Non-Government Organisation Experience.
Jan 2017 - Jan 2019 : Education Lead, Human Rights Lawyers Association's Young Lawyers Committee
I was elected twice.
I organised an event, Disability in the Legal Professions, which discussed the careers of five disabled lawyers. Two important points were raised. Firstly, disclosing and recognising your disability can be a positive step to getting the adjustments needed to overcome the obstacles of being a disabled person. Secondly, the panel found that difference is good. The event was unique and positive given that the diversity conversations often omit disability. There was interest from the legal press and an article was written by Legal Cheek.
I arranged and spoke at the Disability, Education and Human Rights event, which discussed the L case, schools failing to make reasonable adjustments and inadequate sex education. A lack of support and funding was a common theme in the discussions.
I was on the Education Working Group, which is responsible for the Judicial Review Competition and the Young Human Rights Lawyer Journal.
Organising the Journal was a team effort with three other Committee members whilst having periods of independent work. My responsibilities were to collect the results and inform the successful candidates and those who were not successful. I worked with the Committee member responsible for the previous stage to find out which editor was allocated to each article. I also worked with the Chair to chase up the editors that missed the deadline. I worked independently when writing emails to the authors and collecting the results.
I liaised with another Committee member who was responsible for organising the publication process and collecting the edited articles. We worked together to ensure that there was no confusion as to which articles were accepted and those that were rejected.
Nov 2017 - Mar 2018: Secretary, Bi Pride UK
Strong time management, organisation and administrative skills were shown in prompt handling requests from the Chair at short notice and being available when needed. This often includes making contact with Bi Pride UK committee members, external people and sending out agendas. Self-motivation when working remotely is part of the role.
Governance and Leadership
Participation in and engagement with the Executive Committee and supporting the Chair has been part of my role. I created a Diversity Inclusion and Accessibility, introduced an action log, contact list, new communications process and played a legal role given that position was vacant.
Persuasive and confident communication has taken place when discussing recruitment, meeting processes, the lack of engagement and formality. I had no qualms with being a critical friend to the Chair, even when she disagrees.
June 2015 - March 2018: Information Service Volunteer, Stonewall
I responded to enquiries from people who need urgent information on LGBT rights. Many people who contact the service, via email or phone, have experienced discrimination, are distressed and need to know how to take action. This required good listening and patience. My empathy was a prerequisite too. The ability to remain calm is important as well given that some callers are suicidal.
Research and Drafting
I provided detailed responses and signposting people on to legal advisors, counsellors and community groups. Strong researching and writing skills were required when writing advice to ensure accuracy.
Feb 2016 - July 2017: Volunteer, Alzheimer's Research UK
Research and Materials
I prepared materials and helped to run events in order to raise funds for dementia. Research skills and creativity were required in order to find the information and make it representable. The ability to process the information was needed to make the information accessibility.
Engaging with people was also significant aspect of the role, to give support and information.
March 2015 - August 2015: Press and Publicity Intern, Access to Justice Foundation
Research and Drafting
I researched local press and legal contacts in the areas of the Legal Support Trusts’ events. Excel was used to create a national database of local news outlets, journalists and lawyers conscious of legal aid difficulties. I also drafted press releases and wrote articles for both the Foundation and the Legal Support Trusts using Word.
August 2013 - 2015: Intern, Volunteer and Peer Facilitator, British Institute of Human Rights
I completed research on the perpetuated myths surrounding the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Union for the BIHR's Human Rights Tour. This helped the staff to educate the public as to how MPs and journalists wrongly portray rights as a hate figure dictating UK policy.
I also looked behind the tabloid and news headlines to discover that the judgements were being distorted to create public outcry. Investigation of local human rights cases was also carried out to help the local residents to connect with human rights, making them more accessible and real. This helped to ensure that those coming to the Tour realise that rights do protect people and they do it close to home. Similarly, positive articles were discovered that did not credit human rights as the remedy.
An evaluative project regarding the Mental Capacity Act was completed, requiring good understanding of the Act and how it is applied before assisting with hosting a committee that discussed the practical application of the Act.
Assistance was given, as a peer facilitator, to host the Human Rights Here and Now Protect 2014, a seminar on child rights. I helped the participants to engage with the activities and encouraged communication.