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A day in the life Of...
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A day in the life of ... Adiba Bassam

Date:25 MAY 2018
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Legal assistant

What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am a paralegal/legal assistant at 4 Paper Buildings. I work from 8:30-17:30, however there have been times when I have worked longer for a last minute case or a late conference and there have been days when I have completed all my tasks well in time. As I am the only paralegal at Chambers my workdays can be very versatile; I have attended direct access conferences, researched into Sharia law, drafted documents, produced slides for seminars – sometimes all in a day’s work!

How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?

I have completed a law degree and the BPTC and my aspiration is to practice family law as a barrister. When this role was advertised I thought what better opportunity to learn from some of the leaders in the field while keeping up to date with the law and getting paid for it! I have been in this role for 8 months.

Any memorable stories from your career so far?

Nothing too embarrassing yet...I’ve jinxed it now haven’t I?

What is the best and worst part of the day for you?

The best part of my working day is when I find that one case/legislation/article which has a specific section that addresses the question given to me so precisely that I know I have completed the task successfully. The worst part is getting in and out of the Central line during rush hour at Chancery Lane!

What keeps you motivated?

Seeing the incredible work that members of Chambers conducts keeps me motivated and makes me want to do the best I can to assist and learn. 
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Tea or coffee?

Coffee in the morning, although I am trying to replace it with a homemade smoothie.

What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?

I thoroughly enjoy my current role and I think it is perfect for someone who is aspiring to become a barrister or a solicitor, as it keeps you current with the law as well as future developments. It is emotionally challenging at times, especially when working on public children law matters, however it is equally rewarding. It is a very humane area of law with the perfect amount of challenge and excitement.

What song do you listen to the most?

Anyone who knows me would say I have terrible taste in music as I listen to anything on Hot 50 UK. However, a go to song I listen to which always makes me feel content is Shallows by Daughter.

Who inspires you within the world of family law?

I could list all the members of Chambers I have worked for. However, someone who inspired me into the world of family law would be Professor Lisa Webley. Lisa was my family law tutor at the University of Westminster and was the first person to really inspire me down this field, make me question deficiencies in family law, and has supported my career and ambitions by providing countless references.

How do you enjoy your time outside of work?

I love a good meal, which means that I either find new restaurants or cook at home. I also like to bake for my family and friends! To maintain some kind of balance I enjoy going to the gym.

What book would you recommend to others?

Most recently I have read The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken. It is a book that you can read easily without having any legal knowledge or affiliation with the legal field. I think it is a must-read for everyone to understand the state of our criminal justice system, as it has/will have one day an effect on all of us. It speaks volumes that a crowdfunding campaign was successfully completed to ensure all MPs receive a copy of the book.

What would be your alternate career?

Food critic (on MasterChef) or doctor.

If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?

There are many changes I would make at the moment, some of which are touched upon at the Supreme Court this month. One change I would definitely make is to the Child Maintenance Services, by reintroducing the assets provision which was previously present under its predecessor the Child Support Agency. This change would ensure that a non-resident parent does not evade their responsibilities to maintain their child by relying on minimal income while holding substantial assets.