At what stage in your career did you take on your first pro bono case? 

It was before I even started my career at the Bar that I became involved with the law clinic at my university (Leicester University), helping students resolve issues with their landlords, employers and/or on other relevant matters. I progressed to volunteering at my local law (Hillingdon Law) centre. Here I worked for vulnerable members of our society who were in need of assistance on a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from immigration, housing and on benefits matters. On completing my law degree, I went on to volunteer further with the Free Representation Unit (FRU), in order to assist individuals with limited means, in their employment matters. 

Why did you decide to undertake pro bono work? 

My father was a big influence in my life and had always been a great proponent for helping those less fortunate in the community, ensuring that there was always an avenue and hope for those that might otherwise not have access to the assistance they require. He always educated us to give back and to humbly remember our privileges. We do not, unfortunately, live in a world where everyone has equal access and equal opportunities to gain the knowledge to demand fair treatment. It is a complicated matter to understand the legal infrastructure that runs our society. These basic rights we take for granted daily are too often out of reach for many people due to various reasons, such as socio-economic disadvantages or an endemic bias that systematically favours those who understand the system. I had acquired key skills and knowledge through my studies and grew up with the ethos that empowering the disadvantaged and making my skills accessible to those who most needed help was imperative for personal and societal growth. 

What was the most memorable case you worked on, and what did you do? 

I will never forget a case I worked on for an elderly lady, it left an indelible impression on me. She was a victim of serious torture, with serious mental health problems. Being able to work on her immigration case after her limited funds were depleted, required no second thought. Her only son had abandoned her, and she appeared simply unable to provide any coherent evidence. Her case met success after several adjourned hearings, with her being granted asylum. Hearing about her journey since she was granted protection in the UK has brought me a sense of peace knowing that she has found a sanctuary, especially given the level of trauma she had suffered. 

What effect did pro bono work have on your career? 

Pro Bono work has helped me grow as a barrister, the wide and varied spectrum of cases that I have worked on have all contributed to my growth and understanding of various legalistic regulations and of human nature. It has also ensured I have remained grounded with the ‘real world’ as there is sometimes a tendency to see a case and its facts only through the legal lens. 

What is the most rewarding thing about doing pro bono work? 

Undoubtedly being a catalyst for access to justice for all, which is the ethos of our Immigration and Public Law team in chambers 

What advice would you give to any barrister unsure about whether to start doing pro bono work? 

I would advise them to take on as much as possible. For me this isn’t a selfless act, nor is it for any barrister. The experience and growth we gain in our pro bono cases is unmatched. We meet people from all walks of life and as we become their route to justice they become a path for our growth. Any barrister who wants to succeed in their profession should unhesitatingly use their skills and knowledge for others who need to access justice. This is the true purpose of our profession.