Welcome back to the Legally Speaking Podcast. Promising to be bigger and better than ever before, we’re jumping straight in with an epic first episode!
We’ve never been so excited to introduce a guest to you… and what a cracking way to jump into Season 6 than with none other than the one and only Dr. Sally Penni MBE.
If you’re in the law industry, and unless you’ve been living under a rock – there will be no introductions necessary for Sally but to cover the basics, Sally is a barrister at Kenworthy’s Chambers, practising criminal, GDPR, data protection and employment law. Sally has been appointed to the list of counsel for the International Criminal Court in The Hague which has taken her career to new levels.
In addition to this, Sally is the founder of Women in the Law UK – a non-organisation organisation, inspiring all women and men passionate about diversity in the law, as well as being a busy radio broadcaster!
This episode comes particularly well-timed on our part this week as the coverage of the Members of the Criminal Bar Association strikes are happening from Monday 5th September – something in which Sally is taking part.
𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧?
In this episode, hosted by our Rob Hanna, you can hear Sally discussing:
- The difference between each area of law and why it’s important to know
- Details on the daily life of an acting barrister
- Sally’s inspiration to build the successful Women in the Law UK organisation, championing diversity in law
- Sally’s MBE award and what this has meant for her and her career
- The positive changes that should and could be implemented in the legal profession
- Sally’s experience as an author and why she was driven to write books and share her knowledge
- Podcasting in the legal industry and why law firms should be considering it
Here are 3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Learn why Dr. Sally MBE is passionate about diversity and representation.
- Understand why well-being is important in the legal profession.
- How to join Women in the Law UK.
- Dr. Sally Penni MBE
- Women in the Law UK
- Association of Women Barristers
- Association of Women Solicitors
- Women in Criminal Law
- Talking Law Podcast
- Gain exclusive benefits and bonus content by signing up on Legally Speaking Podcast’s Patreon page!
Dr. Sally MBE’s background and journey:
- Dr. Sally MBE’s parents were immigrants who came to England to study.
- They wanted Dr. Sally MBE to go down the medical route.
- The main reason was, Dr Sally MBE used to read the Rumpole of the Bailey books, written by John Mortimer.
- Dr. Sally MBE wrote many applications for pupillage and unlike her colleagues, she would always get down to the last 2.
- She got pupillage after finishing Bar school, starting her career in Bristol.
- Dr. Sally MBE done a common law pupillage, which included crime, family and employment law.
- Dr. Sally MBE’s journey was hard. She learnt to be resilient and not give up.
Dr. Sally MBE’s preferred area of law to practice:
- Dr. Sally MBE deals with the detention and unlawful detention of young people.
- She calls this criminal or common law.
- Dr. Sally MBE explains the language we use to address different areas of law has changed.
- She believes there is a skill in being able to adapt with the changes.
- Dr. Sally MBE has always been a jury advocate, specialising in vulnerable people, complex cases, complex crime, employment and discrimination cases.
- She has been called for 23 years as a barrister.
- If she had a preference, she would always be a criminal advocate.
- Some of her work involves prosecuting people for data protection and GDPR breaches.
- This is crime, but it is also regulatory crime.
What does a typical day of a barrister look like?:
- Dr. Sally MBE will arrive at court very early.
- She would have dropped off her children at school.
- Dr. Sally MBE prepares her papers the night before.
- When in court, she goes to the robing room, gets robed and re-reads the case she has.
- If Dr. Sally MBE is prosecuting, she introduces herself to the witnesses, alongside her instructing solicitor or caseworker.
- Court will start between 10 o’clock and 10.30.
- If it is a trial, Dr. Sally MBE will panel a jury, discuss the area of law concerned, open the case and start calling witnesses.
- This will run until 1 o’clock and court commences at 2 o’clock. The court day ends at 5 o’clock.
- If Dr. Sally MBE is defending, she spends more time with the client, going through their case.
- Dr. Sally MBE will be going over the proof of evidence, preparing the client for what the court room looks like.
- 1 new thing Dr. Sally MBE has been trying since lockdown, is during lunchtimes, she will leave the court physically to walk around the court building.
What does a typical day look like for Dr. Sally MBE?:
- Dr. Sally MBE has family commitments, so during her coffee breaks, she arranges hospital appointments and food shops.
- She tends to do a trial, then have a week off.
- During the week off, she prepares for board meetings and her school governor roles.
Dr. Sally MBE’s memorable cases:
- Dr. Sally MBE’s memorable cases includes a pro bono case she done over 20 years ago.
- It was a criminal injuries compensation for a young woman.
- The case was reported, but never prosecuted.
- Dr. Sally MBE went to London to the appeal court.
- She won a lot of money for the young woman.
- This case stays with Dr. Sally MBE because it reminds her of why she wanted to become a barrister – the sense of justice, writing, unfairness and wrong.
- The 2nd case is a cleaner whom Dr. Sally MBE represented. She was subjected to detrimental treatment and dismissed unfairly.
- For Dr. Sally MBE, it’s the smaller cases which have stayed with her.
Dr. Sally MBE’s involvement as a bencher at Grays’s Inn and Master of the Bench:
- Dr. Sally MBE is a member of Gray’s Inn.
- The benchers are very senior lawyers, barristers and judges.
- They elect individuals to govern the Inn.
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an honouree of Gray’s Inn. Lady Hale and Kirsty Brimelow are also members of Gray’s Inn.
- Dr. Sally MBE’s role involves the educational part of the Inn, teaching advocacy and showcasing the Inn.
- She also has the responsibility of ensuring there is representation from all backgrounds.
- In the Inn, individuals are addressed as Master.
What inspired Dr. Sally MBE to found Women in the Law UK:
- After Dr. Sally MBE had her eldest child and came back to work, it was like a shock.
- She felt no one had taught her communication, negotiation and avoiding burn out.
- There was no one doing this and Dr. Sally MBE wanted to go somewhere to learn.
- Dr. Sally MBE set up the organisation, for women and men, to learn about communication skills, imposter syndrome, becoming an ally and discuss broader issues.
- Women in the Law UK started off as an annual dinner, with a speaker to inspire the audience.
- Dr. Sally MBE wanted to learn some of the other skills in business, like resilience.
- She wanted tomorrow’s leaders to have somewhere to learn and to compliment all the existing organisations.
Why Dr. Sally MBE believes there is a significant need for legal professionals to learn the importance of well-being:
- The legal profession is high pressured and people’s liberties are at stake.
- Well-being is important because if we are not in tip-top shape, we will make mistakes.
- We need to look after ourselves.
- The reality is people have looked at their well-being and want to manage their careers to live better lives.
- Women in the Law UK have virtual well-being sessions, with people joining from all over the world.
- The organisation has a professional counsellor and psychologist for members to talk to.
- People need to be asked how they are doing and need a safe place to talk confidentially.
- As a profession, Dr. Sally MBE thinks we need to invest in well-being for judges, lawyers, solicitors and the Bar – because we cannot all afford to burn out.
