The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 25 different industries and professions.
Over the year’s, the awards have recognised over 700 women across the UK and India.
In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.
Christina is a family law, human rights and animal protection barrister at Goldsmith Chambers. Originally qualifying as a solicitor-advocate, she cross-qualified as she believed her skills could be better utilised at the bar.
Having contributed to campaigns and conferences she raises awareness of social mobility and access to justice for those of marginalised and disenfranchised communities, in particular those of the LGBT and Spanish-speaking communities in London.
Christina often represents individuals who form part of alternative family structures, promoting their rights and those of their children as well as better visibility of the community before the family courts.
After a sabbatical at the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, where Christina contributed to the draft guidance on policies involving children and also formed part of a team of prosecutors bringing cases against individuals involved in the recruitment of child soldiers and girls involved in sexual slavery; Christina was appointed associate counsel in January 2018 with a particular interest in representing the victims of gender-based violence.
Aside from her work in family justice, Christina also works on matters concerning animal protection and domestic abuse and the impact of family law proceedings on the lives of companion animals. Having collaborated with both animal and domestic abuse charities in the UK and internationally, she has advised on the safeguarding and wellbeing of animals in situations of domestic abuse or in circumstances of relationship breakdown, highlighting the role companion animals play in the lives of children who have been subject to family law proceedings.
Christina has been published in leading legal journals on legislation impacting animals, including matters of dog ownership and the need for greater funding for those fleeing domestic abuse with their companion animals.
Christina has been a keynote speaker at international events discussing matters of domestic abuse. During 2020, Christina was invited by US-based charity, Positive Links to speak on two occasions firstly, in May 2020 on the impact of COVID on domestic abuse in the UK and in September 2020 on the protection of companion animals in situations of domestic abuse.
Christina was also a keynote speaker at Recognise & Respond: Strengthening advocacy for LGBT+ survivors of domestic abuse which was hosted by LGBT charity, GALOP in May 2019. She provided an update in relation to the proposals made by the domestic abuse legislation and how this is likely to affect both service providers and those of the LGBT+ community. Christina was amongst members of Parliament and academics talking on the subject of intimate partner violence and domestic abuse.
In 2021, Christina was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a genetic birth defect causing which causes sight loss. As someone who is partially sighted, Christina feels honoured to form part of an incredible community of practicing barristers who represent those with seen and unseen disabilities championing for greater visibility and diversity at the bar.
Immensely proud and overwhelmed at being a winner amongst so many amazing people. It was so lovely to get such positive feedback about my work and contributions. It really made all the hard work worthwhile.
I was appointed Social Mobility Advocate for 2022 by the supporting body for barristers practicing in England and Wales, the Bar Council. In November 2021, I was interviewed for UK Disability History Month discussing this year’s theme of non-visible disabilities such as my sight loss and was also invited to advise the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority during the 16 Days of Activism in December 2021 on issues of diversity and inclusivity for those with disabilities working in the legal sector. Whilst in November 2021, I was shortlisted for two awards with the UK Diversity Legal Awards: Diversity Champion and their Disability Inclusion award. I was also finalist for Barrister of the Year 2021 in the Next 100 Years, Inspirational Women in Law and Junior Pro Bono Barrister of the Year in the Advocate Pro Bono Awards 2021.
One of my proudest moments of 2021 was being featured as a leading barrister with a disability in the Disability History Month Exhibition 2021 at Middle Temple for UK Disability History Month.
I have also been published various times in leading legal publications since winning the Lynne Freeman (Law) Award writing and investigating issues concerning access to justice for those with disabilities.
Provide clear examples of your achievements, aspirations and don’t be shy! The more you tell the judges about your journey and your work, the more they’ll have to go by. The competition is tough so the more information you provide the better your chances are that the judges will really get to know you.
The Rising Star awards are a celebration of all the amazing people shortlisted and the final winners. It’s a great way to network as well as highlight your own work and contributions.
Look into mentoring schemes in your field. Speaking to those who have paved the way is part education and part appreciation. Spending time with female barristers and barristers with disabilities who have built the foundation for barristers of my generation is humbling and inspiring. The things we may take for granted now may not have come so easily for them. Equally, if you think that you’ve got advice and skills that you might want to share with someone junior or who’s just starting out then think about volunteering time as a mentor.
Always invest time in learning and building your skill set – that will never be wasted time. Spending time on reading, learning or building your knowledge and talent is a form of self-care and enhancing your career means developing your skills. The same applies regardless of your field whether your self-employed or salaried.