Can Amal Clooney really be more influencial in British law than – say – the Supreme Court?

Clearly, no.  But that’s not what Debrett’s, the people who are given such influence themselves in Britain over who is who and who is not.

Their list of 20 lawyers who are Britain’s most influential include Ms Clooney to often hotly contested denials from those in the profession who point to conspictuous lack of courtroom success and movie star affiliation that assures her of near-constant media exposure.

 The barrister-star’s eclipsing of the Supreme Court, whose ruling on the Brexit vote shows exactly what immense influence they have, is something derisory say the critics.
Clooney is a tenant at Doughty Street Chambers, and has acted as an adviser on the Syrian conflict, represented the ousted president of the Maldives pro bono and has defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange among other notable, high profile civil rights and left wing causes.
The Debrett’s entry read:
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has been an adviser to Kofi Annan over the Syria conflict, was part of a three-person UK commission scrutinising the rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip, worked on the Enron case and represented Julian Assange in his fight against extradition. She was also involved in the Greek government’s attempt to repatriate the Elgin Marbles and is currently working on behalf of Nadia Murad, the Yazidi survivor of sex trafficking by ISIS and UN goodwill ambassador, to prosecute the terrorist organisation, saying that ‘you can’t kill an idea’ through bombing.

The youngest lawyer on the DeBretts list is 34 year old Julia Salasky, a former Linklaters associate.

As law blog LegalCheek note, she qualified in 2012 and launched crowdfunding website CrowdJustice in 2015.

The website has spearheaded a number of important cases such as the Brexit legal challenge and the junior doctors vs Jeremy Hunt judicial review. You can listen to Legal Cheek’s interview with Salasky here.

Those jurists who made the list include  Lady Hale, Lord Neuberger and Lord Sumption, who notably were named the ‘most celebrity’ judges on the bench in a university study.

One of the top influencers is Funke Abimbola, Roche General Counsel, of which Debrett’s wrote:

Funke Abimbola leads the UK and Ireland legal team of the world’s largest biotech company, Roche, and is the most senior black lawyer working in the UK pharmaceutical industry. She is a widely-cited spokesperson on diversity, commentating on issues for the BBC and Women in Media amongst other organisations. Her legal expertise has been recognised with numerous awards and in 2016 she was named one of Theresa May’s ‘Points of Light’, a daily award given to outstanding individual volunteers, for her work inspiring young people to achieve their potential regardless of barriers.

The Top Law List

Funke Abimbola, General Counsel and Head of Financial Compliance, Roche, 43

Amal Clooney, Human Rights Lawyer, 38

Tim Eicke, QC, Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, 50

The Rt Hon Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls, 65

The Rt Hon Baroness Hale of Richmond, DBE, PC, Deputy President, Supreme Court, 71

The Rt Hon Lady Justice Hallett, DBE, Judge of the Court of Appeal, 67

Helena Kennedy, QC, Human Rights Lawyer, 66

The Rt Hon Sir Brian Leveson, President, Queen’s Bench Division, 67

Alexandra Marks, Criminal Cases Review Commissioner

Sir James Munby, President, Family Division, 68

David Natzler, Clerk of the House of Commons, 64

The Rt Hon The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, President of the Supreme Court, 69

The Lord Pannick, QC, Human Rights Lawyer, 60

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, Human Rights Lawyer, 70

Julia Salasky, Founder, CrowdJustice, 34

Koser Shaheen, Knowledge Management Attorney, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP

The Lord Sumption, PC, Judge of the Supreme Court, 68

The Rt Hon The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, 69

The Hon Mr Justice Warby, QC, High Court Judge, 58

Jeremy Wright, QC, MP, Attorney General, 44


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