An introductory lecture from one of the country’s top Defence Barristers gave our Year 9 students and staff a wonderful and fascinating insight into today’s legal world.
We were delighted that Chris Daw QC, from Serjeants’ Inn Chambers, London, and Lincoln’s House Chambers, Manchester, was able to visit school and share his story and enthusiasm for his profession. Ranked as a Leading Silk in The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, he has appeared in many high profile cases and advises companies and personalities in the worlds of sport, entertainment and business.
Hearing a real life story is important for our student, especially when he told us about his very normal upbringing – his father was a builder, mother a shop assistant, and that he went to a state comprehensive school in Milton Keynes before moving to Southport where he studied for his A levels. Although he wished he had done better at school it was clear that, following a computer personality test suggesting he suited a career in Law, he had found something he was interested in, was passionate about, and clearly enjoyed. Observing trials at Liverpool Crown Court – some for drug crimes and murder – only aroused his interest even further, he was hooked!
In addition to gaining his Degree in Law at the University of Manchester, Chris told how he using the Inns of Court School of Law Library to great effect and attending the mandatory 24 dinners at Gray’s Inn, before being called to the Bar at the age of 23. After spending a year in Barristers’ Chambers he gained his new ‘white’ wig and gown and, at the young age of 26, undertook his first murder case. Following a series of successful defences in highly reported trials, Chris was appointed a Queen’s Counsel (QC) – which meant purchasing another new outfit that included buckled shoes, a new wig, trousers that end at the knee – and black tights from Marks and Spencer!
A subsequent Question and Answer session revealed: his thoughts on losing a case – not good at all as Chris seriously likes to win; defending those who he knows are guilty – it is more difficult defending those he thinks are innocent in case he loses; and would he bring back the Death Penalty – in case there was a miscarriage of justice, no!
Chris’s talk included some really useful advice for our students, relevant whether or not they were thinking of entering the legal profession. He built up his reputation on excellence in everything he did. Unless aiming for a specific career in which subjects matter, it is important to aim for high grades in each subject, thus helping to make up the building blocks of a good all round education – “learning all adds up”. “Pick the subjects you love, do whatever you want, focus on something you are interested in, and do not feel restricted in the things you can do as there are so many fascinating and rewarding careers out there!”
Thanks also to Mrs Fraser, Deputy Headteacher, for organising the event. Look out for Chris’s new TV series – “Crime: Are We Tough Enough?”