. Succeeding in management requires different skills to those needed to succeed in litigation.
Is there a law in existence today that you would like to see changed or reformed?
Yes, several, but I think the most pressing is reform of Electoral law. We have a system which is totally unfit for purpose, and becoming more so every year. Radical reform is needed immediately to ensure democratic legitimacy. Accountability, criminal offences, data and targeting, electoral spending rules and procedures all need urgent attention.