Raising the Bar as a Family Law Barrister

Kevin Gordon (LLB Law, 2011) shares his unconventional route to the Bar, the example he wants to set and why he mentors with Birkbeck.

Kevin Gordon’s journey to the Bar is by no means a typical one. When he first attended university in the West Indies, it was never his intention to become a lawyer, instead opting to study Economics and Political Science. He began his career as a Probation and Aftercare Officer in Jamaica, which introduced him to the concepts of Family Law, working with people and transforming lives. Alongside his full-time career, Kevin also amassed six years of experience performing with a dance company as a contemporary ballet dancer.

In 2005 Kevin moved to Britain to become a social worker. In this role he was heavily involved in frontline child protection, which meant regular court appearances and report writing. It was this, in tandem with speaking to a friend who was studying at Birkbeck, that sparked his ‘light bulb moment’.  He decided to apply to do Law at the College, because it meant he could continue working during the day. The impact of studying at Birkbeck has been hugely significant for Kevin. He says: “If it wasn’t for Birkbeck, I wouldn’t have taken that next step and I wouldn’t be a barrister right now.”

After graduating in 2011, Kevin became a member of Gray’s Inn and was called to the Bar in 2013. Kevin successfully secured and commenced pupillage at one of London’s leading family law sets in 2015 and is now a Family Law Barrister at 5 Pump Court Chambers. Having spent most of his life in frontline social work, Kevin is well placed to think differently when it comes to cases of emotional neglect and parental harm. He has also been able to utilise his dancing experience in London as the lead choreographer and dancer during the annual Miscellany Production at Gray’s Inn, and adds that his ‘stage presence’ has been helpful on many occasions in court.

As a black, gay man who was born outside of the UK, Kevin is particularly driven to succeed and to demonstrate that it is possible for anyone to reach the top of the legal profession. Kevin is pleased that he can be a role model to others coming through the ranks. He says: “If I can make someone dare to dream the impossible, then I want to do that. I want people to aspire to reach the highest level.”

“If I can make someone dare to dream the impossible, then I want to do that. I want people to aspire to reach the highest level.”

This mantra is also Kevin’s primary motivation for taking part in Birkbeck’s Mentoring Pathways programme over the last three years. He has mentored several non-traditional Law students, helping them get ahead with their careers in the legal sector. “Mentoring connects with my inner self that wishes to empower and be a role model. I see myself as a product of good mentoring and it is so important to have someone of whom you can ask questions and not be judged. Mentoring is my way of giving back and it fills me with pride to see what my mentees are getting up to.”

Having achieved so much thus far, Kevin remains full of ambition. “People see me now as a force to be reckoned with and appreciate the skills and talent I bring to the Bar.” Looking to the future, he may either become a Queen’s Counsel or join the judiciary. Kevin is proud to now be able to choose between these prestigious pathways, and Birkbeck looks forward to seeing his career continue to flourish in whichever route he follows.