Gareth Rhys

Before coming to the bar, I had assumed that the profession would be unwelcoming and unattainable. I thought it would be unwelcoming because I am queer, and I thought it would be unattainable because I am neurodivergent. Thankfully, for the most part, I was wrong on both counts.

My route to the bar was via the government legal trainee scheme, which funded my professional training. My first six was in public law at 1 Crown Office Row and my second six was in revenue law at HM Revenue and Customs. Outside my professional practice, I supervise students in the Legal Advice Centre at Queen Mary University of London on the Pink Law Project, which provides pro bono advice tailored to the specific needs of LGBTQIA+ people.

I feel lucky that all my supervisors in chambers and in government made me feel able to be myself. As a result, I was always open about my gender expression, sexuality and partner. This is also true in my current role as a Judicial Assistant in the Court of Appeal.

My path to the bar has been made easier by a number of LGBTQIA+ mentors and role models. Mentoring is an essential part of this profession. I hope that aspiring lawyers who are within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum feel able to approach me for mentoring.