Getting to know you – Sue Brown

Getting to know you - Sue BrownGetting to know you - Sue BrownAs a well respected PI lawyer, mediator and previous MASS Chair, now returning for a second term, Sue Brown kindly provides a little more insight into her likes and dislikes.


The firm I worked for until 2003 was a MASS member and I attended meetings and conferences. When I came back to claimant work after a few years working for an insurer, it made sense to apply for membership on behalf of that firm. In terms of my involvement with the MASS Management Committee, that was something that just happened. Right place at the right time I suppose.

Why the law?

It just suited me. I had realised after starting a degree in something else that law might have been a better choice, and when I got to it, initially in a secretarial job in a law firm, it suited me from the start. Interesting, challenging, varied, and largely, hopefully, involves making things better for clients.

Best win in Court/most important win to date

Not sure I could single out a successful PI claim – I’m sure all PI lawyers have lots, and they can be important for different reasons. I had a big success with a fibromyalgia claim on behalf of a woman whose life had been severely impacted by a minor RTA – anyone who has handled a fibromyalgia claim will know how tricky they can be, but in this case I had the right client and the right expert. It was made all the more satisfying because the defendants had behaved particularly badly throughout, including sending someone to gain access to my client’s home by pretending to be doing a consumer survey or something, who covertly videoed her in her own kitchen.

Thoughts on the implications of the Civil Liability Act

Not good. Don’t get me started.

What 3 items would you take to a desert island?

I couldn’t possibly choose, and am never really sure that the rules on Desert Island Discs are applied fairly. If Insight Magazine wants to apply the rules very loosely, I suppose my iPad loaded with all the books and music I could think of and an everlasting charger, a bottomless supply of NZ sauvignon blanc, and maybe some cheese.

What’s your claim to fame?

Absolutely haven’t got one. I did notice once in the results of a survey of female lawyers I completed for the Law Society, that I must have been the only one of the women who completed the survey who had six children.

What’s the best and worst piece of advice you have ever received?

When I was quite young an older woman advised me that I should drink neat tonic water and pretend that it had gin in it. I’m sure it was good advice but obviously I never followed it. The worst was probably my school headmistress, who said she didn’t see the point in applying to Oxford because there were lots of other perfectly good universities.

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years?

Did Prince Charles ever become king? No, not really. Just don’t think my imagination can stretch to what I would do in that scenario.


Never needed any. Touch wood.

Best ever holiday or place you have visited?

Not very good at “best” or “favourite”. Too many options. Best place, maybe Venice but probably a different answer if you asked me tomorrow. Or maybe Berlin. Or the Mull of Kintyre.

First car?

Ford Cortina. Obviously I am very old to even have heard of a Ford Cortina, let alone owned one. Had an automatic choke (don’t suppose most people even know what that is these days), which didn’t work in the cold, so on cold mornings I couldn’t go to lectures. Very sad.

Favourite song/artist?

Leonard Cohen, but don’t ask me to pick a song.

Favourite book?

Persuasion, if the question is actually an answerable one such as “favourite Jane Austen novel”. Otherwise I can’t possibly answer. Someone recommended a book to me recently saying it is in her top five, but her top five is quite crowded. So is mine.

Best TV boxset or movie?

Same problem really. I did love The Blacklist, mainly because of James Spader, but also lots of others. And don’t think you should lump TV boxsets in with movies.

Favourite drink?

I think I’ve already answered this one.

Favourite food?

Ready salted crisps. I know, not really a food.

What is the first thing you like to do with your free time?


What annoys you?

Oh all kinds of things, I’m pretty easily annoyed. But maybe people who get excessively annoyed over things that don’t matter.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Same advice I would give my older self. Try to be a bit more confident. And next time you are invited to answer one of these Q&As, politely decline on the grounds that you are rubbish at it.

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