A truly thought provoking memoir by a young barrister who has overcome sexist and racist obstacles aplenty to become a clarion voice for change.
Inspired to enter the legal profession following the tragic death of a dear friend, Wilson exposes a broken and unfair legal system in this eye-opening, mindset-changing memoir.
She shows that it is possible to be a mixed race young woman and succeed in the rarefied world of the legal and judicial system, designed for a different time and maintained by a privileged few, with its arcane and archaic rites and traditions. Not easily, it must be said, but possible.
Through her direct and personal account of the bigotry she has witnessed and faced, she also illustrates and confronts the inequality of our legal system, stating clearly that not all black young men who appear in court are gang members and not all young black women who attend court are defendants or relatives of defendants.
It sounds appalling when stated so boldly, but having been mistaken for such when in court herself as counsel – on numerous occasions on the same day - Wilson knows only too well of what she speaks and she does so with such clarity it is hard not to feel utter shame for what is still an all too enduring national stereotype.
Equally riveting and inspirational, Wilson’s book clearly outlines the changes that the system needs and shows that she has the intelligence and commitment to make it happen.
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Alexandra Wilson was a teenager when her dear family friend Ayo was stabbed on his way home from football. Ayo's death changed Alexandra. She felt compelled to enter the legal profession in search of answers.
As a junior criminal and family law barrister, Alexandra finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. A world in which fellow barristers sigh with relief when a racist judge retires: 'I've got a black kid today and he would have had no hope'.
In her debut book, In Black and White, Alexandra re-creates the tense courtroom scenes, the heart-breaking meetings with teenage clients, and the moments of frustration and triumph that make up a young barrister's life.
Alexandra shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin, or someone you suspect is guilty. We see what it is like for children coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers.
Alexandra's account of what she has witnessed as a young mixed-race barrister is in equal parts shocking, compelling, confounding and powerful.
|Publication date:||29th April 2021|
|Publisher:||Endeavour an imprint of Octopus Publishing Group|
|Collections:||8 Memoirs and Biographies with a Crime Theme,|
|Primary Genre||Biographies & Autobiographies|
'A compelling and courageous memoir forcing the legal profession to confront uncomfortable truths about race and class. Alexandra Wilson is a bold and vital voice. This is a book that urgently needs to be read by everyone inside, and outside, the justice system.' THE SECRET BARRISTER
'A riveting book in the best tradition of courtroom dramas but from the fresh perspective of a young female mixed-race barrister. That Alexandra is often mistaken for the defendant shows how important her presence at the bar really is.' MATT RUDD, THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE
'An inspirational, clear-eyed account of life as a junior barrister is made all the more exceptional by the determination, passion, humanity and drive of the author. Anyone interested in seeing how the law really works should read it.' SARAH LANGFORD
'This is the story of a young woman who overcame all the obstacles a very old profession could throw at her, and she survived, with her integrity intact.' BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH
'Wilson offers a role model for those who still think the law is for other people, and shows the way for English courts to become ever less Dickensian.' DAVID COWAN, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Alexandra Wilson is a junior barrister. She grew up in Essex and is the eldest of four children. Her mother is White British, her father is Black British and her paternal grandparents were born in Jamaica and came to England as part of the Windrush generation. Alexandra studied at the University of Oxford and was awarded two prestigious scholarships, enabling her to research the impact of police shootings in the US on young people's attitudes to the police. She went on to study for a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and her Master of Laws at BPP University in London. ...More About Alexandra Wilson