Coming from a refugee background, as a mixed-race female with dyslexia who attended a state school some 20 years ago, I already felt I was on the back-foot in chasing a career at the English Bar. In attempting to overcome these barriers, I had to work twice as hard as those who had come through the more “traditional” route, sometimes even just to justify my presence. Instead of joining the sporting teams and social nights out, I dedicated my spare time to volunteering for worthy organisations and undertaking work experience. During my undergraduate degree, I hounded legal professionals for work experience and was rewarded with some fantastic opportunities. Never taking no for an answer, I have been mentored by barristers who were at the top of their game, some of whom have been rewarded themselves with career progression to the judiciary.
After applying for pupillage 6 years in a row and being unsuccessful, I am hoping this year, armed with my LLM from Exeter, I will finally get an offer.
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone at the start of their career in law, then it would be never to say no to any opportunity given to you. Even if you have doubt in your ability, you can always learn along the way and there will always be someone there to teach you, so long as you are not afraid to ask for help and prove to be a willing volunteer to accept any challenge given to you.