Packing chicken to flying helicopters — barristers share their unconventional routes into law

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By Aishah Hussain on


Barristers have taken to Twitter to reveal their unique and inspirational routes into the profession.

Launched by the Bar Council, the #IAmTheBar social mobility campaign aims to inspire the next generation of wannabe barristers by highlighting some of the non-traditional journeys to the bar. While sharing the stories of some its own social mobility advocates, the Bar Council also encouraged members of the legal Twitterati to get involved.

The path to success isn’t always smooth, with some barristers facing several obstacles before eventually finding their place at the bar. Something Lamb Building family specialist Mavis Amonoo-Acquah knows all too well:

Also sharing their unique journeys were Ropewalk Chambers’ Jan Alam, Jodie Anderson of Garden Court Chambers and Phillips’ barrister David Hughes.

In a particularly unusual pathway to the profession, Michael Dougherty explained how he went from school expulsion to packing frozen chickens in a factory, before heading to law school and landing a pupillage at Farrar’s Building.

Criminal barrister Helen Easterbrook also shared her extraordinary route, which involved running “away to sea” at just 18.

There were several tweets from those who decided to switch careers and take to the bar later in life:

The initiative has been welcomed across the profession which has battled issues with diversity and inclusion. Angela Patrick, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, said it was great to see the Bar Council talking openly about diversity and commended it for highlight that not all barristers resemble Rumpole.

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