How Dr. Sally MBE felt when she was awarded her MBE:
- Dr. Sally MBE received an email during the 2020 lockdown about her MBE.
- It was then announced in The Times.
- Dr. Sally MBE was thrilled and shocked. She was pleased because it meant some of the work she had been doing for young people, speaking in schools, was recognised.
- When Dr. Sally MBE received her MBE, it was presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.
- She hopes her work and by giving extra, other people feel they can do the same and inspire young people.
- For her, it was a great honour, but she has tried to carry on.
Dr. Sally MBE as an author and her books:
- Dr. Sally MBE’s legal books were about cyber security, because at the time, people were finding it hard to work out how GDPR worked.
- Dr. Sally MBE is keen to write about law because she wants to make law more accessible for people.
- She wants to write, so people can pick up a manual and understand the basics.
- Law books are expensive and Dr. Sally MBE wants them to be affordable.
- The Talking Law Series includes careers and skills advice for aspiring lawyers.
- The money from the books go to charity.
- Dr. Sally MBE has written 16 books now.
What Dr. Sally MBE enjoyed most about writing ‘Rosie and the Unicorn’ with her daughter:
- Dr. Sally MBE wanted to raise money and the series is now on book 4.
- The book gave Dr. Sally MBE the opportunity to include the law, as well as motivation for children to think about careers early on.
- BBC News, Five Live and other news channels contacted Dr. Sally MBE and her daughter.
Dr. Sally MBE’s role model:
- Dr. Sally MBE’s role model is Baroness Helena Kennedy QC at Doughty Street.
- She is from Glasgow and has 3 children.
- She has represented Myra Hindley and Julian Assange.
- Baroness Kennedy QC has used her voice, to show she cares hugely about women’s rights.
- She is the author of ‘Eve was Framed’.
- More recently, she has been involved in bringing over judges from Afghanistan.
- Dr. Sally MBE really admires her as a role model.
- Other role models Dr. Sally MBE look up to include Anesta Weekes QC, Baroness Scotland and Linda Dobbs.
Talking Law podcast series:
- Jodie Hill has featured on the podcast – she is passionate about well-being.
- Other established people in law or those who have been affected by the law, including Gina Miller, have made an appearance on the podcast.
- The podcast is about career advice, well-being, resilience, failure and what success means.
- The podcast has been listened to in 12 countries and has 150,000 listeners.
- Dr. Sally MBE wanted to hear the voices of those who are not the traditional success stories.
- It is about hearing a different narrative.
- There is something in the stories of others that is really powerful.
Dr. Sally MBE’s experience as a TEDx speaker:
- Dr. Sally MBE done her TEDx Talk in Swansea.
- Dr. Sally MBE loves TED Talks and thinks there’s always a TED Talk on a subject to inspire anyone.
- Her favourite is Brenee Brown on vulnerability.
- Dr. Sally MBE’s TEDx Talk is called ‘Can love conquer hate?’.
- Dr. Sally MBE did feel out of her comfort zone, but believes nothing was ever achieved in comfort.
Dr. Sally MBE’s advice to aspiring barristers:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare for the path ahead.
- Law is a marathon; it’s not a sprint and you’re not going to get there tomorrow.
- Prepare for what’s coming ahead.
- Be prepared to be agile and adaptable.
- Have a look around the areas you want to go in.
- Look for people you admire or emulate, see what they did and mimic this.
- We need to allow ourselves to adapt to those external factors that come in when we don’t expect it.
5 powerful quotes from this episode:
- “Whatever career you’re trying to aspire for, just go for it. And as long as you do not give up, you will be successful”.
- “I would say, prepare, prepare, prepare for the path ahead”.
- “Look for people that you know, you might want to admire or emulate, see what they did, and can you do it a bit better, or go, kind of mimic what they do”.
- “I wanted to learn, you know, I’m a sucker for learning constantly”.
- “But there are many routes to the destination that you might want to get to, you know, as aspiring lawyers or aspiring business people, whatever stage you’re at, and the motorway is not always the route there”.
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To learning more about the exciting world of law, Rob Hanna and the Legally Speaking Podcast Team.
00:05 Rob Hanna:
Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. You are now listening to Season 6 of the show. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I’m absolutely delighted to be joined by the wonderful Dr. Sally Penni MBE, barrister at law, Doctor of Laws, author and speaker. Sally is a barrister at Kenworthy Chambers, practicing criminal, GDPR, data protection and employment law. She has been appointed to the list of counsel for the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Sally is also a radio broadcaster and diversity leader. Additionally, Sally is the proud founder of Women in the Law UK, a non-organisation inspiring all women and men passionate about diversity in the law. So a very, very warm welcome, Sally.
00:53 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Oh, wow, Robert, thank you so much for inviting me. You’ve had such amazing guests on here, and I listen to this podcast regularly. Usually when I’m out for the dog, or driving to court. So I feel really honoured to be invited on this brilliant, brilliant podcast. And it’s weird to think about all those things you read out, are actually me.
01:15 Rob Hanna:
And that’s not all of them. So we’re equally honoured to have you Sally, there’s, I mean, it’s an endless list of achievements. And I guess before we go through all your amazing projects, experiences, we do have a customary icebreaker question here on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real. What would you rate the hit TV series Suits in terms of its reality?
01:44 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Oh, gosh, well, you know, I’m at the Bar. And maybe we’re a bit more pessimistic. I’d probably say 5 it’s not an area. I’m not American. I practice English law. But I mean, I’d rate rate it 10 on enjoyment, on reality, probably a bit less I’m afraid. Probably 5 or less, which might be a bit unkind, but on entertainment value, I think it’s probably 10. But on a reality. Yeah, I think that’s fair. I didn’t want to be mean, but you know, you wouldn’t, it’s fraud to lie about qualifications.
02:24 Rob Hanna:
This is true. This is true. If you don’t know what Sally’s references, go and check out Suits, because there’s entertainment there in abundance. And 5 is a fair score. We split the pack. But let’s start at the beginning of this incredible journey Sally. Would you mind telling our listeners a bit about your background and journey?
