Amongst the group of LLB and LLM students who graduated this weekend was the recipient of the highest LLB mark across all our centres in the UK, David Reader who is now pursuing his ambition be a barrister studying at ULaw’s Bloomsbury campus. We asked him about his aspirations and inspirations.
For as long as I can remember the law has fascinated me: how it operates, its interplay with politics and the rights of the individual in society.
While working professionally, I was fortunate to be able to do a lot of work in the areas of equality and diversity, and in particular the rights of LGBT people. I’m a mature student. I have always enjoyed public speaking and advocacy, and I saw an opportunity to translate my interests and my enjoyment of ‘being on my feet’ into a career move.
When my father died five years ago it was a ‘wake up’ call to me and made me re-evaluate what I was doing with my life and work.
My decision to study the BPTC at ULaw was a natural progression for me. I knew before I started the LLB that I wanted to go to the Bar rather than pursue any alternative avenues within the legal profession.
The decision to stay with ULaw was natural too; the high quality of teaching, fantastic careers and employability service and the strong focus on advocacy training made it an obvious choice.
As a mature student I have worked in analytical roles for local authorities and latterly the Homes & Communities Agency. I’ve been fortunate enough to develop a really good relationship with Kaim Todner solicitors in London and in particular their extradition team (an area I am particularly interested in). I did some work experience with them before I started the degree and last summer worked for them as a paralegal.
I’ve also done three ‘mini-pupillages’, two with criminal silks and one with a senior junior in a personal injury practice. The ‘Dechert Scholarship’ I was awarded for the LLB came with a work experience placement at Dechert LLP in London, which was an interesting insight into the world of commercial litigation.
I want to practice as a criminal barrister and have a particular interest in human rights, especially the areas of extradition, asylum and immigration and the impact of the law in those areas on minority groups. I hope to have a very busy practice at the criminal bar.
I am currently a student committee member for InterLaw, the national diversity forum for LGBT Networks in the legal profession. At a recent talk S Chelvan of No5 Chambers (Legal Aid Barrister of the Year, 2014) spoke with incredible passion, insight and sensitivity on the topic of LGBT asylum seekers and the law. I had the privilege of meeting and speaking with him and he has inspired me to pursue this specialist angle of the work.
Find out more about how you can achieve your ambitions of becoming a barrister.