Alison Berryman Head of Technology

Meet the Flockers: Alison Berryman

16 July 2021

Our Meet The Flockers series gives us a chance to show the humans behind Stephenson Law. We stop, take a moment, and spend some time on the sillier side of life.

From life mottos, to favourite films, this series sheds a light on what makes our flock tick.

Introducing Alison Berryman, Associate Director, Head of Technology and Head of Data Protection. Take it away Alison…

What originally got you interested in law?

Honestly… I fell into law due to poor careers guidance more than anything else.

The first time law was ever suggested to me as a career was after I’d completed some multiple choice tests when I was 14 or 15, and I dismissed it without a second thought because my favourite subjects were Maths and Sciences. I took Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A Level and thought I’d be a scientist… then spent 2 years being totally uninspired by science (still loved Maths) and left school with absolutely no clue what I wanted to do! 

It being the early 90s, and me being a girl who was into maths my options (according to careers guidance) were to be a maths teacher (NOPE!) or an accountant (like my dad) so I ended up getting a job instead of going straight to uni and doing an A level in Law in the evenings, just to see whether something completely different would be more to my liking.

That set me on the path to being a lawyer, although I didn’t end up qualifying for a decade after that! (but that’s another story…)

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Click all the buttons and if none of them work turn it off and back on again, haha!

More seriously, the best piece of advice that I’ve ever been given is that you don’t always have to be “right”. Some things really don’t matter that much – people can have different opinions and happily coexist.  I think this is good advice in pretty much any setting – work, home, down the pub, social media. By nature I can be quite argumentative, but this advice serves me well when I can make myself follow it. 

I feel as if I’m going to have to remind myself of this one more and more frequently as my children enter the “pre-teen” phase…

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done, and why did you do it?

I’m naturally fairly cautious, so I haven’t done a lot of scary stuff!

I say I’m scared of heights, but that isn’t really true – I’m fine with being at the top of a tall building, or up a mountain and I’m even ok with being on a ski lift dangling between mountain peaks – but I’m terrified falling off things, and of my children falling off things, and other people’s children falling off things (adventure playgrounds are torture for me!) 

So probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done was in New Zealand…  We went “black water rafting”, which is a really lovely experience where you float through some underground, watery caves on a giant rubber ring and look up at the glow worms on the roof of the cave – magical.  But to get to the good bit we had to feel our way through a dark underground tunnel (on foot/crawling, dragging the rubber ring along). After a while we came to a ledge which, when you looked over the precipice in the dark with just a tiny head torch on, you couldn’t see anything below… the guide make us stand with our backs to the precipice holding our rubber rings behind our bums and one by one we had to jump backwards into the dark landing in water a few metres below in the rubber ring.  It probably wasn’t that far to fall, but jumping into the complete unknown was pretty scary!

Why did I do it?

Because the alternative was spending the rest of my life in a dark cave (or, more likely, having to be helped – and if there’s anything I’m more scared of than falling off things, it’s looking like I need help!)

What are your hobbies?

Singing! 

I sing all the time – around the house, in the garden, walking the kids to school… 

The kids hate that… haha! But I’m actually not bad, I’ve sung in many choirs and amateur dramatics clubs (currently not allowed to sing with my local choir due to Covid, but hoping that will change soon!) and I love a bit of karaoke.

I work out twice a week. Not sure that counts as a hobby because I hate it (shout out to my PT Francesca Saccone!), but I do it anyway because I spend most of the rest of the week sitting on my backside in this chair.

I love a bit of crafting (if you get a chance, ask Jessica Vautier to show you the cross-stitch I made her at Christmas!), but I don’t have much time for that at all right now…  between work, family, various other volunteer commitments, and as much socialising as is legally permitted, I’m kept pretty busy.

What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?

Chocolate, and all variations on the theme of chocolate.

Meet the flockers