02:43 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Well, gosh, well, I’m the produce of 2 non-lawyers, who were immigrants, who came to England to study and they didn’t know any lawyers, and they certainly didn’t approve of lawyers. So that was never in their dream for me. And they wanted me actually to go down the medical route. I didn’t take my place to read medicine. And the main reason was, I used to read the Rumpole of the Bailey books, written by John Mortimer. And they were then made into television programs, which I was then later allowed to watch. And, and for people who are so obviously much younger than me, like you, Rumpole was sort of a large white man greying in hair. He used to drink at lunchtime. I don’t do that. And, and he acted for all sorts of characters, in the program, defending them at the Old Bailey. And it was a really quite entertaining character. But it was all about fair fairness, and justice and truce if you like. So an early version of Suits. Suits is a modern version of that type of idea, television as a way of inspiring young people. And so I didn’t do medicine, I read law. I found it very hard after law because I was a top student, if you like, my parents were like, you’re black and you’re a woman. You need to work hard. And so you know, I couldn’t have got a job in Sainsbury’s or whatever. Well, I could have done, I’ve had a job in Sainsbury’s. But that wouldn’t have been enough. It was always education was a path that they cherished and had big dreams. And I’m 1 of 5, I’m the eldest. And so I did find law hard. I didn’t know anybody. I wrote many applications for pupillage, which is a training part, there. And for me, unlike some of my colleagues, whom I studied with, who also looking for pupillage, who were, you know, white women and white guys, they never even got interviews, you know, for training places. I would always get down to the last 2. And there would be me and somebody who didn’t look like me. I didn’t have a chip on my shoulder, but I did notice it as time went on, and then I wouldn’t get it. So I wrote a lot of applications, both formally, and then through the CV post, and then I did pupillage. I got pupillage not that far since I finished Bar school actually. And started my career in Bristol, doing a common law pupillage, which was a bit of everything, crime, family, I used to do family work, employment, and so on. So it wasn’t an early, it wasn’t an easy route, there was no silver spoon, there was no kind of, you know, bank of mum and dad or a friend, you know, I had a loan. And my journey, if you like, I think is probably like most people’s now, you know, quite hard, but having to learn things like resilience, not giving up, picking oneself up, you know, when you get millions of rejection letters, even after the interview. And finally, ways to use some of the skills that perhaps you know, people don’t tell you, is some of the jobs that a bit rubbish, or you think are a bit rubbish at the time, like cutting out, you know, law reports in the chambers library. And but actually, that been very helpful in a pupillage scholarship interview, to recount those, you know, to lead you know, nowadays, I think there’s an app is in there that cuts out newspaper cuttings for you. Not, 20 years ago. So sorry, that was a bit of a long, prolong, but I would want people to think I’ve had, you know, some indulgent life, I’ve worked very hard to try and get somewhere and to try and have a message that if I can do it, then other people can, too.
06:28 Rob Hanna:
That’s inspiring in itself. And I appreciate the realness of that. Because I think nowadays, we live in a society where it’s, there’s so much social media, there’s so much noise, there’s so much around people thinking that success comes easily. And there is no substitute for hard work. And you know, what you’ve said there, you know, rejection is just redirection and how you were resilient, and you carried on going to the next one, the next one, there’s a real learning in there for people you know, and whatever you’re trying to do, whatever career you’re trying to aspire for, you know, just go for it. And as long as you do not give up, you will be successful. So really appreciate you sharing that and that tenacity, and that resilience has obviously led you to be highly successful in what you, you have achieved. And obviously, as a barrister, you touched on it there, you’ve done many, many areas of law from employment, data protection, criminal, you name it, do you have a preferred area, per se, of law that you most like to practice?
07:19 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Well, you know, it’s an interesting question, because, you know, people like Adam Wagner would call themselves human rights barristers but they wouldn’t say they were crime, but they might deal with the human rights, detention or unlawful detention of a young person. Well, I deal in that area, but I would call it criminal law, or common law, whereas actually, the language we use in the areas have changed alot. And I don’t know about preference, because, you know, I’ve always been a jury advocate. And I’ve always specialize in vulnerable people, complex cases, complex crime, but equally employment and discrimination cases. So I don’t know if I’ve got a preference as such, I think the skill set in my area, you know, I’ve been called for 23 years as a barrister, was that we did common law pupillages is nowadays the encouragement is very specialized, you know, you’re either doing just pure civil, personal injury, clinical negligence, family law, just contact, you know, private family law, or public family, all of those things. And as the areas are changing, I do think there is a skill in being able to adapt with the changes that come. So if I suppose if I had a preference, I’ll always be a criminal advocate, I’ll always be an advocate in that way, even though, you know, some of my work that involves prosecuting people for data protection breaches, and for breaches of GDPR and representing those who have breached them. That’s still crime, but it’s regulatory crime. So yeah, I, I suppose I love being an advocate. And so I’ll always be that, but yeah, probably a criminal advocate. I’m not sure about preference.
09:00 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, well, I think again, you gave so many little nuggets there, within that, and I can just hear the passion in your voice for what you do, which is which is lovely to hear. So a 2 part question. What does a typical day of a barrister look like? And then what does a typical day look like for Sally, given you’re involved in so many things? Let’s go for point number 1, a typical day for a barrister?
09:20 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Well, a typical day for a barrister so let’s say whether it’s for criminal barrister, maybe I’ll say an employment barrister. But generally, arriving at court very early. I was always taught that by my brilliant pupil master, he used to say get somewhere early, find a hotel and order a pot of tea. And I’m like, what, at 7 o’clock in the morning, but I don’t quite do that because I’ve got children but ideally, I would have dropped off my children, at school, my husband is not a stay-at-home husband. So you know, I’m in a family relationship where we’re both equal with our jobs. So children are taken care of, three of them in school, dropped off ideally by me, because I get brownie points. If not, I will arrive a court very early, I tend to get grab a coffee on route. I would have prepared my papers the night before, if not beforehand, get to court early, robing room, get robed, and then re-read the case I’ve got and prepared. If I’m lucky, and it’s a good day, I would be reading a copy of newspaper in the robing rooms, if they’re still there, depending on where I am. Often barristers have to travel to different destinations. The introduction of the common platform, which is CVP. And using the technology was working, but it’s sort of been redacted somewhat in different jurisdictions, certainly in mine, so it’s physical court work. And then if I’m conducting a trial, I would then be waiting, if I’m prosecuting, to go to see the witnesses are there, introduce myself, hello, I’m Miss Penni, whatever, with my instructing solicitor or caseworker there, and then court will normally start about 10 o’clock or 10.30. And then I would open a case, if it’s a trial, we’ll panel a jury, there would be a discussion about the areas of law, and then I would open the case and then start calling witnesses. That would run to 1 o’clock, which is lunchtime, and the court will start again at 2 o’clock or 2.15. Then we will then sit after 2 o’clock, 2.15, until about 5 o’clock, and that will be the end of the court day. If it’s I’m defending, there’s a lot more time spent with the client, going through their case. Sometimes clients are not the best people in keeping appointments. And so I will be going over the proof of evidence, preparing them for what the court room will look like, what questions might come, but just briefly, because a lot of ordinary people have not been to court before. And if I may, so that they get a feel of what the courtroom might be like, maybe a sneaky preview to have a look through, where the judge would sit, where the jury might sit, where they will be in the dock, and so on. And then they will remain in the court. At lunchtime, I would have a coffee, sometimes I’m not very good at eating. Whilst I’m in a trial, I might just grab a coffee with my solicitor if I’ve got one there. Or my new thing I’ve been trying to do since lockdown is just leave the court physically and go walk around the court building, there. If it’s an employment case, it’s a bit different. So it might be, it might be against counsel who’s from out of town, and trying to work out, what, what you know, what witnesses are really are relevant, and whether the case is prone for settlement, or any areas that we can agree on or disagree on. And then again, the case will start from 10, stop for lunch, and then restart. It’s far as your 2nd question about what the day is like for me, is because I have a family, and because I have family commitments, actually the coffee breaks and so on, I’m not really sitting around, chatting, I am often on the phone, whether it’s arranging hospital appointments, or a food shop or whatever else, in between. And then we get called, called back on. So that’s what I tend to do. But these days, I tend to do a trial, then maybe have a week off. And then the week off would be preparing for whether it’s board meetings, or some of the other roles that I have or school governor roles, and so on. So I don’t tend to do trial after trial after trial after trial anymore, which is what I used to do.
