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LAMB LIMELIGHT: Chelsea Sparks

This week's spotlighted barrister is Chelsea Sparks.

Tell us a little about yourself and your practice.

“I am a qualified New York attorney and a barrister of England and Wales. Over the years, I have been exposed to a variety of different areas of law, but my practice is now predominantly focused on property and commercial law. I also undertake media law cases concerning defamation, data protection and/or harassment.

In a former life I worked as a clerk, paralegal and at one point I was also responsible for the management of my own attorney practice; as such, I prioritise client engagement and communication. I’m aware of how stressful the legal experience can be for clients, many of whom have never been to court before, and I try to make the experience as pleasant as possible. I pride myself on being approachable, but also able to manage clients expectations and ensure they have a thorough understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their case.”

What is your first memory of wanting to be a barrister?

“I’ve always had a strong sense of right and wrong and enjoyed an interesting debate. When I was 8, my uncle, who was a police officer at the time, asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up and said I would make a good barrister because I always had an answer for everything. After he told me what a barrister did, I thought it sounded like a brilliant job. The more I learned about the role, the traditions and the training, the more I knew it would be a career that would challenge and interest me long term. I’m yet to be disappointed!”

Is there a certain case that stands out to you in your career? If yes, why?

“In 2021 I was fortunate enough to be part of the legal team involved in a reported defamation case with a bizarre set of facts. The claim concerned libel, harassment, infringement of a reasonable expectation of privacy and breach of data protection, stemming from the publication of an email and multiple YouTube and Brighteon videos.

The case stands out to me, not only for the unusual facts, but because it was the first time I was in a court room in the Royal Courts of Justice. I was in the presence of some phenomenal advocates and an impressive judge and this was a real ‘pinch me’ moment at the outset of my barrister career.”

What’s your favourite thing about being a barrister?

“No two days are the same. I cannot imagine ever becoming bored with my job. I am in a different location, undertaking a different task and meeting different people on a day to day basis. I always feel challenged and I’m continually learning.”

What do you do to relax?

“It’s not often that I have time to relax, but my spare time over the last year or so has been spent developing my DIY skills after I convinced myself I was able to do most of the work on my house which was a bit of a ‘fixer upper’. Needless to say I was a bit of an optimist with my level of skills; however, I am pleased to report I still have all my fingers and toes!

If I am not building or demolishing something I can usually be found reading a good book or booking my next trip to the theatre.”

If you weren’t a barrister, what would you be?

“Once upon a time I wanted to be an actress. I had performing arts training when I was much younger and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to perform to any size of audience, from a theatre full of strangers to the family dog. I’ve never lost my love of the theatre and I certainly believe my performing arts training has helped with my advocacy skills and my confidence in the court room; after all, both involve a performance of some kind!”

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