We were delighted to welcome Catherine Callaghan QC as our speaker to our November lunch. Catherine is the first New Zealand woman to take silk in the UK (2018) which makes her one of only 275 female QCs out of a total of 17,000.
Catherine spoke most engagingly about her upbringing in Palmerston North, escape to Victoria University and subsequent career. Topping her Masters Law class at Cambridge some years later, she converted to becoming a Barrister specialising in Civil Law and has practised for nearly 20 years.
A member of Blackstone chambers – usually a life-long membership we are told – she is now married to a fellow Barrister from the same chambers. Catherine gave a very clear description of the workings of the legal system in the UK and the differences between the UK and NZ.
She also talked about her breast cancer diagnosis at age 42, the need to take time out for treatment and recovery, also the need for reappraisal of her life.
She illustrated her work by telling us about three fascinating examples from her recent caseload. We were all highly impressed by Catherine’s talk and there were many questions and comments at the end.