13:36 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, and again that leads quite nicely on to the most memorable case to date. And I appreciate it may be very hard to narrow down to 1. So if it’s difficult, maybe just some themes, but yeah, some of your memorable cases that sort of come to mind.
13:50 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Wow. Well, do you know that there? It’s a great question, because it is not always a high-profile cases, which might be newspapers. You know, they’re difficult cases, different pressures apply to those for different reasons. But it’s a little cases with the little people. So if I may, number 1 is a case I did actually gosh, over 20 years ago, pro bono, and it was a criminal injuries compensation for a young woman who had been sexually assaulted. And the case was never prosecuted. It was reported, but it was never prosecuted. And I actually wanted to JR it, the decision not to prosecute in those days actually, but we didn’t have any money. But that’s another story. So we brought a claim for criminal injuries compensation and she had her own difficulties, neurodiverse difficulties and she lived with her granny. So the papers were sort of brought to me in a bit of a, you know, Aldi bag, flimsy, very heavy. And, and then I had to sort of put it all together, in a draft schedule, it was hours of work. And it was just before I was on my feet, I think I was still in my 1st 6th actually. And then we had to go to London to the, to appeal court. And I have to say, I was dreading it. Talk about advocacy. I was like, oh my God, you know, this is a big leave for court. Anyway, we won. And we won a lot of money for that, for that young woman, you knew that she was under 18. And she wanted to go to college. And that stays with me because it really reminds me of why I wanted to become a barrister as I am, or a lawyer, that sense of justice and writing and unfairness and a wrong. And she writes to me from time to time again, now and again, to my old chambers, who forward it up, up here, just saying how she’s doing. And she’s a grown woman now. So that always stays with me, because it shows the power of, of doing good, and the power of the law and what we can all do. And the 2nd case is a cleaner, who I represented, was dismissed unfairly, because she saw the boss, I can’t say too much, the boss having an affair with somebody else in the firm. So she was subjected to all sorts of detrimental treatment, and then dismissed unfairly, and we brought a claim. And if I may say, so she was a very, very elderly lady. And it was the only way she could get out of the house. So I wouldn’t say she was the best cleaner in the world. But she had all sorts of stories. And that cleaning job was her life. You know, she loved the people there and got her out. And anyway, we won her claim, which was really, really good. And that stays with me because, she will be about oh God, 96 or something now, and it’s the little people, I think it’s those cases. Yes, the high profile cases, you know, where people have been incarcerated and accused of all sorts of crimes. And then you know, the trial comes and it’s difficult, it’s prolonged. And then they’re acquitted. Of course they are, or the vulnerable cases, which are historic abuse cases. And then you’ve got to bring the cases again, and you’re prosecuting, the pressures on you. You’ve got to cross examine, you know, the individual that might be a family member. Yes, they are memorable cases. But it’s for me, it’s been those, the little cases, particularly the earlier part of my career, which have stayed with me.
17:21 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, and it’s so, so great that you touch on those because it is those ones that probably don’t get that mass public media attention, that means so much more to you. Because you know, it’s almost, it’s business, but it’s personal. I love that you, you shared that story about the cleaner. It sounds like I probably don’t want that cleaner from my house, but they’re a very good person, and deserve everything they’ve got. I guess moving, moving on because you do do so many things Sally, and you are a bencher at Gray’s Inn, Master of the Bench. So can you tell us more about that and what that involves?
17:55 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Yeah, well, each, every barrister has to belong to an Inn. There are 4 Inns in England. Gray’s, which I am a member of, is the smallest, Lincoln’s, Middle Temple and Inner Temple. And what happens is, is it’s a governing role. It’s a bit like being a NED, I suppose. And the benchers already in the Inns, who are very senior lawyers, barristers, judges. And it doesn’t include solicitors. They’re employed Bar, who are barristers working in-house, but they then elect individuals to govern the Inn and make sure that the Inn is run properly and can contribute to the Inn. And so, I was elected by Gray’s Inn. I don’t know who nominated or but everybody has to vote. I think it’s how you get in. And I was quite shocked because I’m relatively young. But and so I did have impostor syndrome hugely, because especially Gray’s Inn, has some mighty, mighty benches. You know, the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an honouree bencher of Gray’s Inn. Lady Hale, is a bencher of Gray’s Inn. There’s a huge amount of, Kirsty Brimelow, really big brains in Britain. And so it was an honour. And then of course, you have to accept, and I did think crikey, what do they want me for? And so that role actually involves being involved in the educational part of the Inn as well, teaching advocacy, being involved in sort of the decisions of the Inn, how to make the Inn more egalitarian, showcasing that the Inn and the profession is inclusive and diverse. And so I’ve been involved in those aspects of it, and also just ensuring that the tomorrow’s leaders, when they look at the leaders that there are, that they are representative, that you do see women and you do see people from all sorts of background in leadership positions. So that’s been a very interesting role. And actually, in the Inn everybody calls your Master, even if you’re a woman or a man or you know, whatever it would be, you would be Master Hanna. And yeah, this, there’s no mistress or miss or anything, it’s just everyone’s equal, so I’m Master Penni there.
20:13 Rob Hanna:
Got a good ring to it. I like that. I quite like Master Hanna as well actually. One day, who knows, who knows, and I guess sticking with diversity because I know it’s something you’re very passionate about and you know you don’t just talk about it, you take action. So you’re the very proud founder of Women in the Law UK, where you are championing diversity in the law. So what particularly inspired you to found the organisation and what would you like members to gain from joining?
