Alex Cisneros

Degree: LLB Law

Year: 2012

Current place of work: Barrister, No5 Chambers, London

Tell us about what you are doing now

I am a Pupil Barrister at No5 Chambers in London. I specialise in Public Law and Human Rights. My working week is extremely varied. Public law looks at the interaction between citizens and the state and is therefore by definition, extremely diverse. My aim is to continue to develop a practice in this area and to carve out an area of expertise in due course. As a Barrister, I use the knowledge from my Law LLB every day.  As a public law barrister specifically, I am often asked quite abstract questions about the law. The academic grounding that three years of studying law gave me is useful for this. The added exposure to the law through mooting and extra curricular opportunities has also stood me in good stead in practice.

How did your career path develop whilst at University?

While I was at university, I threw myself into Mooting. I was the Master of the Moots in my second year and spent a lot of time pretending to be in the Court of Appeal. It was great fun! I have found that my experience of mooting has been invaluable both in applying for the Bar but also in actual tribunals. I attended the law fair while at university. It was a little disheartening to be surrounded by so many solicitors when all I wanted to do was to try on a wig and gown. It was however a good opportunity to chat through the realities (and expense) of training to be a barrister.

If I can give any advice at all, it would be to use these opportunities as a way of learning about different areas of practice and to find out about opportunities for mini-pupillages. It is not merely a chance to restock your pencil case.

What advice would you give to current students who may want to follow in your footsteps?

Before launching into a career at the Bar, I would consider very carefully what your motivations are for wanting this career. There are far easier pursuits if your ambition is to affect change or to earn lots of money.

After I graduated I moved to New Delhi to work for a human rights charity. When I returned to London, I undertook the BPTC part-time with the assistance of a scholarship from Middle Temple. While on the BPTC I worked as a researcher for Baroness Scotland QC in the House of Lords.

The Bar is a hard profession to get into and an equally hard career to maintain, but if you speak to most barristers, they will tell you that they love what they do. Although I am still extremely junior at the Bar, I have loved every moment so far (even the regular long hours). The flexibility, autonomy and intellectual challenges that the Bar offers are unparalleled.

A final piece of advice is that you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people. You may have to take a different route to others to get to the same place but that is ok. You will likely be a more resilient person for overcoming something that others haven’t had to.