We kick off our interview series with Dee Robinson or some of you may know her as @divya_the_baking_barrister.
She is a barrister with a wealth of experience in the industry. In this interview, Dee gives some insight about her social media influence, career at the bar, and tips for aspiring barristers.
HOW DID DIVYA_THE_BAKING_BARRISTER COME INTO EXISTENCE?
I began my account during the first wave of the pandemic. Bread baking acted as a soothing and meditative balm, whilst also allowed me a kind of creative freedom that ‘lawyering’ perhaps did not. However, as time went on and the account grew, I become more confident and expressive with my baking and started to use it as a vehicle for conversation. I saw that biscuit art was a rather unusual but powerful way to express important ideas – ideas such as climate change, racial and gender inequality and much more.
I sought to raise awareness of the women’s justice groups I was involved in through art and cake and became bolder in the way in which I presented my bakes and ideas- so bold in fact that my baking managed to attract the attention of some TV producers! ( watch this space) I’d go so far as to say the inception of this account spawned the most artistically productive time of my life
WHO PLAYED THE BIGGEST ROLE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF YOUR LEGAL CAREER?
In the earliest stages of my legal career, my mother ( the most impressive and determined woman I know) played a significant role. As a Solicitor herself, she understood the challenges I would face and was able to give me balanced and informed advice whilst always encouraging me to fulfil my potential as I navigated my way through qualification. Quite often we assess the barriers we face as solely things like one’s socio economic background, race, gender, lack of contacts in the field…and so on. But what I’ve learned from my mother is that in fact the most powerful personal limitations are the mental/emotional barriers we put up ourselves.
IF YOU COULD DO ONE THING DIFFERENTLY DURING YOUR PUPILLAGE APPLICATIONS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
One thing I would do differently on my pupillage applications: I would perhaps be more open about my interests and hobbies outside of the law. Do not write/say what you think the panel want to hear; just be genuine and your answers will flourish.
WHAT SKILLS AND QUALITIES DO YOU THINK ASPIRING BARRISTERS SHOULD AIM TO DEVELOP?
Being a Barrister is all about effective advocacy; both oral and written. Be precise in the way you present information as Judge’s value succinctness more than anything else. Persuasiveness in court is not about flowery language and dramatics, but about structure and clarity.
HOW SHOULD ASPIRING BARRISTERS TRY TO STAND OUT?
At pupillage stage, you will not need an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, but you will need to demonstrate an ability to construct an argument. And so my answer to this question lies in my response to the previous one. Answer every question with a clear structure in mind. Think about the order in which you make your points. A clear narrative will make what you say instantly more memorable and thus make you stand out as a candidate. Lastly, I would say this; do not compare yourself to others. We all take a different path and our experiences shape us into who we are, and the advocate we eventually become. Use your experiences, take inspiration from everything and you will find that you stop becoming intimidated by other Barrister’s profiles but focus on the career you want to carve out.