20:40 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Oh, thank you. That’s such a great question. Wow. Well, firstly, there are so many brilliant other organisations, you know, there’s the Association of Women Barristers, which I was joined vice-chair of. There’s the Association of Women Solicitors, there’s Women in Criminal Law now, there’s all sorts of women organisations. But for me, at the time, when I had my eldest child, who’s now 12, and came back to work, it was a shock, because, you know, I didn’t have anybody to say, you know, you’re going to need a people carrier now, because I went on to have 2 other children. So you have to miss your small car. And there weren’t sort of, I felt for me the skills that I was good at the advocacy, the drafting and the drafting particulars, all of those kinds of lawyer skills, fine. I did feel like oh my god, do I know what I’m doing because you’ve had a baby, you’re on maternity leave, right? But the other skills, no one really taught you like communication, like negotiation, like how not to burn out. And there wasn’t anybody really doing that in a way for me that I felt wasn’t preachy, wasn’t a bit sort of sanctimonious. I just wanted to go somewhere, sounds cheesy, but when everyone knows your name, there’s no cliques, you can just come and learn. So I was inspired to set that up, really, for women and men, because I think a lot of the issues we cover those of men come to our stuff, are the same, you know, they are things about communication skills, imposter syndrome, you know, how does one become an ally, on what, what is an ally, you know, some of the broader issues, and I wanted to learn, you know, I’m a sucker for learning constantly. So I set that up, so that we could have an informal setting, it started off in an annual dinner, actually, and would invite a speaker who would inspire us, and maybe whilst you’re at this event might think about career progression as well, for example, and then work out how you might become a partner in a law firm, or how you might set up your own law firm. So they were some of the sort of reasons really, and because I didn’t see a lot of the profession as it is now, it’s now wonderfully diverse, with people from all sorts of ethnically diverse backgrounds, but also people from all sorts of technical background, you know, ideologies, different skill set, different routes into the profession. And so that’s why I set it up. And I just wanted to learn some of the other skills in business, you know, like resilience, what is resilience? Right? How do you have a difficult conversation? We’re not, we’re not taught that, you know, at Bar school, won’t be taught negotiation skills, where you end up screaming down the throat of your colleague, who you’ve got on well with, but that’s not negotiation. And so I just wanted to maybe create a model that was comfortable. And we could learn stuff like, you know, recruiters, what do recruiters look for when they’re looking to place a solicitor in a firm or an in-house firm, what is in-house, you know. Actually, is it better suited for people with families or caring responsibilities to become GC’s or in-house counsel, and I didn’t feel there was a place that was offering some of those, so that’s why I set it up. And really, so that tomorrow’s leaders have somewhere to learn those in a different sort of way, to compliment all the existing brilliant organisations that there are really. So that’s what I’ve been doing and is now got 25,000 followers, you can be a member or not. And it’s been a wonderful place to also meet trainers and coaches who can assist people down the line who might need those, you know, I always say, remember, when Andy Murray was trying to win Wimbledon, then he got that brilliant coach, his name escapes me now. Whatever that coach gave him, sometimes I think that we all need that. And sometimes for us, whether as women or maybe as ethnic diverse people, sometimes it’s confidence, we lack that confidence. And if things like coaches or other people can inspire us to have more confidence, then why not? You know, that’s all I’m trying to do.
24:43 Rob Hanna:
I love that, I’ve always said if you could bottle up confidence and give it to people to drink honestly, this world would be incredible. It will, that hidden talent to encourage those people to come out with their and exhaust their talents would be phenomenal. So who knows? We’ll try and put our brains together and, and make that happen. Time for a quick break from the show. You wouldn’t leave a potential client waiting in your office for 3 days, but what about when it comes to returning potential client phone calls, emails or even web enquiries. If you’re not responding rapidly to those who enquire about your firm’s services, you could be losing money, losing clients, and affecting your law firm’s reputation. Thankfully there’s a resource from our sponsor Clio, that can help you, called how to grow your firm with legal client intake. It’s a free guide that will show you exactly how and why you should be automating your client intake process. Download your free copy at Clio dot com forward slash UK forward slash free intake guide. That’s Clio c l i o dot come forward slash UK forward slash free intake guide. Now back to the show. Sticking with you know, the Women in the Law UK because you know, you talk so passionately, and 25,000 followers doesn’t come overnight. So again, building communities takes a lot of time, energy and effort outside of obviously what you’re doing for the day job. You also within Women in Law UK hold wellbeing sessions. Yes. So do you think there is a significant need for legal professionals to learn the importance of well-being? And if so why?
26:16 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Wow, that’s a big question. Actually, a very good question. I think and, you know, personally, we’re in a profession that is high pressured, you know, we’re acting for people’s lives, we’re acting for companies, which people have built. And even in my jurisdiction, there are people’s liberties at stake. Yeah, it’s not an easy, easy job. And even in business law, and you know, your areas, I think it’s high pressured, and the hours are long, and there is scope for burnout. There are weeks where, literally, I’m just surviving on coffee, you know, get home, feed the children, make sure the kids are at activities, and then you’re back, just doing, you know, preparing the next day, the next day’s case. So before you know it, it’s Saturday. Saturday is the same, you’ve not had a weekend. You go to court, people say, what did you do at the weekend, and you’re scratching your head thinking, well, yeah, I’ve took my son to the football game, or my daughter to ballet. But actually, I’ve just spent the entire weekend drafting and writing openings. So I think well-being is important because, if we are not in tip-top shape, we’ll make errors. That’s the number 1 thing. Secondly, we need to look after ourselves. There’s that saying, isn’t there about, oxygen mask on 1st, on the aeroplane, yeah, before you can help anybody. And I just don’t think we are good at it. I think the law is such that we don’t think about it. That’s the 1st thing we think about, we’re not thinking, you know, we’re getting knacked and we’re just living off pizzas or coffees or fags or whatever. But I just don’t think we are. As a profession, I think we need to revisit it because look, we’ve been in a pandemic, haven’t we, for over 2 years. Law firms are struggling, not just law firms, you know civil servants, businesses, to get people back physically into offices. Now you might have different things to say about that, flexible working, I have too. But the reality is people have looked at their well-being, we know there’s a great resign. It’s not because people don’t need money, we’re going into recession. But they’re looking at how they can manage their careers, and their lives better, in a much more well-being wellness sort of way. Yeah. And we talk about work life balance, but what does that really mean. And I think as a profession, we need to do it. I know judges who have resigned, because, I forget her name now, that I think its Judge Conway, because of well-being. They want better well-being right. That’s nothing to do with the support that might be there. They just want a more of a rounded approach. And the reason people aren’t going back into the offices full time is that they’re quite content to go in 2 days a week, and do the rest of the work from home because it’s better for their well-being and their wellness. And I do think we need to think about that and deal with it better. Because also, you know, sickness costs billions to the economy and to firms, when you’ve got people who are off ill because they burn out or they’re sick, that’s expensive. So we do have to deal with it. It’s not just a nicety, it’s not a moral argument for me. I think we need to look after ourselves, and we’ve got to force it. And in, in lockdown. And now we still have those well-being sessions, Women in the Law, there virtual, people join us from all over the country. And you know, all over the world, you know, Australia, Canada, it gives people a release. And we do have a professional counsellor who can take people aside, who leads it, we have a psychologist who leads it, they take it in turns. But people do need to be asked, how are you doing? You know how you’re feeling? What’s your week been like and have a place confidentially to talk to other people. So I do think as a profession, yes, we need to invest in well-being, we need to invest in well-being for the judges, for lawyers and solicitors and for the Bar because, we can’t all afford to burn out. I think you know, and there’ll be nobody to do the jobs and young people Robert, pupils and the young people that I see, young doctors, I was told this by a doctor friend the other day, they’re quite happy to be paid less and have more time.
