Mini Biographies – Chris, 2011 call
Growing up in a small village in East Yorkshire and going to the local comprehensive school, becoming a barrister wasn’t my childhood dream. It wasn’t a career option that I was encouraged to pursue or one which I knew much about. There were no lawyers in my family and I had no connections to the legal profession. My insight was generally limited to watching Lionel Hutz and the blue-haired lawyer in episodes of The Simpsons.
After finishing school, I spent a couple of years being involved with the National Youth Theatre and I worked on the shop floor of my Dad’s factory making wallpaper pattern books. I then decided to read law at my local university because I thought it would be interesting, challenging and open up a range of career options in the future. It was only after I started the course, and participated in the mooting competitions, that I thought seriously about a career at the Bar. After graduating, I did the BCL course at Oxford and it was during that year that I made my applications for pupillage.
What I didn’t appreciate fully at the time – but now know from my own experience – is that the Bar is fundamentally meritocratic. Sharpness of mind and the ability to be persuasive are more important than how many bells and whistles you have on your CV or where you went to school. I found that Fountain Court in particular had a welcoming, informal and supportive atmosphere and that was one of the main reasons why I chose to come here.