Lawyers lead country as Raab steps in for hospitalised PM and Starmer wins Labour crown

By on

Ex-Links associate and Doughty Street barrister in spotlight

Dominic Raab and Sir Keir Starmer QC

A former magic circle lawyer and a barrister at famed human rights set Doughty Street Chambers have found themselves playing key roles in helping guide the country through the coronavirus crisis.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, a former associate at Linklaters, is reportedly set to replace Boris Johnson at today’s COVID-19 meeting after the Prime Minister was admitted to hospital on Sunday with persistent coronavirus symptoms.

Downing Street stressed Johnson’s hospitalisation was a “precautionary step”, not an emergency admission, and that he remained in charge of the government. The 55-year-old tested positive for the virus ten days ago.

Johnson’s rumoured deputy Raab studied law at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, before going on to complete a masters at Jesus College, Cambridge. During his time at Links, Raab specialised in project finance, international litigation and competition law.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Meanwhile, Doughty Street’s Sir Keir Starmer QC has been elected to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

The former Director of Public Prosecutions secured victory over the weekend with 56% of the first-preference votes, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey (a former solicitor at Hill Dickinson) and Lisa Nandy to the top spot.

Starmer secured a first-class law degree from the University of Leeds and obtained a Bachelor of Civil Laws (BCL) from Oxford University the following year. The new Labour leader was appointed QC in 2002, the same year he became joint head of Doughty Street.

“We congratulate our colleague Keir Starmer on his accession to leadership of the Labour Party…”, Doughty Street said in a statement over the weekend. “He was involved in some of our most important cases, defending the legal aid system, overturning death sentences in commonwealth countries and upholding freedom of speech and human rights.”

The statement continued: “The many members of chambers who have had the privilege of working with Keir in these cases can attest to his boundless energy, personal integrity and true compassion for the underprivileged. We all believe that his leadership of the opposition will prove a great asset to the country in these perilous times, and beyond.”

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter



I trained with Dom. Not much of a lawyer but wonderful at 5 a side. Pleased to see him doing so well moving forward.

Raab fan

Me too. He had a hell of a right foot, and when he wasn’t blasting it into the top corner he would do these wonderful Cruyff turns – and not just on the pitch. I remember him scoring 4 in a 14-3 rout of Slaughter and May’s excellent 2003 team and everyone just looking on amazed.


Raab is a nasty piece of work. Hopefully there is a full enquiry into the shambles of a response the Tories are leading and that the party gets what they deserve. Keir will be a great leader and prime minister in 5 years’ time.


Why these constant fantasies about public inquiries into the election, Russian interference, referendum, Brexit, coronavirus…?



Criminals must face justice.


The Russians and Alt Right found it easy to galvanise the stupid of the provinces into supporting Brexit. But it was hardly rocket science, it was more being willing to stoke their innate racism and channel it.

Geoffrey Calver

Are you in cloud cuckoo land.?
Even if he was anygood with Lettie Muppets in his party Boris will rule forever!


Jesus how is this news?

Keir Fan Girl

We will be entering a labour reign for the foreseeable future under Starmer from the next election. Very exciting times.


They aren’t leading the country, the government has made clear BJ is still leading the government and Sir Keir (man of the people) Starmer is in opposition (so not leading the country then).

Mark Mohammed

In what way is Sir Kier, leader of the recently trounced opposition, leading the country?!

Big lawyer energy

Ohhh great, we are well and truly f^cked then.


The most telling thing about comparing the two is there post-grad choice. Generally it is slackers not good enough for the BCL go to do the LLM at Cambridge if they went to Oxford. Starmer clearly shone and went for the ultimate CV upgrade option of the BCL.


Also that Keir Starmer is a very successful barrister and QC, Raab could barely make it through a 2 year training contract at Links…

Another Onlooker

This is not true. Oxford place a limit on the number of internal students doing the BCL, so it is often easier for a high calibre student to get in from another university.


I think there can be no doubt that Starmer is the more intelligent of the pair.

Geoffrey Calver

That’s why he did his law degree at Leeds not Oxbridge!
Second division choosing employee issues as a specialism easy option.

Join the conversation

Related Stories