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New Law Journal Profile: Ruby Sayed
7 Apr 2017
The family law barrister calls for a justice system that is accessible to all
Family law barrister and entrepreneur Ruby Sayed won the recent City of London Elections to become councillor of the ward of Farringdon Without. She is a member of 1 Pump Court Chambers.
What was your route into the profession?
After a challenging educational journey during my teenage years, I went back to my old high school, Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls (Ealing) to complete my A-Levels. I then read law at the University of Sussex before undertaking my Bar Exams at what used to be the Inns of Court School of Law. I undertook pupillage at 1 Pump Court Chambers and was taken on as a tenant under Chambers’ exceptional pupil scheme.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far?
I have had two big career challenges. Firstly, the challenges I faced when embarking on a legal career due to my personal life experiences and background. Secondly, when I suffered a serious injury to my foot, requiring several major surgeries. This has left me with a permanent disability and pain, which means a busy court practice is very difficult to manage. More needs to be done so that the legal profession and courts generally are more accessible for people with mobility issues and other disabilities.
Which person within the legal profession inspires you most?
From current practitioners, I find Baroness Helena Kennedy QC very inspirational. I admire all that Helena has achieved in her legal and professional career, her philanthropic work in championing the rights of women and children and in the educational sector. She has always made time for me and supported my professional journey for which I am very grateful.
I would also like to take this moment to remember Tahera Ladak from my Chambers who was taken from us before her time. Her reputation and legacy for representing and fighting for the underprivileged and vulnerable was also truly inspirational. I miss her dearly. All that Tahera achieved in her lifetime will live on in our hearts and memories.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you choose as an alternate career?
The legal profession and advocating for the rights of others has always been my passion and I am committed to the charitable work that I undertake as a trustee and chairperson.
For several years now, I have also been working with SMEs from a strategic development and governance perspective and own and run a couple of businesses myself, including a boutique holiday accommodation business in Lavenham (Suffolk)—which gives me great pleasure in meeting people from different backgrounds and countries.
If I was to completely move away from law and business, I would probably like to explore my creative side and making things. Alongside this, I would choose a career where I could continue helping young people from disadvantage backgrounds in fulfilling their potential.
Having won the recent City of London Elections, I am excited to stand as a councillor representing the people who live and work in Farringdon Without.
Who is your favourite fictional lawyer?
I grew up watching Rumpole of the Bailey and so would have to choose Rumpole as my favourite fictional lawyer.
What change would you make to the profession?
Sadly, with all the funding cut backs in higher education and legal aid, I am concerned that once again it is becoming more difficult for talented people from different and diverse backgrounds from entering the legal profession. Furthermore, that young barristers, particularly at the Criminal Bar are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
We also need a justice system that is accessible to all and in particular those that are vulnerable. We need more investment into education and court services to ensure that the high quality of legal representation that is available, is maintained and sustained and; is not directly proportionate to what you can afford to pay.
How do you relax?
I love cooking and having close friends and family sitting round my kitchen table being guinea pigs for my culinary creations. I also enjoy going to the theatre, art galleries and museums. Most relaxing of all is sitting in the garden on a sunny day with a good book in hand whilst listening to birds singing in the trees.
To read the full article, as featured in New Law Journal, please click here