Circuit: South Eastern
Chambers: 2 Temple Gardens, London
Elected as a Barrister Governing Bencher in 2019
WHY DID YOU WANT TO BECOME A BENCHER?
I had been an Advocacy Trainer for the Inn since 2012 and was very heavily involved in it. I enjoyed it immensely and felt a huge degree of personal satisfaction giving back to my Inn. I was fortunate enough to have received the encouragement of several senior members of the Inn to put in an application to become a Bencher, and, grateful for the support and encouragement, I did so. From my own perspective, I really wanted the opportunity to do more for the Inn, such as becoming more closely involved with calling students to the Bar and developing those early relationships. I also wanted to be more involved in settling policies and practices for the Inn, especially in relation to advocacy training. I knew that I could get much more involved in those activities as a Bencher.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE ELECTION PROCESS?
It was actually less stressful and onerous than I had feared it would be. What surprised me the most was how supportive other individuals were – there were so many who wanted to help (and did help) with my application form or even just giving me words of encouragement. I liked that the application process really focused on what the applicant had done for the Inn. As someone who feels very uncomfortable trying to openly canvass support for myself in relation to anything, it was a relief that there was no element of that in the election process. All I had to do was submit my application, and allow the process to run itself, and I felt very reassured that it was a merits-based process.
HOW DID YOU IDENTIFY YOUR THREE SUPPORTING GOVERNING BENCHERS? DID THEY APPROACH YOU?
In respect of two of my supporters, these were both individuals who had separately encouraged me to make an application, so they seemed like the sensible and obvious choice. Both of them were very senior members of the Inn, highly respected in their fields, and did a huge amount of work for the Inn and its members. They had both personally always been very encouraging and supportive to me, so I felt comfortable approaching them. In respect of my third supporter, this was an individual who I had known for several years – they were an exceptional Advocacy Trainer and hugely well respected both in their legal field and at the Inn. Again, I felt comfortable approaching them because they knew me well enough to make an assessment of my candidacy, and they were as encouraging and supportive as my other two supporters.
WHAT COMMITMENT DID YOU MAKE TO THE INN BEFORE BECOMING A BENCHER?
I have been an Advocacy Trainer since 2012 and it’s fair to say that I really threw myself into it! I taught on four to five advocacy training weekends a year, in addition to volunteering for several evening teaching sessions and Saturday teaching sessions. I was a member of the Bar Liaison Committee, the Advocacy Training Committee and the Pupil Supervisors’ Sub-Committee. I was promoted to Course Director of Pupils’ Advocacy in 2017, and also rewrote the Advocacy Training Manual with Master Leonard during that time. As time has gone on, I have become much more involved in advocacy training and how we can improve it at the Inn. It is not only enjoyable to be so heavily involved in teaching, but immensely satisfying.
HAVE YOU VOLUNTEERED TO ASSIST THE INN WITH ANY ACTIVITIES, COMMITTEES OR IN ANY ROLES SINCE BECOMING A BENCHER? IF SO, WHAT WERE THEY AND WHAT HAVE YOUR EXPERIENCES BEEN?
I have been appointed to the E&T Committee and I have already called several students to the Bar on three separate Call Nights. It is exciting to sit on the E&T Committee, because education and training is at the core of what the Inn exists for, and I can become more involved and engaged with how the Inn continues to provide and improve that training. Call Night for me is particularly fun and rewarding – meeting the proud families of the students and seeing the diversity of students being called fills me with real optimism for the future of the Inn.
NAME SOMETHING ABOUT THE INN YOU HAVE LEARNED SINCE BECOMING A BENCHER?
I never had any real appreciation for quite how many committees and sub- committees it took to run the Inn, not to mention the hundreds of hours of time volunteered by Benchers in doing so. This has been a real eye-opener since becoming a Bencher and makes me even more determined to do my bit.
IN ONE SENTENCE, WHY DO YOU BELIEVE BEING A BENCHER IS REWARDING?
It allows you to contribute to every part of the successful running of the Inn, and to give back to the institution that has supported your own career and education, and to the next generation of advocates.
HOW CAN BENCHERS ENSURE INNER TEMPLE REMAINS “THE PROGRESSIVE INN”?
By continually learning – teaching ourselves about equality and diversity and creating initiatives around removing the variety of barriers that may hinder students from a career at the Bar. We should all be as involved as we can with students – through events and one-to-one support, so that we are doing everything we can for the next generation.