Wed, 12 Sep 2012
No,5’s Barrister Laura Davidson has been featured in Chambers Women In Law and Diversity. Her interview can be seen below.
How long have you been working at No. 5 Chambers?
3 ½ years.
Tell us a bit about your background
After qualifying for the Bar and undertaking pupillage, I chose to go to Cambridge to do a Masters in Law for a year. Although I had fully intended to return to the Bar after my LLM, I was then offered a PhD scholarship by Trinity Hall and ended up staying. I undertook my doctorate in mental health law and human rights. During that time, I taught law to many undergraduates, and I continue to lecture and regularly write law articles.
What would you say is your proudest professional achievement and why?
When I returned to London after my PhD and took up my tenancy at the Bar, within a year my Chambers (a small specialist medical set) chose to dissolve. As the most junior barrister (and having spent my first year doing run-around criminal prosecution work and small claims), I had built up no practice and had no solicitors to offer to other sets, all of which were funding their own pupils in training. I was dismayed that none of the other barristers felt obliged to assist the juniors to move elsewhere, and I found myself unable to obtain another tenancy. I had to undergo what was effectively another pupillage (pupillage is rarely fun in the first instance). This was during an extremely pressured period of my life, as my mother had terminal cancer.
A year later I managed to secure another tenancy, but unfortunately no-one else at the set did mental health work, and the promised expansion into this area never came. My clerks did not have links with solicitors in the field and I was left to build up my practice alone. My proudest professional achievement is the fact that I managed to do so with no assistance or support, and within a relatively short space of time became well-regarded in my field and was able to move to a set with a small specialist team of healthcare barristers.