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

When I was a trainee solicitor at Cleary Gottlieb in 2013! My colleague Akima Paul-Lambert (now a partner at Hogan Lovells) sat on the pro bono committee and had a real passion for pro bono work – she was an inspiration. 

Why did you decide to undertake pro bono work? 

To increase access to justice. We are so fortunate as lawyers, by virtue of constant interaction with the law, to know our rights. Yet so many – often the least privileged – have rights but do not know how to vindicate them. 

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

I picked up a pro bono case in 2018 which was marketed to me as ‘Advice and Representation at a specified hearing’. It turned out to be detailed assessment from scratch, and I worked on the case for more than two years! The client had suffered much misfortune in her life, and when she finally obtained her costs, it meant the world to her. It was memorable for the many twists and turns in the matter, and immensely satisfying when I saw how much obtaining justice meant to her. In many ways, the money was secondary to her. 

What effect did pro bono work have on your career? 

It has allowed me the opportunity to develop expertise in new areas of law which I would not usually have come across in my commercial practice. 

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

It reminds me that law is a vocation, and I can use my legal skills to make a difference. 

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

Just do it!