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BOOK REVIEW: In Black and White, Alexandra Wilson

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

story line.

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.

Hannah Gold

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!


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