I’m a barrister, but I currently work for a firm of solicitors in the East Midlands. Most of my work is in criminal law although I do other things as well, and I’ve been around in law in one form or another since 1997.
I understand how the system works and on a daily basis I do my best to achieve justice, in whatever form that takes, for my clients.
I don’t claim any special right to speak on behalf of my profession or my employer. These views are my own.
I worked hard to get where I am. After graduating from university with a degree in history I worked for a number of solicitors’ firms as a clerk. I taught myself law in my spare time, first gaining the police station accreditation and then studying part-time for four years towards the Postgraduate Diploma in Law and the Bar Vocational Course. I was Called to the Bar in 2005, and undertook pupillage at a London set of chambers. I was then in Chambers in the Midlands for over two years, before the reality of practice at the independent Bar (unpredictable work, relentless pressure, aged debts and a massive overdraft) led to me leaving for employed practice in the interests of my young family. I spent a year working for the Government Legal Service and then in 2010 joined my present employer as an in-house advocate. I found I missed being in court and so, for me, this is a compromise position.
I tell you all this because some will doubt whether lawyers are worth the money they are allegedly paid, and some would think it’s an easy job. It’s not easy to qualify and the job itself is hard. I routinely work a 60 hour week, spend much of the rest of the time thinking about my cases, and I don’t get paid overtime.
I believe strongly in the independent bar and the value of independent legal professionals, solictors and barristers, working together for justice.
I also strongly oppose the Ministry of Justice’s present proposals. Sign the petition.