30:08 Rob Hanna:
Well, that’s the one thing we can’t get back. Yeah. So you know, the reality is, and I love that you talk about that so openly because I say self-care is a strength, not a weakness. I think to have the courage to look after yourself first and see that as a strength, so you can be even more of an asset to your clients or your community verbing suffering and silence, which is a weakness, but having the right people around you who can help you, who support you, so you don’t suffer. That’s really important, because I want people to know that self-care is not a bad thing. It’s important. And you know, we’re humans, we all have stresses, worries, imposter syndrome. You’ve spoken openly about that yourself achieving roles that you thought, wow, I wouldn’t expect this for years. And so it’s, it’s so important that we have thought leaders like you that come on, speak openly, and also said, this is important. This is not a tick in the box. This is important, because we don’t want burnout. And people spend a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of sacrifice to get into these roles. And we want them to enjoy it. So really appreciate you sharing that. And it’s just a testament to you as an individual and your values. And I guess sticking with successes in 2021, a little birdie told me you were recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for your services to diversity in the workplace, social mobility and the law. I mean, that is an amazing achievement. How did it feel when you were awarded the MBE?
31:28 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Oh, gosh. Well successes. Well, firstly, actually, because it’s all very secretive. And I don’t think we’re, we’re at liberty to discuss how it all happens. I don’t know how it happened. I just got an email because it was in lockdown. So it was in 2020. You can’t tell anyone, not even your mom. And then, and then that’s it, and you just forget about it, you just forget about it, and then it’s announced. And people were like, emailing me saying, you’re in The Times, you’re in The Times and I’m like, ah, yeah, thank you, because you don’t know when it’s gonna come out. So the short answer is, I was absolutely thrilled, but shocked, totally no idea, who nominated me, where it came from, or whatever. But this small part of me was just that, I was so pleased that it meant that some of the work that I’ve been doing for young people, speaking in schools and saying, you know, anyone can be a lawyer, the lawyer, the law is a tool we can use, was a good thing. Maybe it inspired others to think about careers in law, different types of law, not just the areas that maybe I prefer or enjoy. So I did think, oh my god, I think I thought it was a joke to be quite honest with you, and deleted the email. And they were sent several times before I thought, oh, crikey, it is, it is really real, when it came. And then when I received it, it was Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, because Her Majesty was unwell, and it was COVID and so on. And I was so nervous and even waiting to get in, I was sweating. I still did feel that imposter. I thought somebody was going to come and say, Sally Penni, do you know and weirdly, it was before I wrote any of my books even, so, and then in the Palace, when you walk in, people just say to you, congratulations, congratulations. And you think, but you don’t know me, you don’t know what I’ve done. So it was an honour. And Princess Anne was wonderful. You know, she’s a hard-working royal, and was asking about what inspired me and you knew we had a little laugh. And I was so nervous. You know, I think I was more nervous than my call night, actually, all those years ago. But it was lovely. And it was lovely for my family, because when you have to give more than just a day job to try and better, you know, the future for others, that come sacrifices, you know, I am working late at night to finish my books. I am getting up really early to prepare my cases. I am traveling to speak at Warwick University or going to Oxford to talk to young women about not dropping out or whatever. And so it was nice. And I do hope that, you know, my work and the sort of giving extra, other people feel they can do the same and can inspire other young people because it’s not really a stop gap. It’s just, I’m really delighted to have it, but I’ve just carried on doing what I’m doing to be quite honest. And I never expected anything for it. And you know, it really pleases me when people text and say, DM, I’ve got, you know, I listened to this or I read this or I heard you speak at this, and now I’m a lawyer. I think, oh my god, you know somebody who was 14 and did bar mock trials has now become a barrister. I think, wow, well done and keep going. So it was a great honour but I’ve just tried to carry on and I was totally shocked.
34:59 Rob Hanna:
Well I don’t think I’m shocked. I think you’ve thoroughly deserved it. You earned your absolute right to be at the table and congratulation from all of us on the show. I think it’s an amazing achievement. And sow seeds do good deeds good things happen. And you did touch on and we have to because you are multi-talented, your book, or your books, plural, I should say, you are the author of several books now. So can you tell us more about your books? And why are you keen to share your knowledge through writing?
35:30 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Well, thank you, Robert. Well, you know, my legal books, were about cyber security, because particularly at that time, people are finding it hard to work out how GDPR works. And you know, the old Data Protection Act as it was, prior to GDPR came in. That was sort of my first book from, from Bloomsbury, but I mean, I’m keen to write about law start, firstly, because I wanted to make law more accessible for people. And in times, like the pandemic, or you know, where people are sort of at the darkest hours, facing unemployment, pregnant, not knowing their rights, you know, they’re asking for reasonable adjustments or keeping in touch days, and whatever. And sometimes the employers themselves are not in fade with it. I wanted to just write, so people can just pick up a relatively, you know, thin manual, or book and think, right, I get that, I can at least do the basics, or I can go to my employer and say, actually, you’re supposed to be doing this. And so I wanted to make the law a little bit more accessible. So far as my legal books are concerned. And law books are expensive, I just wanted them to be affordable, you know, before people make an error in, particularly employers, and go down the wrong line, and they end up costing them a lot of money, maybe they might read some of my books and think, okay, there’s a point there. And for people who are feeling isolated, vulnerable times, they can at least know their rights in a basic way. So that was the first reason of the law books. The other books that I write, which is the Talking Law Series books, which are like talking law and careers, top law and skills, and so on, there for aspiring lawyers. I didn’t know any lawyers when I was growing up and wanted to become a barrister. And I just felt that if I knew some, or read about the stories of some, it would really help me, what they might have done, how they got to where they were, then they would help. So I started writing that series of books, and the money from those books go to charity, so I hope you don’t mind me talking about them. But people have found comfort in them, that you can flick through and think, well, if I’m growing up on a counsel estate, then actually that person is now a bencher in something or another or as a QC, then I can do it. And so that’s why I wanted to write those books and get the contributions of kind of experts. You know, CVs, why should your CV look like? Careers? Can you plan for a career? Can you be flexible? Some of those issues. So there some the reasons and some of the books I mean, I’ve written 16 books now. But they were some of the books that I write, and I know you’re gonna ask me about a children’s book, because you’ve got Otto, your beautiful son.
38:00 Rob Hanna:
Yes, I was going to say, you and your, so for context, during the pandemic, you and your daughter, Maddie wrote ‘Rosie and the Unicorn’. So this was to raise money for the NHS and celebrate your diverse local community. So what did you enjoy most about writing the book with your daughter? And did you expect to get such recognition, featuring in the news?
