Episode 88 – From life at the criminal Bar in the UK to the sunshine of tropical Queensland with Barrister Suzanne Smales
In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the great pleasure of learning a little about Barrister Suzanne Smales. Suzanne has spent much of her impressive legal career in Leeds, England but now is based in sunny Townsville! So how do you go from the Bar in the UK to the Bar in Townsville? Well for Suzanne it all began with a mid-life move to Australia.
After 20 years at the criminal Bar in the UK, Suzanne found herself at a career crossroads. Her role in criminal proceedings was starting to take a toll on her mental health and she knew she needed a change to ensure she didn’t completely burn out. In this interview, Suzanne shares openly the challenges she faced but also how she has overcome them (and she does thank the move to Australia for keeping her in the law business!)
Suzanne has an obvious passion for helping people that brought her to law in the first place. This still drives her today- spending much of her ‘down time’ understaking probono mediation work or advocacy appearances, giving back to her local legal community.
She has not had an easy career path. Growing up with an unwell mother, hardships in her career and difficulties with the system have had a large shape on the woman she has become. She was a true advocate for doing what you love, doing what you makes you happy and enjoying each day you are given.
Suzanne and I also spoke about:
- If Suzanne was not a lawyer she would have become a vet!
- After not getting high enough grades for veterinary services she moved into law and became a Barrister.
- Growing up in Yorkshire in the north of the UK mainly with her mother
- Going straight from the Essex University into Bar school- the process at the time in the UK.
- In the summer between her studies Suzanne worked in a home for the Loveridge family and shared with me what I decided must have felt a little but like living on the sets of Downton Abbey!
- Her experience as a Barrister in the UK, particularly working in criminal law.
- The difficulties Suzanne faced in dealing with sexual assault cases.
- Suzanne’s move to Australia and the need for her to ‘start again’ as a lawyer.
- Now living in Townsville, Suzanne is using her extensive experiance to help those around her.
- We discussed the court system, its funding and what Suzanne would like to see done differently.
- Before leaving the UK, Suzanne had started the process to become a Judge. She shared how her application had shaped her career
- We discussed my favorite topic of health, both physical and mental and Suzanne’s view that making fitness a priority in your life has so many benefits.
- Suzanne’s tips for those heading into criminal law.
- Her passion for doing what you love and pursuing this no matter what others say or think of you.
- Suzanne’s Happiness Tip.
Sit back and enjoy this chat with Suzanne as she shares her fascinating career as a Barrister in England and now living in sunny Townsville!
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Listen to last week’s episode here