Aside from a temporary blip when, inspired by ER, being a surgeon seemed like the way forward, I always wanted to be a barrister. I enjoyed drama and public speaking at school and knew that I wanted to do a job that centred around words and formulating arguments.

All of my early work experience was in criminal law and, as well as the interesting cases, I loved the theatre and the camaraderie. I also had a sense early on that I would prefer the independence and flexibility of working for myself, something which has luckily turned out to be true.

However, deciding to be a barrister is very different to actually becoming one. In addition to requiring vast sums of money, the journey towards tenancy can at times feel like a series of challenges which require almost superhuman levels of ability and confidence to complete. In my experience, girls, in particular, can often lack the necessary self-belief to continue with the process.

I was lucky to have people around me who propelled me forward on the occasions when I lost confidence in myself – it can be very difficult to keep going but I am so glad that I did. All of the hard work and perseverance has been worth it.

My work is never boring (and sometimes hugely entertaining) and that is something that I will never take for granted. Having done countless mini-pupillages in different areas of law, it was not until I studied media law as part of my degree that I decided to specialise in this area. It seemed dynamic and exciting but, from a practical perspective, also promised more financial security than criminal law. I now chiefly specialise in defamation, privacy, breach of confidence and data protection. The law in those areas is constantly changing and developing, including in response to new technological advances. A claim could also arise in any context and the facts are therefore always different. My first trial as a junior involved trying to prove the truth of an allegation of murder, but I have also, for example, argued for the rights of arrestees in child sex offence cases to remain anonymous, defended big tech companies like Google, and worked for celebrities, newspapers and political parties.

Despite being warned against it by some, I have never regretted the decision to specialise from the outset. I enjoy being able to focus my energies in one area and getting to know it very well. I have also been fortunate not to worry too much about work drying up: although the number of cases being brought might fluctuate, human nature is such that people will always care very much about their reputation and right to privacy. One way or another, media law will always need to provide ways for those interests to be protected.

I knew I needed a break between finishing my law degree and starting Bar school and wanted to gain some life experience before I moved on to the next stage. I had a brilliant year on a graduate scheme in public relations – I met some great people, worked for interesting clients, and left with a much better understanding of how the media actually works. I took a lot away from my time in public relations and it continues to have an influence on my practice – monitoring for adverse comments on social media platforms, for example, is something that I did as part of my job then and still do now. However, I did not enjoy the lack of independence and the experience made me realise how much I wanted to be both self-employed and a barrister.

Starting a family does have an impact on your career. I have always tried to maintain my practice (I write this with a 7-month-old, one week away from embarking on a six week trial). Even leaving aside everything else, there is just a physical reality to being pregnant and giving birth which forces you to slow down, for a bit. Although I might share the same call date as a male colleague, in that time I have had three children and, with the best will in the world, I will not always have been able to do the same kinds of cases, engage in the same marketing initiatives and maintain the same contacts. As I learnt the hard way, it is also not possible to guarantee a straightforward, healthy pregnancy or even first few years.

Having said that, I find that the flexibility of being self-employed generally works very well with motherhood. I enjoy the fact that, unlike some of my friends in different jobs, I am able to choose to do some work during my baby’s first year. Maintaining the juggle is certainly not straightforward, but once I accepted that I could not do it all and would need consistent help with childcare, life became significantly easier.

Some good advice which has always stayed with me is that being a barrister is a long game. Having now had my children, in lots of ways I am only just getting going, and I really look forward to everything there is to come. As it stands, they find my wig and gown hugely amusing and hopefully one day they will be proud to have a hard-working mum.

I loved being in a smaller, close-knit chambers, but now enjoy the security of being part of a much bigger set up and all of the opportunities that brings. When I joined One Brick Court as a pupil I hoped that I would be there for the whole of my career. The chambers dissolved in 2019. Although this was a very stressful time, made worse by the fact that I was a couple of months away from giving birth, I was very lucky to find myself at 11KBW, a brilliant set of chambers with fantastic colleagues and clerks.

The whole experience taught me greater self-reliance and not to fear change, something I had never been brilliant at. I am now in a chambers with specialisms in other areas and that has very much been to my benefit. My practice has expanded and been enhanced as a result and I am now working with hugely supportive KCs on a different range of cases and learning more in the process than I perhaps would have done otherwise.

My recent move out of London was the best thing for my family. I now travel in when I need to and, like others, I have very much benefited from the increased use of technology during lockdown.

I understand completely the advantages of spending at least some time in chambers and the importance of maintaining relationships with colleagues and clerks. However, anything which helps women, in particular, juggle their family commitments and stay at the Bar when they would historically have left, must surely be a good thing.