When were you a student at King’s Ely?

I joined King’s Ely Senior in Year 9 in 2005 and I left at the end of Year 13 in 2009.

What did you do after leaving King’s?

After leaving King’s, I went to read English at the University of Southampton, with the intention of doing a conversion to Law. After a year of studying Literature, I switched to the three-year Law course. At 22, I graduated with an LLB in Law and enrolled at Bar School, where I studied for one year in London and met my now fiancée. For the next two years, I worked in different jobs whilst also applying to become a Barrister. I spent a year advising hedge funds in the city and also moved back to Cambridge for a year to work as a Crown Court Paralegal. Being in Cambridge meant I got to spend a lot of time with old school friends before finally starting as a Pupil Barrister, aged 25, at 3 Paper Buildings Chambers.

What do you do career wise now?

I am a Commercial Barrister. I act in disputes concerning breach of contract, fraud, professional negligence, and defamation. I represent my clients in trials, contested hearings, and mediations. Recently, I acted for 22 claimants in their trial, heard in a huge court room in Winchester, where I conducted a fraud cross-examination for nearly two days.

I regularly appear in the High Court and have acted as sole counsel for cases valued in excess of £1m. In the last few years, I have been listed in the legal directories as a Tier 1 Leading Individual in Commercial Litigation. I also have some experience in unusual cases, including a multi-day trial on the possessions of ghosts!

What subjects and extra-curricular activities did you enjoy at King’s?

My favourite subject was English. We had excellent teachers, who compelled us to approach the texts with an equal measure of intellectual analysis and genuine enthusiasm. I still love those plays and poems nearly twenty years later, except for Thomas Hardy’s bird poetry.

The extra-curricular activities at King’s taught me that it was great to have a go at everything – but that I was only good at one thing. I was one of the main actors in the Drama Department, the drummer for our House Band, I threw myself into Ely Scheme, and even some Sports.

I was distinctly average at best and at times, truly appalling. But I had a lot of fun! I could also see in each of those fields that there were always one or two individuals who were naturally exceptional.

How do you think King’s helped you get to where you are today?

Eventually I discovered Debating. I quickly became Captain of my House Team and took us to the finals in front of the whole school. We did well but we were outclassed by a phenomenal team from Withburga, led by the effortlessly brilliant Alex South, who is now a best-selling author. The next year we won the whole competition, and I went on to represent the school in a regional competition, winning that as well.

After spending years discovering all the things I could not do, King’s helped me find and develop the one thing I could. This is exactly what you need. Life is not catered for all-rounders. Nobody would be better off if Roger Federer also pursued Mathematics, or if Marie Curie spent half her time rock climbing. King’s provides a unique opportunity for each student to find their individual talent. For King’s students, it will likely be the only stage of their life where they have the facilities, resources, and time to try out as many things as they want, from Physics to Fashion.

My advice would be to find the skill in which you truly excel and turn it into a career that makes you happy.

What are your fondest memories of school?

In terms of events, I would say the wildly competitive House Music competitions, James Wood’s parties, hosting Kings Ely’s Got Talent, and Twelfth Night.

But most of all it was the friendships. When I get married in June, my best man will be a guy I met on my first day at King’s when we were 13 years old. You never stay in touch with all your school friends but that does not stop you from remembering your school days as some of the best of your life.

Who was your favourite teacher/staff member, and why?

I really did feel especially lucky with my teachers. Mr Rees and Mr Young helped us grapple with Philosophy. Mr Reckless was perhaps the most knowledgeable and memorable History teacher you could hope for. My English teachers were so enthusiastic I ended up studying Literature at University, despite wanting to be a Lawyer.

But if I were to single out one person who had the greatest impact: Mr Thomas. Mr Thomas was my History and Psychology teacher, and my Housemaster. As Head of Hereward, he had the challenge of helping turn sixty chaotic, reckless, and unpredictable boys into men. He did this with a unique blend of humour, stoicism, and leading by example. Mr Thomas saw that I was a strange and wayward individual who was nothing at all like him. But he was there in the background ensuring I took responsibility for my actions and I never got too far off course. He brought out the best in all of us.

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