Barrister and founder of Women in the Law UK
Sally Penni shares her passions and interests
What time did you wake up this morning?
What time I get up depends on where I am in court each day.
Today I was out for a 6:30 a.m. gym session.
What’s your favourite object in your office?
In my chambers, it is my lamp and at home, my beautiful
barrister’s table with cushions, which is steeped in history.
Who is your closest colleague?
I have many colleagues as a self-employed barrister and a
wide range of connections from Women in the Law UK. Two of my closest are
Rachel Roberts, Managing Partner at Stowe Family Law, and Sara Haque, Barrister
at Kenworthy’s Chambers.
Do you have a favourite family heirloom?
Not an heirloom, just photographs.
What’s your favourite song of all time?
There are so many. I love classical music and 80s songs. If
pushed I would probably say Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” or George Michael and
Aretha Franklin’s “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”. I also love Vivaldi’s Four
What’s your favourite play?
Either Hamlet or Macbeth by Shakespeare. I
also love A Streetcar Named Desire. As a trustee of the Royal Exchange Theatre
(still the best theatre in Manchester!), I end up seeing many of the plays
there at least three times: once with my theatre group, once with my husband
and, of course, press night.
Who’s your favourite movie star?
I love the old Hollywood stars like Mae West, and also all
of Clint Eastwood’s Westerns. Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington are also
What’s your favourite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, or anything by
What book are you reading right now?
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC’s recent book on whether British
laws are failing women.
What book do you wish you had written?
To Kill a Mockingbird, or anything by Maya Angelou –
a wonderfully wise American woman. I also wish I had written White Teeth
by Zadie Smith.
What’s the greatest invention of all time?
Is there a sport you wish you could play?
Yes, squash. Or, failing that, I would be a Grand Prix
Who inspires you in business?
Richard Branson, head of Virgin. I also admire local entrepreneurs and leaders in business like Marnie Millard OBE of Nichols Plc (Vimto).
I really admire Gina Miller for her work on transparency.
Also JK Rowling. I guess she is an author turned businesswoman. I love her.
Dress up, dress down or somewhere in-between?
Dress up for court and formal occasions. I love dressing up for work. We have become too informal.
Somewhere in-between for giving keynote speeches and
training, and dress down for country walks with the children. I am an
ambassador for the sustainable dress brand Careaux, founded by the wonderful
Beattie sisters who are supported by a number of high-profile women.
Where do you go to relax?
There is nowhere better than Blighty! Well, I suppose there
are warmer climates.… I go to Wales a lot but I also love Salcombe in Devon,
What country have you always wanted to visit?
Chile or South Africa.
Besides your phone, what do you always have with you?
My handbag, obviously, but I also always have my fountain
What’s the best part of your job?
Being a practising Barrister-at-Law for 20 years is helping
to change people’s lives. The best thing about Women in the Law UK is the
many emails from those whom we inspire to progress in their careers as well as
upskill and improve their well-being. Our work is mainly continuing
professional development through education and training.
What’s your favourite post-work tipple?
Gin and tonic. I have just done Dry January so am struggling
to drink Prosecco. Fizzy fizz fizz.
Finally, what’s your guilty pleasure?
Hot yoga. I know…. Failing that, a Twix bar or Bounty!