Photograph of Sufiah Abbasi



ID: Sufiah is smiling at the camera. She has short black hair and is wearing a white barrister's wig, a long black barrister gown and a silver necklace. Sufiah, from Liverpool, studied law at Manchester University and was called to the Bar 1996/7. She says, “I have a Level Arch folder of rejections when I applied for pupillage . I did not secure one. There was a small percentage of students of ethnic minorities accepted to the Bar. It was competitive and as a South Asian woman with a mental health condition, I was not a suitable candidate. I worked as a volunteer in LLAWRACC on Lark Lane and then found different positions within the L8 Law Centre, Lei Dat and Baig solicitors as an employed barrister, then the Immigration Advice Service on Tithebarn Street and Liverpool Citizens Advice Bureau. Those who come from the Indian subcontinent diaspora often suffer with inherited trauma compounded by racism here in the UK, overt or otherwise. My own mental health problems started to appear after the death of my father. I was 15 and my little brother was 6. I didn't use to tell employers about my mental health problems due to the stigma surrounding the issue in those days. I currently work at City of Liverpool College and my employer has made several reasonable adjustments to accommodate the symptoms of my health condition."