Barrister James Hatt Gives First Careers Talk of the Year

This year’s Careers Talks series kicked off on Thursday 30 September. It involved the first live, in person careers talk since March 2020 and also three pre-recorded talks - which were broadcast to Year 10, 11 and 12 students. The live presentation was a popular choice and was delivered in the MCT by James Hatt, a barrister specialising in commercial law at 4 Pump Court. 

Mr Hatt, an Alleyn’s parent, spoke about his journey to becoming a barrister. He emphasised that it is a very academic profession and noted that his, like many others, was not a direct route; studying PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) at university and changing career paths along the way. He spoke about colleagues who lived and worked abroad, those who came from the military and one who had been a doctor. They had all lived very different experiences before arriving at law. He told his audience that once you go to university and finish your degree, there are no real barriers to becoming a barrister. He helpfully shared some of the details about the current training routes to becoming a barrister and also to becoming a solicitor, acknowledging that training and qualification pathways do change over the years. He encouraged the Years 10 to 12s to think about the skills they already possess and ones they could develop in the future that may be suited to a career in law – of persuasion, understanding both sides of an argument and comfort with public speaking. There are plenty of opportunities now to practice, he said, such as joining the debating club at school or working on essay writing skills. These are fundamental capabilities that recruiters will be looking for.

Training to be a barrister can be widely accessible as there are many funding opportunities available (although the funding application process may feel complicated). But it would help to have free accommodation when starting out. “You will want to maintain a good relationship with your parents, as you might be living back at home!” he joked.

The presentation was followed by a Q&A. Mr Hatt answered a variety of questions from “Why did you change careers”, “Do you think there is a difference later if you choose not to study law at university” to “If you think that the judicial system is imperfect, do you think AI will take over in the future”?

Pre-recorded talks today were delivered by Martin Aveling, a professional artist and wildlife enthusiast from Martin Aveling Art; Sham Jabeen - a senior account manager in sales and business development from Total Computer Networks and co-founder of tech careers mentoring platform Tech UK; and Jenni Le Pard - a veterinarian at the charity PDSA, and an alumna of Alleyn's and all Alleyn's students can access them via the Careers section of the Hub. 

As the careers programme progresses through the year, the Careers team will be exploring how to make some talks (or extracts thereof) more publicly accessible for students beyond Alleyn's.