38:20 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
No, not at all. And let me tell you Robert, I, your sons are old enough yet for homeschooling, but I hope you don’t ever have to do it. In the pandemic, it was difficult, you know, trying to work and homeschool 3 children. And my daughter, especially because, you know, she’s not going to sit for hours on end and do any work that I’m setting, like her, and so be quiet, I’m on a webinar, or I’m on with court and DCS. So that, that’s why that arose. What I enjoyed writing about it, and I never thought it would go anywhere, I just wanted us to raise money, because then the teachers then didn’t contact me again to say, you’ve not uploaded any piece of work today on the school system. Because when they, I got that phone call, we wrote the book, and then the book came out and they saw it on the news. They never then ever asked me again, I thought, I think my job is done. But what I enjoyed about it was sort of the ability to be young again and think, you know, oh, I wouldn’t mind a unicorn to make everything alright, so, the powers of a unicorn is something sparkly. That, that was nice. And it was a nice thing for us. Because, you know, if you’re anybody who’s got siblings, the attention perhaps isn’t always there, if especially if you’re number 3, so that, that was a really nice thing to do. And you know, and that series is carried on, it’s on book 3 or book 4 now. But it also gave me the opportunity again, to sneak in a bit of law and sneak in a bit of motivation for you know, primary school children to think about careers early on, and not to feel that nothing is out of their reach, you know, that they can all reach for the stars. It gave me the opportunity to be a big kid again. And, and dream about unicorns and it has raised a lot of money for the charities and, and you know, and we’ve carried on in our written one with, with my son to and the dog because I’m a dog lover, but I never expected anyone to be interested, you know, BBC News, Five Live, all these other books. But I suppose one of the things you said earlier about me is that I think there’s an awful lot of reports about gender, the gender pay gap, or the ethnic gap or, you know, development or lack of progression of women in, in the law or in businesses, I think we just need action, we need to implement them. So when I thought there aren’t enough books, which you’ve got people who are from all sorts of backgrounds, I felt I should write one, when I thought there isn’t enough about the contributions of, you know, minorities in Britain, to the country, I wrote a black history book. You know, I’m a bit of a do-er like that, that’s not to say that the other means aren’t useful. I just prefer to sort of try and do what I can, in the ways that perhaps I can, in that sort of way. So I hope that answers that question. Sorry, it was a bit of a witter on.
41:12 Rob Hanna:
It does. Most definitely. And I love that you talk about you know, because, like much within the law, you can identify the problem. That’s not good enough, you need to also identify the solution, I’ll go and find a solution. And that’s brilliant that you did that. And I love that it brought out your inner child. And you know, you got to experience that. And it’s wonderful. And I guess talking of sort of, you know, unicorns and even role models and shooting for the stars. In your feature of the Council Magazine, you spoke about your role model, Helena Kennedy QC. So could you explain more why she is your role model?
41:47 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Well, do you know, Baroness Kennedy as she is, who’s a QC at Doughty Street. Well she’s Scottish from Glasgow. She’s got 3 kids. And she represented Myra Hindley, actually, in 1 of the trials, and I think latterly Julian Assange. Her story was just amazing. You know, she’s, she’s become a QC, which is sort of the pinnacle of our career. I’m a senior junior, I’m not quite at QC yet. But she has acted in cases and used her platform, as opposed to a different way than I have, you know, she sits in the House of Lords, I don’t. But she’s really kind of used her voice very well. She’s got a foundation, bringing on, she cares hugely about women’s rights, she has written books about it, ‘Eve was Framed’. And I just admire the way that she has used the law in a positive way so that people see the portrayal. And she’s managed to do it with 2, with 3 kids. And this kept her because she’s much older than myself, but she’s kept her voice going. And recently, she has been involved in bringing over to England, Afghan judges, you know, Afghanistan, which of course, the West left in such a hurry. It is a mess, you know, girls aren’t going to school, and a variety of things going on there because of course now it’s under Taliban rule. But the lawyers who were working there, particularly the women judges are scared of their lives, because you know, under the new leadership, things aren’t as they were. And she has been involved in that even, you know, imagine this woman who has spanned over 30 years in her career. So I really admire her as, as a role model, in the main. I mean, there are other role models, but in terms of sort of black women, I would probably say Anesta Weekes Queen’s Counsel, Baroness Scotland and Linda Dobbs. But I just found that, you know, Baroness Kennedy has carried on, and she seems to have an awful lot of energy, even, you know, as a mature age and is involved in like loads of fun things like the Wow, Women of the World Festival, and kind of like, you know, the John F. Kennedy Foundation, they hold a human rights festival, which I spoke at too with her about the laws of unintended consequences. She just keeps her energy going. And I don’t know where she gets it from. So I really admire her and I think, gosh, if I can achieve any of the things that she’s achieved, I just think she’s, she’s bloody brilliant. And so that’s why.
44:22 Rob Hanna:
What a perfect ringing endorsement and I can safely say you definitely have achieved quite a lot. So we can’t not finish by talking about not only your amazing podcast guests, and I thoroughly enjoy learning more about your story, but you’re also a wonderful podcast host and you have your own podcast series Talking Law, and you’ve had a variety of incredible guests from likes of Judge Robert Rinder to Lady Hale, the Secret Barrister, Gina Miller, many, many, many, many more. So what is the focus of the podcast and what do you hope for your audience to learn from your guests?
44:54 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Oh, thank you, Rob. Well, you’re on my list. You’ve got to come on my podcast too. Because I have a little, I have a little black book of people that I try to get. So yeah, keep tight. I suppose that podcast I started, I didn’t know if anybody would listen to it. But I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to learn about why, you know, a relatively young lawyer started their own law firm. Jodie Hill, you know, following a nervous breakdown and how she’s passionate about well-being. And I know, she’s been on this podcast, too. And then I thought, what about other of the established people in law, or those who have just been affected by the law or have brought cases in law, like Gina Miller, and what does that mean? And, you know, and to hear their voices. So the podcast really is about a variety of things, really, it’s about career advice, it’s about well-being, it’s about resilience, and it’s about failure, how people get up when they failed, you know, or feel that they failed, and, and really what success means and what careers mean, you know, progress. So that’s what the podcast is about, really. And it’s just gone crazy, because there’s all sorts of people listening. I mean, I don’t know, maybe you’re more strategic than me, but my podcast is listened to in about 12 countries. It’s got 150,000 listeners, I do know who’s listening. They send me messages. And it’s a positive feel, you know, I’m not cross-examining people necessarily. I am with some, some politicians. It’s apolitical. But it’s not really, you know, trying to be harmful, it’s trying to inspire and it’s trying to go, right, if you’re sitting in your bedroom, in somewhere that you don’t know any lawyers, or you don’t know anything about the law. Could you just listen to the free podcast and hear the story of David Lammy? Or hear the story of Tunde or hear the story of Rob Rinder, you know, he’s a huge success. He’s on telly, you know, but do people really know the backstory of him? And you know why he left the Bar, how he met Benedict Cumberbatch, you know, his Jewish background, and you know, his grandfather, and yeah, they’re quite emotional stories, really. So I’d say, he’s probably more sort of Terry Wogan, and then Parkinson, than, than, than Paxman. But I wanted people to hear the voices of those who perhaps are not necessarily the traditional success stories, or the normal leaders who have come the traditional routes. It’s actually just hearing a different narrative, and hoping that, you know, one might get a bit of advice about careers, well-being, resilience, or whatever it is from it. So thank you for, for listening to it. And so, it’s not, it’s not about the great and the good, there are loads of people on there that you’ve never heard of, you know, like comedians, like just in-house lawyers, talking about how they became in-house lawyers. So that’s why I started that really, I just thought it would, there was something in the stories of others that were really powerful and might just inspire, you know, a couple of people, then great.
