Laura Dubinsky KC – Doughty Street Chambers

Laura, one of five Doughty Street Chambers barristers appointed to silk in 2022, works in public law, with a particular focus on cases with a refugee, immigration, civil liberties or ECHR dimension. Laura has long been renowned for her insight into complex asylum and detention law.

After her studies (Oxford and Columbia Universities), she took an unusual and demanding career course, working as a senior trade union organiser/ official in the USA and Canada assisting immigrant workers (primarily of Latin-American heritage), often extremely deprived with immigration status difficulties, and living in fear of the authorities.  She says working outside the law before coming to the Bar can be very important.  Her trade union work contributed to advocacy and negotiating skills as well as personal resilience. It provided insights on immigration status, deprivation of liberty, vulnerability to exploitation and more. She says the experience was critical to her understanding of “how other lives are lived”.

Laura recommends to those contemplating applying for silk communicate with judges to gauge whether you are ready. They will have important insights even if you lost in front of them. Allow yourself plenty of time to complete your application form, and overcome the ingrained professional reticence to talk about yourself. Accept all the generous help/ advice offered by colleagues who have experience of the KC application and/or judicial application processes. Never hesitate to ask Kings Counsel Appointments (KCA)’s staff for advice and guidance. In Laura’s experience, that advice had been extremely helpful.

The Covid pandemic had impacted hardest on primary carers, who were disproportionately women.  Laura observed that, much like many others at the Bar, during lockdowns she had juggled her extremely busy practice with caring for her child and also her elderly and highly vulnerable parents.  There was a considerable way for the profession to go in accommodating the responsibilities of primary carers generally.   More broadly, there was a tendency still for women to be more cautious about seeking advancement. Laura hoped that able female senior juniors would apply for silk.  Laura, who has a moderate hearing impairment, also emphasised that people with disabilities should not be deterred.

  • Date: February 23, 2023
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