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For this week's Lamb Limelight, we are spotlighting Dr Tim Sampson.

Tell us a little about yourself and your practice.

“Prior to pupillage I worked for a year as a legal consultant in a small in-house legal team that was part of a large London based QS / Project Management firm. This was not just my first experience hands-on experience of construction law, it was my first experience of dealing with real disputes. Having completed pupillage in a leading IP set, my practice now consists of a mixture of IP, construction and general commercial cases. So, from one day to the next I can find myself in IPEC (on a trademark / patent / copyright case) and the next day drafting pleadings on a construction dispute in the TCC or dealing with an adjudication.”

What is your first memory of wanting to be a barrister?

“I dipped my toe into law by undertaking a few mini-pupillages at mainly IP sets when I was finishing off my PhD, and thought that the world of the barrister was definitely something I could see myself doing. I was though more than a little naïve about what it would take to first qualify, secure tenancy and then get work through the door.”

Is there a certain case that stands out to you in your career? If yes, why?

“There are probably two cases. The first was the Supreme Court case of Ahmed v. Lifestyle. It stands out not simply for the result, which rewrites the law on contributory liability but also the teamwork and resolve that was needed over 5 years of effort to take the case through from the High Court action (lost), to the Court of Appeal (lost on some issues) to the Supreme Court (won on all issues). The other case that will live long in my memory involved a 4 day trial in Bedford Magistrates Court (where I was led by Stephen Hockman KC) that involved the prosecution of our client by the Environment Agency, for breaching his licence to introduce four giant carp (basically very large and very expensive goldfish) into an angling lake. The case turned on the distinction to be drawn between ‘colour variant fish’ (not permitted) and ‘albino fish’ (permitted). My role was basically to deal with that problem at a scientific level, to rebut the EA’s expert evidence. The court eventually found that all albino fish much be colour variants – so the licence was invalid and not capable of being breached. However, by the time we got judgment the EA has lost the fish!”

What’s your favourite thing about being a barrister?

“It has to be the fact that every case is different. It’s also intensely competitive however civilised the fight may be. I think all barristers suffer a little from what T.E. Lawrence described as the “overmastering greed for victory” – it’s what makes us want do the job.”

What do you do to relax?

“Gardening is good way – it gets you outside at all times of the year and on a summer’s day there can be few better places to be than outside with your feet up with a glass of wine enjoying your handiwork. Classical music is also a passion, although my own piano playing can’t always reach the levels I aspire to. And then there is cooking – although I doubt I will ever have time to prepare a fraction of the recipes in my ever growing collection of cookery books (I am prepared to give it a try).”

If you weren’t a barrister, what would you be?

“If I had followed the expected career course after a degree in molecular biology and biochemistry and a PhD in biochemistry I would probably have ended up as an academic or research scientist.  I could also imagine myself having been a historian. So, the answer is that I’m not really sure.”

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