Breaking Barriers – Tony Williams Speaks at Urban Lawyers North Event

Tony Williams was pleased to be invited to speak on 13th February 2024 at an event organised by Urban Lawyers North at the University of Manchester. Urban Lawyers is a charity that works to increase access to the legal profession for those from marginalised and underprivileged backgrounds dreaming of a career in law.

Tony was invited to join the panel alongside Dr Luke Graham (lecturer in Public Law & Human Rights at the University of Manchester) and Elizabeth Davis (Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell), after featuring in an interview for Life as a Junior Barrister. In that interview he had discussed his non-traditional working class background, how this sculpted and influenced his path to the Bar, and his early experiences in the legal trenches.

Breaking Barrister event poster

In addition to talking to students about his journey into the profession, he spoke about his career at the Criminal Bar and the types of cases that he had dealt with – issuing an important reminder of the inextricable link between criminal law and human rights (for example, the duty of disclosure upon the prosecution; a cornerstone of the right to a fair trial). He also spoke about his experience of defending protest cases involving Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights – holding the state to account by testing the proportionality of its actions against protesters.

Tony concluded by offering some insights into enhancing CVs and accruing pivotal experiences to bolster pupillage applications. His message to students was clear: let your personality shine through in interviews to find your place in a Chambers that resonates with you.

Tony Williams
Tony said about the event: “I’m grateful to Urban Lawyers North for inviting me to speak to their members. I was inspired by the number of students who approached me to discuss their aspirations after my presentation. Despite being told at length the realistic picture of early life at the Criminal Bar, and even in light of recent attacks on the legal profession  and human rights legislation in this country, it was heartening to see that they were not dissuaded from pursuing their passion. I wish them all the very best of luck.”