Women in Investigations – 2018
July 24 2018
I have been honoured to be chosen as one of Global Investigation Review’s 100 Women in Investigations globally for 2018. Attached is my profile published on GIR’s website.
- In my first proper job as a government lawyer I uncovered some illegal behaviour. When I brought it to people’s attention, some were not best pleased but I persevered and the problem was eventually put right. That really got me the investigative bug. I realised that my legal skills, natural curiosity and a bloody-minded determination not to give up could form the basis of an interesting career.
- The biggest change I have noticed is the development of electronic media, which far outstrips peoples’ willingness to understand that their thoughtless or instantaneous tweet or chat can be retrieved. It’s a goldmine for investigators and a nightmare, given its scale.
- There have been many highlights in my career but so many are still confidential that I cannot say more about them, other than some have left me exasperated at what idiocies people are capable of.
- The standout case was the UK’s biggest fraud prosecution of Kweku Adoboli for fraud by abuse of position in 2012.The 14 months I was involved in it, from the first day to when he was convicted, were one of the most intense and fascinating periods of my career. I learned so much, and it was immensely satisfying to be able to work with police, prosecutors, colleagues and my marvellous team to get to the right result.
- I was a litigator in Slaughter and May at a time when it was building up its litigation practice and Big Bang happened. The combination meant that I got to work on, and have a lot of responsibility for, a lot of cases, many of them involving the financial sector. Money makes people behave in the most irrational of ways and the stories you learn are endlessly fascinating.
- The biggest barrier was – sometimes – having bosses who did not really understand or appreciate what I was doing and why it mattered. When you’re trying to build a practice, deliver tough messages and get the necessary resources, that’s not helpful. It took the very public explosion of a lot of scandals at the same time for people to realise why good, thorough investigations matter and what you can learn from them. It’s a lesson still being learned by some today!
- I want those I work with to feel that, when the bullets are whizzing overhead, there is no-one they want more on their side than me – that they can trust and depend on me
- The worst advice I received is that you will be rewarded for your hard work. No, you won’t! Not unless you make the case for what you do, its value and the value you bring to your clients. Work is not like school exams where you get the marks if you get the right answer. You need to be your own entrepreneur and sell yourself.
- The best advice I have received is “do not be afraid”.
- The biggest talking point in UK investigations is how to balance the need for a thorough investigation with the need to do so swiftly, so that lessons can be learned, matters remedied, wrongdoers punished and public trust rebuilt at the time, and not years later.
- Having role models to talk to and learn from, and realising that women’s careers should not end or be diverted into the sidelines when they have a family, can help create gender equality. Children grow up and there can be another 20 years or more when you have much to give. Firms need to harness those skills and experience and not sideline women during those middle years when they are balancing work and family but see that time as investment in people who will be the senior trusted advisers of tomorrow.
- As a teenager I beat Daniel Day-Lewis in an acting competition. My Juliet was to die for. He is now a three time Oscar-winner, and I am here. Sometimes life doesn’t quite go to plan!
- Sitting in Istanbul’s Central Criminal Court, representing my client defrauded of a significant amount of money by a terrified looking defendant, sandwiched between two tough-looking Turkish policemen, was about as exotic a place as my work has taken me to. But when not working, I explored Istanbul, which remains one of my favourite cities.