After completing my A-Levels at Stowupland High School, I went on to study a LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology degree at the University of Brighton. My degree was what is known as a qualifying law degree, meaning I could go on to study the Legal Practice Course (to qualify as a solicitor) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) directly from my undergraduate degree. This route is opposed to doing a non-qualifying law degree (for example, History) and then having to do an additional one year conversion course to law, known as the Graduate Diploma in Law.
In the second year of my degree, my step-father past away in traumatic circumstances and I took two months out of University. I self-taught several modules and passed all of my exams – I graduated with a high 2:1 the following summer.
During my time at Brighton – I was a volunteer with the Brighton and Hove Magistrates’ Court Witness Service and Student Director of the Innocence Project, which worked on overturning miscarriages of justice by advocating for prisoners who believed their convictions had been unlawful or unsafe.
Deciding from an early stage I wanted to be a barrister, in my final year of my degree I applied for an Inn of Court Scholarship with the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. The BPTC is an extremely expensive course and the Inns award financial scholarships based on a written application and panel interview – these are competitive to say the least. While studying for my finals in 2017, I received an email notifying me I had been awarded the Mona de Piro to fund my studies and would therefore be able to start my formal training as a barrister in October of that year.
I began the BPTC and decided to do a Master of Laws alongside my studies – completing both of these courses in July 2018. During my studies, I volunteered as an advocate with the University of Law Legal Advice Centre and with the Communities Empowerment Network:
(a) ULaw LAC – representing detainees facing immigration proceedings at the First Tier immigration tribunal.
(b) CEN – I advised and represented parents and their children who are excluded from school at governor disciplinary committees and independent review panels.
When I finished the BPTC, I went on to work BCL Solicitors LLP (a top-tier boutique solicitors firm in Holborn). I specialised in defending high net worth clients and corporations facing allegations of domestic and international corporate crime, financial crime and regulatory enforcement. I then moved on and currently work as a Regulatory and Professional Discipline Legal Assistant at Kingsley Napley LLP – a Farringdon-based solicitors firm where I investigate and prepare fitness to practice prosecutions on behalf of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
I was called to the Bar of England and Wales in March 2019 (The Bar of England and Wales is a unique legal profession of specialist advocates and advisers. There are now approximately 16,000 practising barristers, employed and self-employed, in England and Wales) and I am currently interviewing for criminal pupillage in London to commencing October 2020 (they recruit two years in advance and are difficult to get, (there are 400 applicants to for 2 positions so this may take some time!).