Profiles of newly appointed Queen’s Counsel

Law News asked our 14 newly appointed Queen’s Counsel to answer some brief questions about themselves – some personal, some professional – so our readers can get a glimpse into what makes these silks tick. This week we put the spotlight on Antonia Fisher QC and Marie Dyhrberg QC, both of Auckland.

Antonia Fisher QC

Antonia Fisher QC

Antonia Fisher QC graduated LLB in 1982 and worked at two law firms before joining Brandon Brookfield as an Associate. She was made a partner in 1990, specialising in family law and medical law. She joined Barristers at Chancery in 2003 before moving to O’Connell Street Barristers in 2011, where she specialises in relationship property and medico-legal cases. She is also the co-convenor of ADLS’s Family Law Committee.

What prompted you to go into law?
During school holidays I worked for my father who was a lawyer. I loved the idea of having my own office with a secretary to do things for me. Still do.

What gets you excited about your job?
It has always been about searching for a solution. There should be a remedy for every wrong.

Of what achievement are you most proud (personal and/or professional)?
Three highlights for me. The first has to be succeeding in the Privy Council in the case against Dr Bottrill. The second has been my involvement in the development of the law enabling victims of child sexual abuse to sue their abuser. The third is the fun I have had working with so many outstanding young lawyers.

What is the greatest challenge presented by your role?
Being cost-effective.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned (thus far, in your career/life)?
There are two sides to every story.

What is your favourite legal or politicalthemed movie/book/TV series of all time?
“Rake”!

Marie Dyhrberg QC

Marie Dyhrberg QC

Marie Dyhrberg QC graduated LLB in 1981 from University of Auckland. She worked as a staff solicitor in various firms before joining the independent bar in 1990, specialising in criminal jury trial and appellate work. In 2005 she was appointed a Senior Magistrate in the Magistrate’s Court of Pitcairn, Henderson, Dulcie and Oneo Islands. She is a member of the Criminal Bar Association of NZ (a founding member from 1984) and the convener of ADLS’s Criminal Law Committee since 2012, and specialises as a senior defence counsel in complex criminal trials.

What prompted you to go into law?
I was always fascinated by stories and movies about the defence lawyers in a criminal case saving the marginalised and solitary defendant from conviction. I was also driven by causes such as civil rights, feminism. I never thought however that I could become such a lawyer but slowly became educated after my OE and that led me into law.

What gets you excited about your job?
Getting to know and understand clients so they are humanised and then finally appearing before juries, especially if there is a lot of cross examination to conduct.

Of what achievement are you most proud (personal and/or professional)?
Becoming the first female Chair of the Criminal Law Committee of the International Bar Association, which focused on International Human Rights.

What is the greatest challenge presented by your role?
To overcome the natural prejudice that someone charged with a crime is guilty and that persons convicted of a crime do not deserve a chance, and rehabilitative sentences instead of jail.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned (thus far, in your career/life)?
Never ever be quick to judge anyone of anything ill and if you do want to think adversely of a person then make sure you have thoroughly scrutinised every possible option before you make that final decision. Nothing can be worse than to be falsely accused and judged.

What is your favourite legal or politicalthemed movie/book/TV series of all time?
“12 Angry Men” – this was a film that had a huge impact on me at a very young age and I wanted to be just like Henry Fonda – saving someone from injustice although not quite understanding my reasoning at that age.  

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