48:07 Rob Hanna:
Well, we’re all about inspiration on the Legally Speaking Podcast, and we fully endorse and say wholeheartedly your podcast is amazing, would encourage people to listen to it, check it out, subscribe, download, give it 5 stars, it deserves all of the praise. Because folks, like I said before, time is the one thing we can’t get back and Sally dedicating time to bring these incredible voices to you, and diverse voices. It’s not just people on the talent, window and understanding their story. But people you know, it’s real diversity, practicing what, you know, Sally is very passionate about by giving everybody a voice. So umm, and talking of voices, and before we wrap up, we must also talk about your speaking, because you are also a TEDx speaker. So can you tell us more about your speaking engagements? And yeah, a little bit more about your, your overall speaking?
48:50 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Well, thank you. Well, so I did a TED, TEDx Talk in Swansea. I’ve never been to Swansea before. It was really nice. The stadium there. And Ted, of course, is the platform for sharing ideas. And anyone could look at TED.com and type in my name to hear my speech. But I had the opportunity a few years ago to do one and I was scared Rob, I really thought, oh my gosh, you know, I’m not good enough. I’m not sure. And so I then declined. And then, then you have to resubmit. And then of course, COVID happened. And I just I love TED Talks. I think there’s always a TED Talk on a subject to inspire anyone. You know, one of my favorite ones is Brené Brown on vulnerability, because we never used to talk about our failures, or our difficulties or our ill children or, you know, they would never used to do that. And certainly I never used to do that. So I’ve learned a lot by watching TED Talks. And so when I had the chance to do one, I thought, okay, yeah, I mean, I absolutely was petrified. And it was quite an experience. And my TED Talk is called ‘Can love conquer hate?’. And, and the idea was sharing, is about proactiveness. What would happen if we’re more proactive than reactive? I don’t want to give it away. But it was a fantastic experience, but quite scary. And I thought, wow, I can’t believe I’ve actually done a TED Talk. And there were really, you know, amazing people there on the day, are the speakers. But it’s a tricky one, because you’ve got an audience, but the audience there, and not really your audience. So I love keynoting. I love training, and I love doing workshops. And it gets me out of court. I teach advocacy to barristers, who are coming, you know, trainees and new practitioners. So it’s a step up from that, really, but yeah, the TED was a, was a different, because the audience are there. But actually, it’s the 22.7 million people who watch TED Talks, who are really your audience. So I was, I did feel out of my comfort zone. But hey, you know, nothing was ever achieved in comfort. But, yeah, I enjoyed it. And I would implore anybody who would like to do one, if they get the opportunity and can submit and be accepted to go for it. I think they’re a great platform.
51:14 Rob Hanna:
I love that. Yeah. And I’m just a big advocate. I say all the time, the show folks, just do it. The comfort zone is great, but nothing ever grows there. It’s so, so true. And what got you here will not get you there. And I love your thirst for continuous learning and driving yourself. MBE sure, what next? And it’s just been a whole inspiring journey and discussion today. And no doubt lots of people are going to be super interested and wanting to hear this. But what piece of advice would you give to any aspiring barristers interested in criminal, employment, you know, the areas of law you’ve touched on? What’s that 1 piece of killer advice, you’d want to leave people with?
51:48 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
I would say, prepare, prepare, prepare for the path ahead. You know, law is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, and you’re not going to get there tomorrow. So whether it’s my areas or any other areas, or indeed in business, prepare for, for what’s coming ahead. But also, if I can have a caveat, be prepared to be agile, and adaptable. Because, you know, when things come to you don’t expect, you got to be able to deal with it and handle it, you know. And so that’s the advice I would give really, prepare and have a look around the areas you want to go in, as well. Look for people that you know, you might want to admire or emulate, see what they did, and can you do it a bit better, or go, kind of mimic what they do. But look at the areas because you know, criminal law, there are all sorts of issues going on. Equally in employment, be prepared, but allow yourself to be adaptable, you know, and I always say this, forgive me. But there are many routes to the destination that you might want to get to, you know, as aspiring lawyers or aspiring business people, whatever stage you’re at, and the motorway is not always the route there. You know, the country route is just as good, might be scenic, might take you longer, but you will get there. So I think if you’re starting out, and I was giving that advice, those are the things I would say, I’m sorry it’s not just one advice. But I do think that sometimes we get so focused, but we need to be allow ourselves to adapt to those external factors that come in that we don’t expect, because we’ve prepared, but we’re not prepared for anything else that might come. And I don’t know if you agree, Robert, particularly even in business, you know, those factors that come and you’re like, where did that come from? Now I need to, you know, the pandemic, who, who was planning for that and preparing for it.
53:49 Rob Hanna:
It’s, it’s so true. And I say this, own your own journey. You can be inspired by others and their journeys, but your journey is your journey and it may not be straight down the motorway within 2 hours, it may be around those country lanes like Sally referenced there, but there’s only 1 of you own your journey have the right people around you and you will definitely, definitely get there. So I 100% agree with in such wise words and it’s just been an episode full of, full of wisdom and if our listeners would like to learn more about your books, podcast, Women in Law UK, or just general you know, anything connected to basically everything you’re up to, what’s the best way for them to contact you, feel free to shout out any of your social media and website links. We’ll also share them with this episode too.
54:32 Dr. Sally Penni MBE:
Oh, right. Oh god, I’m not very good at advertising anything. I’m on LinkedIn. So you can always send me a request with a message on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter at Sally Penni 1. So you can follow what I’m doing, sometimes just pictures of my dog I’m afraid, or a beach, but my books are all on Sally Penni author and also Women in the Law UK dot.com and Women in the Law UK is, has a LinkedIn page of its own volition, you can follow there, there are newsletters, annual dinners and webinars coming up. There’s a GC conference and all sorts coming up once the legal term reopens. So you can just find out all that information on the LinkedIn page for Women in the Law UK or the website which is Women in the Law UK dot com.
55:20 Rob Hanna:
Well, thank you ever so much, Sally. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show. I feel weird saying wishing you lots of continued success with your career given what you’ve already achieved, but from all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast, thanks, absolutely mission million rather, but for now, over and out. Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you liked the content here, why not check out our world leading content and collaboration hub, the Legally Speaking Club over on Discord? Go to our website www dot Legally Speaking Podcast dot com for the link to join our community there. Over and out.