Career Shifter Event (Hybrid)

Thursday 9 November 2023

Natasha Anderson

Mark Robinson

Christian Fox

Anthony Graham

Kate Riekstina

Alex Samuel

Victoria Welsh

This event was held at Garden Court Chambers in collaboration with Birkbeck University, Black Solicitors Network and The University of Law.

Date: Thursday 9 November 2023
Time: 6.00pm - 7.30pm, followed by a drinks reception
Venue: Chambers & Online  
Cost: Free

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This hybrid event was aimed at those interested in shifting to a career in law. We were delighted to be joined by an exciting speaker panel, including our Mark Robinson, now a barrister at Garden Court following a twenty-year music career as a professional DJ and a presenter at BBC Radio 1Xtra. 

The panel discussed pathways into the legal profession after having another career and starting as a mature student.

Speaker Panel

Natasha Anderson, Andersons Solicitors (Chair)
Natasha Anderson qualified as a solicitor in London in 2007 and later established Andersons Solicitors in Peterborough. She practices in criminal defence and family law. Natasha is also a fully qualified Police Station Representative and Higher Rights Advocate in the Crown Court. She took the LPC at the University of Law.

Mark Robinson, Garden Court Chambers
Mark has gained a reputation as being a maverick who fiercely defends clients in court and rises to the challenge when dealing with complex legal issues and incorporating novel points of law into his submissions. Prior to the Bar, Mark established a busy practice as a freelance solicitor after completing his training contract with a leading East London criminal defence firm. Mark was a presenter on BBC Radio 1Xtra and a professional DJ for many years.

Mark continues to work with the BBC and was recently featured on the BBC 2 documentary, How to Crack the Class Ceiling and previously appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action. Mark also runs Lawyers at Large; a project that sees state school-educated barristers invited into secondary schools and shares their ‘non-traditional’ journey to the bar, running an advocacy skills class and a mock trial competition for students to participate in. 

Christian Fox, Barrister, Becket Chambers
Christian left school at 17 with four ‘O’ levels. After a short spell in the British Army, he fell into dairy farming. He first worked for a farmer and eventually managed to save up, borrow heavily and buy his own cows. He ended up contract farming with 250 organic cows. When the contract came to an end, faced with selling the cows or trying to move, he took stock and decided to make a change. Christian started his law degree at Birkbeck in 2014. It took three years, and four nights per week while working full-time. He then studied for the bar part time over two years. He was called to the bar in 2019 and obtained pupillage in Spring 2020. He became a tenant of Becket Chambers in April 2021 at the age of 54, and now practices in civil law, mostly property and contract matters and work across London and the South East.

Anthony Graham, Consultant Lawyer & Notary Public
Anthony was previously the managing director at Amosu Robinshaw solicitors for 15 years, specialising in criminal defence. In 2019, he qualified as a Notary Public and recently embarked upon a career shift by now working as a consultant lawyer and is also developing his notarial practice.

Anthony is also a member of the Access to Justice Committee at the Law Society, and has been part of this representative groups’ submissions on various issues surrounding the operation and administration of criminal legal, the crime contract and wider concerns relating to the criminal justice system. Having an active interest on EDI, he is a Policy Representative for the BSN, currently assisting the SRA with its research on the disproportionate rates of intervention of BAME firms.

Kate Riekstina, Rose Court Chambers
Kate is a criminal barrister at Rose Court Chambers. Kate’s practice involves defending those charged with a variety of serious criminal offences including firearms, violent offences, drugs and sexual offences. She has a particular experience in representing young people and those with mental health illnesses. Prior to commencing practice Kate worked as a prison officer at HMP Holloway and later at HMP Pentonville.

Alex Samuel, Bishopsgate Law
Alex Samuel is a Chartered Legal Executive working for a City-based firm of solicitors, with expertise is property litigation, and also practicing in professional negligence and personal injury. Alex will discussing qualifying later on in life, as opposed to coming into law after an alternative career. Alex began via the traditional route of law degree and LPC (self-funded), but did not take all LPC modules and was therefore not in the position of obtaining a training contract. However, Alex fell into private practice and continued to thrive as a paralegal. Alex later found the CILEx route and sought to qualify to be a Fellow (FCILEx). After a period of study and completion of a portfolio, Alex qualified in 2021 at the age of 38. Alex is in the process of crossing back over to the SRA to become dual-qualified, while juggling being a father to young children and a demanding role at their firm.

Victoria Welsh, Laytons ETL
Victoria is a Partner and Head of Immigration at city law firm Laytons ETL, after over twelve years practising in immigration law and over ten years prior in the legal industry as a non-lawyer. Victoria's journey into law was anything but conventional, having been homeless in her teens and suffering serious illness into her early 20s.

She fell into a junior administrative role in a sole practitioner law firm not having any direction. At the same time she pursued an amateur boxing career (unsuccessfully) until an injury forced her out of the ring. Victoria decided to challenge her lack of academic confidence and applied to Birkbeck for a law degree. The rest is history.

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