My legal career began in 1987. With the exception of the first 10 months of my traineeship, I spent my entire career in private practice as a litigator. In that time, I dealt with everything from summary trials in the (then) District Court to multi-million pound commercial disputes in the Court of Session.
A career in the judiciary was not something I had considered until, with the encouragement of my firm, I applied to become a part time sheriff. I was fortunate enough to be appointed in 2011. I found the part time work to be both interesting and challenging, with the opportunity to sit in many different courts adding to the variety.
The then impending changes to the courts, coupled with a wish to become involved in more challenging work and have responsibility for the management of cases, along with my experience of part time shrieval work, caused me to apply for a full time post in 2014.
Having been through the Judicial Appointments Board application process on two occasions, I have found it to be demanding but fair.
The completion of the application form requires careful thought and some time. It causes you to think about why you are applying for the post and why you believe you are suited to it.
The interview process is challenging (as it should be), but on both occasions I have found it very fair. I thought that the use of case studies (even in areas you had no experience of in practice) was a fair way of ascertaining your ability to analyse situations and apply the relevant law and your own judgement.
I was appointed as a Floating Sheriff in North Strathclyde in late 2014. Ordinarily, I split my time between Greenock and Dumbarton, although I sit in other courts in the Sheriffdom as required.
I have found the work even more varied than I had anticipated. My first weekend as a full time Sheriff saw the police at my door looking for a warrant at 10 am on a Sunday morning! It is challenging at times and frequently requires one to expect the unexpected.