Alexandra Wilson is a young mixed-race woman from Essex, and In Black and White
is her narrative of becoming a barrister in which she demonstrates the broken
elements of the legal system through her own experiences.
The book describes Wilson’s long, yet certainly fulfilling road to pupillage, and it
highlights the more positive experiences of her law career, as well as perpetuating
the need for more diversity and representation at the bar.
The powerful message reigning constant throughout the book is about the
importance of diversity in the legal profession and the impact that it can have on the
criminal justice system. Throughout the book, Wilson touches on issues which are
longstanding in the legal profession, for example the idea of a ‘stereotypical’
barrister, and how this affects a client’s perception of a ‘non-typical’ barrister, but she
also mentions the contemporary flaws of the justice system, talking about issues
such as how technology has changed the nature of evidence, and the impact this will
have in the forthcoming years.
Wilson describes the barriers she personally faced, relating to her age, gender and
race, and the deep-rooted issues of the legal system itself such as the lack of
education surrounding court procedures, and the “institutionally racist” nature of the
metropolitan police, all the while maintaining an engaging, funny and informative
This very readable description of how the system works, right through from the GDL
to being in court, is a perfect introduction, and an essential read for anyone who is
considering pursuing a career in law or is generally interested in gender and diversity
issues in the legal sector.
Wilson’s account is both inspirational and thought-provoking and I cannot
recommend it enough.
Second-year, Classics (BA)
Interested? KWIL is hosting a Book Club on the 22nd of March, where we will be having friendly and relaxed conversations about In Black and White! We'd love to see you at our event, so do come along!