My name is Blessing Park, I am from Bristol and I currently live in London. I am a Future Barrister. Outside of my legal work, I like to help businesses and charities with their online branding and marketing.
What are you doing now?
I am currently working as a Paralegal on a Public Inquiry. I do that part time and spend the rest of the week split between working as a Legal Assistant for an Adult Social Care Company and a Commercial Legal Intern with Gainsborough Law Chambers. I am also a Founding Committee Member of Bridging the Bar, and I volunteer for the charity as head of the Marketing Sub-Committee.
Did you pursue any other form of formal education before choosing law? If so, what made you choose law?
I studied History and Politics. Becoming a Barrister was a given for me, but I wanted to pursue this undergraduate study before I studied Law. This was because after learning about the Native American Genocide and the rich Black Civil Rights Arts and Literary Culture in North America for the first time as a Sixth Form student, I didn’t think I understood enough about how the world worked. This degree helped me to understand systems and sites of power, and how people have leveraged resources and influence over the course of history and in current times. I thought it fundamental that I understand the history and politics of our world, so that as a barrister I can better represent a diverse range of clients coming at life from lots of different angles.
Where did you start your journey in law?
I started as an undergraduate History and Politics student, when I joined the Warwick Law Society Executive Committee as First Year Representative. From there I became Non-Law Officer, and after graduation started the GDL at City University.
What inspired your interest in law?
Studying both History and Politics helped me to understand the massive weight that marginalised people are carrying and the privilege that others are carrying without even knowing it. Centuries ago, decisions were made and actions were taken that affect every facet of our lived experiences today. Similarly, recent decisions and current social trends and discourses also affect our lives. Because of this I wanted to work in either Law or Politics, but I chose Law because it was the only career that allowed me to speak directly to judges. The Judiciary is highly influential and can determine the shape of our lived experiences too. Being able to advocate on the behalf of people directly to decision makers that can impact their lives is what inspired my interest in becoming a Barrister.
What area of the law are you passionate about / specialised in? What made you choose this area?
My passion and specialism at the moment is Business Immigration, particularly the post-Brexit visa application system. This is because it has created greater recruitment opportunities for Adult Social Care companies, who were worried about how Brexit would affect their ability to recruit outside of the UK. It was already an underfunded area of public health with a recruitment shortage exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
When the Government first announced the new immigration points system, I had the opportunity to write on behalf of the Company I work for to our local MP to advocate for social care workers to be included in the system as ‘skilled workers’. Since then I have worked on the sponsorship licence applications and completed further work reviewing commercial agreements with international recruitment agencies. Work around Business Immigration is a busy area for Adult Social Care companies and I am interested in getting more experience in this area during pupillage and beyond as we settle into a post-Brexit/Covid-19 world.
How are you finding / did you find your legal education? If you faced any barriers to accessing legal education what were they and how did you overcome them?
My legal education has been insightful, stressful but above all just one small part of my overall legal journey. It reminds me of the saying that you don’t really learn to drive until after you get your licence and you start driving. I think that most of the major things that have affected my legal journey have happened outside of Law School. That being said, Law School did offer me the opportunity to really start thinking about my productivity and how I manage procrastination, stress, burnout and anxiety. I think I’m really good at handling those things now and I am able to manage my workload much better. I am able to produce a scary amount of work and still function enough to run a business on the side, so that’s definitely something that Law School taught me. The pressure definitely turned me to a diamond in that respect!
How has your legal education benefited you? (to your personal development/career etc)
As I said, it has helped me to drill down on my productivity and habits. I am not perfect and procrastination is a recurring beast to conquer, but I now know what my absolute limits are and what I need to perform best. I don’t think I would have gotten that had I not done two back to back years of intense post-graduate legal study.
Any advice for people who are considering studying law / become a lawyer?
Have a plan and constantly go back to it. The Law isn’t going anywhere but you will change along the journey. Work hard to network and get as much of an idea of what is possible in and around a legal career as you can. The more references you have, the more empowered you are to be more strategic with your career choices and above all more competitive. We are all able to be amazing lawyers with successful careers, but we have to be honest about what we want and what our strengths/weaknesses are. Invest in yourself in the areas that need development: read books, take courses, network and get mentors. This journey is about constant growth and development, what you do now sets you up for months and years from now. Always have a plan and a strategy.
For more inspirational stories of some fascinating legal persons, make sure to check out our blog for more entries.