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

If I remember correctly I think I did a few cases in around 2012, 11 years after my call to the bar. I left the jurisdiction to work in Africa and returned in 2019, picking up a few cases with Advocate in 2020. 

Why did you decide to undertake pro bono work? 

I think my aim was to give back. You come to the bar with the view to using your skills to help others. When it's paid work you don’t always get that sense that you are making a difference. I guess in a strange way pro bono works gives me the opportunity to do just that 

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

It would have to be a case in the High Court, where the client wanted to remove a child from the jurisdiction so she could settle, with the view to bringing the child back. The father who had treated them badly and failed to support her, opposed the application. He needed her here to facilitate his immigration status. The court saw through it all and allowed the child to go to its maternal grandparents for a year.  

What effect did pro bono work have on your career? 

I don’t think I have done enough yet for it to impact on my career. 

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

I think it’s the fact that with little or no effort you can make a whole lot of difference to people. Speaking to someone on the phone for an hour takes nothing away from me, however, in the right case it can make a difference to someone. 

Recently I spoke to an 80-year-old lady about a probate matter. Its unlikely that she will get anything out of the process and she is well aware of that fact. However, that call at least made her feel that she was en route to trying to get redress for the injustice she has suffered at the hands of her ex-husband. We haven’t started the process but I am sure it’s something she looks forward to getting on with when we are out of this lockdown.  

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

I saw an email I sent to junior members of chambers of GD Tetteh in 2012 about undertaking pro bono work. It ensures that they gain valuable experience whilst making a difference in people lives.  

As far as experienced barristers are concerned, I would say it’s rewarding. You do feel that you are making a difference and that when all is said and done it was not always about the money. That is a good feeling.