At the end of my second week, it is a pleasure to be able to write an introduction for the Middle Templar. I was wondering how I would introduce myself to the broader Inn beyond the considerable number who come into Hall for lunch, dinner or other events, and now, in asking me to write, the Membership Team have given me the opportunity to say a little about your new Under Treasurer; thank you!
Before I do so, I must place on record my gratitude and admiration for Guy Perricone. Over the last few months he has, with great skill, introduced me to the ways of the Inn and the remarkable team who make the institution work. I could not be more grateful for his patience and diligence in introducing me to the Inn and for all he did in the years before I arrived.
I come to the Inn from a career of more than 30 years as a soldier. I joined the Army partly because it was something my father had done (he was also a career soldier for more than 30 years) and partly because of the variety it seemed to offer. Although we didn’t know it at the time, my peer group were joining just at the moment UK foreign and defence policy was to present unparalleled opportunities and challenges for the Army. Over 30 years, I have served in Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and three times in Iraq. Away from operations, I have completed posts in the Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence concerned with either operations or personnel policy. My last job was working in the Headquarters of the Army in London when we dealt with one pandemic, one Platinum Jubilee, two funerals and one Coronation!
Although I was not sure of the timing, I knew that I hoped for three things from my professional life after the Army. I wanted the chance to be involved in the leadership of a respected institution, one with a rich history and heritage, and to have something to do with the Bar, having toyed with the idea of becoming a lawyer after school. I couldn’t, therefore, believe my luck when a friend of mine rang to say that the Inn was looking for a new Under Treasurer. In the last fortnight, I have enjoyed meeting so many people who are involved in the life of the Inn.
A lot of people have asked me if the process of transition from the Army to the Inn has been difficult. I think they expect me to say that I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms, a grieving process, and a state of depression. Nothing can be further from the truth. Although the subject matter may be different, so much that is wonderful about Army life is the same in Middle Temple. There are fantastic people who form a strong team committed to doing their best for the organisation. The underlying purpose and objectives to which we all work are worthwhile; we all get a deep sense of pride for what we do to contribute to the life of the Bar and what that means more broadly. And, to cap it all, it’s great fun and there is a lightness of atmosphere that pervades all we do.
It will, I hope, be obvious that I am delighted to be here at Middle Temple as your new Under Treasurer and I look forward to getting to know you all better in the year ahead. Happy reading of the Middle Templar 2023!