To me, the Bar represented (and still does) the peak of our profession as the advocate and orator for our clients. However, the best of the profession also requires us to develop a thick skin and a very particular way of working; chambers, clerks, some wonderfully quaint and ancient traditions and practices.

During my early years I was asked to work temporarily within a solicitors’ firm advising on a very specific set of banking circumstances that played well to my specialisations to date. That short stint ended up becoming a multi-year placement that gave me the opportunity to cross-qualify and work alongside solicitors while leveraging the skills of a barrister in a collegiate, well-resourced and diverse team.

I focused on a novel area of work at the time; banks pursuing litigation against other banks during the financial crisis. This work set me off on a path to work in-house at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the Retail Enforcement team, investigating complex failures in regulatory governance, fraud, sophisticated white-collar crime, and to help establish enforcement and fining strategies to improve conduct in the financial market.

The FCA was an enormous change of pace to the thick-carpeted American law firms that I’d become familiar with in London. It was a busy body (in both senses of the word!), tasked with providing oversight and governance to increasing and increasingly damaging regulatory failures. However, resources were limited, and sometimes, learning which fights not to fight was a skill in itself.

In my spare time I was a hacker. Mostly ethical and self-trained, but I was enamoured with the ingenuity and skill of hackers and their use of technology to solve technological problems. This fascination served as a catalyst to follow a career that allowed me to invest my skills as a lawyer into a profession that blended technical expertise, advocacy, an understanding of court processes and litigation, an empathetic bedside manner and other skills to serve as a technical expert on a variety of fields.

The world is rapidly evolving beyond old codgers like me, but blockchain, cyber breach response, artificial intelligence, forensic data analytics and technologically assisted review are just a few of the fields of law and technology that barely existed a couple of decades ago, but now require lawyers and technologists to sound fluent and ahead of the curve.

The employed Bar presents a broad and evolving palette of opportunities. Whether you’re working for a large corporation, a startup, a government agency or a non-profit organisation, there are myriad opportunities to marry the skills of the sharp mind of a lawyer with the understanding to tackle the challenges of modern business.

And it’s not just the diversity of opportunities that drew me to the employed Bar. It’s also the range of skills that I’ve been able to develop and hone over the course of my career. From technical expertise in areas like network security and data privacy to legal skills like contract negotiation and regulatory compliance, working as a cyber expert has allowed me to develop skills and opportunities to use them in a way that I could scarcely have imagined.

I’ve conducted covert investigations, sneaking around under cover of darkness to acquire evidence of criminality from the client’s employees; I’ve flown in to rebuild the computer networks of Ukrainian businesses suffering from cyber-attacks. I’ve given evidence in court on the psychological underpinnings of the blockchain and helped to alert clients to the delicacy of legal privilege following management failures that resulted in losses of over $100 million.

Pursuing a career at the employed Bar is an exciting and rewarding path for anyone with a passion for law and a willingness to work hard and stay on top of the latest developments in the field. Whether you’re interested in working for a large corporation or a small startup, there are countless opportunities available for skilled and motivated practitioners, and the skills and insights you’ll gain along the way will serve you well throughout your career.