Name: Kirsty Brimelow, 36, Criminal Barrister
Study: Law, Birmingham University (2:2)
Graduated: July 1990
"One of my most satisfying moments as a barrister was when I was very junior and I was defending someone in a robbery case. I made a legal argument that the case should be stopped. I failed and the defendant was convicted. I appealed it and on paper, that was rejected, so I took it to the Court of Appeal and eventually the conviction was appealed. I knew I was right, despite being knocked back by judges.
I love the advocacy side of my job, which involves mainly defence – although some prosecution – of serious crime cases, including murder, rape and fraud. I also like the fact that every day is completely different. Witnesses are unpredictable, as are defendants. The constant drama makes it an exciting job. Perhaps most of all, I like the fact that you make a direct impact on someone’s life.
Another side of my job is in providing advice for TV dramas, including EastEnders. I also am a media spokesperson for the Bar, so I go on radio and television, as well as talking to the press, about a particular case or new law that’s been passed.
There are downsides, of course. I personally am very critical, so if I feel my closing speech wasn’t good, I’ll really fret about it. Also, the pressure, particularly before a trial starts, can be great, and the hours are long.
Sometimes you have to work all night and all weekend because there is no other way to prepare your case properly. There’s little choice apart from curtailing your social life.