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Legal Practice Conversations

These events give students the opportunity to meet solicitors and barristers and get first-hand insight into how the law works in practice. At each event, the invited speakers discuss a reported case they advocated in and offer advice to students looking to pursue a law career. 

Browse our future events.

December 2023

Sir Richard Meade, Mr Justice Meade, talks about his career first in computers and then as an IP Barrister and High Court Judge and head of the Patents Court.

November 2022

Elizabeth Isaacs KC MCIArb, Head of Chambers at St Ives, Birmingham and Deputy High Court Judge, talks about her career including her experience as a part-time mature law student and a recent case about advocacy, COVID and online justice.

April 2022

Her Honour Judge Lynn Roberts talks about her career working first as a solicitor and now as a judge. The conversation will be wide-ranging and will include a discussion of a recent judgment in a case about domestic abuse.


Kevin Gordon a former Birkbeck law student talked about his working life as a barrister at Five Pump Court Chambers, why and how he moved into law from a career in probation and social work and how he draws on his background in dance in the courtroom.

May 2021

Merlie Calvert, CEO and Founder of Farillio, talks about legal services for small businesses and why she supports Birkbeck’s Pioneer 1.0 initiative.

April 2021

Anthony Landes, an Intellectual Property solicitor and partner in a leading law firm discussed his career, including working as an in-house lawyer for a large multinational, and the nature of commercial awareness in legal practice

February 2021

David Isaac, a solicitor, human rights activist and chair of several organisations including Stonewall and the Equality and Human Rights Commission discussed transformations in the legal profession and the use of law in bringing about change.

Segun Osuntokun, Managing Partner of international law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) and head of their Africa Group discusses his career as a leading lawyer in the UK for banking litigation and civil fraud claims, as part of Birkbeck's ‘Black Question Time, The Call of Success’ series.

January 2021

Mike Ettiene, a practising barrister at Garden Court Chambers discussed his work in human rights practice.

November 2020

James Caldwell, a practising barrister at Two Hardcourt Buildings discussed his career across all areas of criminal law and related fields.

October 2020

Seyed Mohammad Ahlesaadat, a Law LLB alumnus discussed his traineeship at global law firm BCLP (podcast).

MARCH 2020

Judith Pepper, a barrister at 4 Brick Court, Temple, London discussed her work in family law, primarily public law proceedings representing local authorities, parents and guardians. She also focused on a recent case she was instructed in at the High Court concerning a care proceeding where the father had murdered the mother of the child.


Paul Dowling, an associate solicitor at Leigh Day Solicitors and a Birkbeck alumnus spoke about his work in the fields of international human rights and environmental litigation, focusing on a recent Supreme Court case that Paul was involved with: Lungowe v Vedanta (2019).

march 2019

David Ruebain, Chief Executive or Equality Challenge unit, spoke about his distinguished career and legal practice and the role of law as a tool for change, particularly in the fields of equality and human rights.

October 2018 

Simon Davis, a partner at Clifford Chance, spoke about his career and the case of International Tennis Federation and World Anti-Doping Agency v Richard Gasquet (2009) before the Court of Arbitration for Sport

March 2018

Julia Gasparro, a barrister, discussed her career, her day-to-day work and a case in which the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants instructed her to act

October 2017

James Whitaker, a Birkbeck alumnus and senior associate at Mayer Brown, discussed his career and the day-to-day life of working as a solicitor

February 2017

Heather Lawson, the director of recruitment agency Wells Tobias, discussed the employment opportunities and day-to-day life of legal executives working in private practice and as in-house legal experts in the private and public sectors

November 2016

Oliver Gilman, a senior lawyer with the Department of Health Government Legal Service, discussed the day-to-day life of working as a solicitor employed by the government and two cases: one relating to government aid to Ethiopia and another about junior doctors' conditions of employment

January 2016

Jennifer Bethlehem, a partner at Freshfields, discussed her role in the Pfizer/AstraZeneca takeover bid. 

February 2015

Marc Hanson and Emma Lawley, of Berwin Leighton Paisner, discussed building Westfield Stratford and the law. 

December 2014

Angela Jackman, a partner at Maxwell Gillott, discussed the NHS and abortion rights in Northern Ireland

November 2013

Angela Jackman, a partner at Maxwell Gillott, discussed the case, 'G. v St Gregory's Catholic Science College [2011] EWHC 1452'. 

March 2013

Anthony Metzer, from Argent Chambers, discussed the case, 'Hunt v AB [2009] EWCA Civ 1092' and a current group action against the Ministry of Defence before the War Pensions Tribunal, on behalf of veterans of the British 1950s nuclear testing programme on Christmas Island. 

October 2012

Noel Arnold, director of legal practice at Coram Children's Legal Centre, discussed 'Re M (Education: Section 91(14) Order) [2007] EWCA Civ 1550'.