Susan Hall Obituary
Susan was prodigiously clever, wickedly funny, astonishingly creative and unfailing kind. She touched the lives of so many and definitely left this world a better place than when she found it. By any measure, it was a good life.
She was born in Rochdale but lived most of her early years in Lancaster where her father was a postman. She attended Lancaster Girls Grammar School where one of her contemporaries, Liz Ward (also an IP lawyer), described her as “fun and rebellious”, “she was a specialist in capers which were undercover or chaos that originated from her but was never directly traceable or attributable to her – quite a skill actually”. After leaving school she went to Oxford to read history and spent a year in Canada exploring and studying at Toronto University for her MA before entering private practice.
Susan was a stalwart of the Manchester office of Clarke Willmott having previously trained at the London office of Linklaters & Paines and worked at Baker & McKenzie (as they then were). On heading back North she worked at Taylors, Hammonds and Cobbetts before moving on to Clarke Willmott in 2013, shortly after the Manchester office opened. A highpoint of her legal career was when Susan advised on the leading case on what constitutes copying in copyright infringement cases (Designer Guild Limited v. Russell Williams (Textiles) Limited). This case was before the House of Lords in the days before it became the Supreme Court. Susan really did know the “dark corners” of copyright law.
With her great intellect, Susan was central to so much of the firm’s and the IP/IT team’s success in Manchester, the North West and way beyond. Susan was hugely popular with her colleagues, but also with clients and connections with whom she worked. She was a generous and supportive colleague who actively sought out opportunities to train the next generation of lawyers who invariably gained a colourful and inspiring introduction to their legal careers. Susan was certainly not dull. She was a regular speaker and commentator on aspects of technology and innovation, subjects she relished. She was a prolific writer, in addition to blogging on legal issues she also wrote fanfiction and detective stories exploring aspects of Manchester’s radical and innovative past. Despite featuring in print for such titles as the Times and Telegraph she considered her finest hour was having a Hallowe’en special entitled “Harry Potter and the Rule of Law” published in the Law Society Gazette.
Susan was a proud Lancastrian, sports car owner, a keen swimmer, avid reader and a sailor. She had successfully circumnavigated Great Britain in a 29ft yacht and held a Yacht Master Certificate despite having come to sailing quite late. At least once a year she was to be found sailing around the Greek Islands or Turkish coast with her friends. This was just one example of her adventurous spirit that also included voyages to Ireland, France and Holland. Susan would often regale those of us fortunate enough to be in her presence at social events, with tales of her exploits. She was a great raconteur. A personal favourite was the story of the barrister (now a QC whom we will not name!) who was seasick on an unfortunate puffin during one of her sailing trips. He was thereafter known in our office as the “puffin vomiter” or “PV” for short.
Susan loved dogs and whilst rules prohibited her from having pets in her flat, she regularly walked dogs with her dog walking friend Jean. Indeed Susan and her partner Russ had planned on their retirement to move to the countryside and be home to several Bassets, Spaniels & Dachshunds.
Some quotes from the Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and In Brief
“Susan Hall is simply the best. A first-rate lawyer who has a command of every aspect of the technology in the claim.”
— Legal 500
“Susan Hall… prodigiously clever and very likeable”
— Chambers & Partner
The main image used for this article is from: Susan Hall writing in the reflected glow of her laptop. Photo by Russ Baldwin & was used under the terms detailed at the above link on the date this article was first published.
“…one of the country’s top IT lawyers.”
— In Brief