AN internship in the USA has enabled a Stannington woman to achieve double delight.
The four-month stint in Oklahoma City, which included preparing defences for death row cases, gave Fiona Lamb an invaluable experience and it helped her successful barrister pupillage application at a prestigious chambers in London.
It also allowed her to complete all the criteria to gain a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and she recently received the accolade from Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward.
She developed her interest in civil liberties and human rights during her legal studies and in 2010 she attended a debate in London organised by Amicus – a charity which helps provide representation for those facing the death penalty in the United States and elsewhere.
After getting involved with the organisation, she did her internship last year. It involved visiting clients on a weekly basis, looking through medical records and examining what are classed as the ‘more definite and certain reasons’ why the state wants the particular defendants to be executed.
The 25-year-old said: “My role was to search for people who knew the defendant and would give evidence in mitigation which could help to reduce the sentence from the death penalty to life without parole.
“I didn’t find the people on death row intimidating, but it was sad to hear their back stories and why they had turned out the way they did.
“This internship was instrumental in getting me interviews for the pupillage and I also realised that I could use it for the residential category of the Duke of Edinburgh. This meant I had achieved the gold award because I had already done the other sections.
“Oklahoma was very different to what I’m used to, but I enjoyed the experience and made lasting friendships.”
Miss Lamb studied at the universities of Sheffield Hallam and Northumbria and currently works as an LPC Law County Court Advocate.
She will start her one-year pupillage, the final stage of training to become a barrister, at Farringdon Chambers in March.
“I’ve wanted to be a barrister since I knew what one was at a young age,” she said.
“I’m very much looking forward to it because I will have my own clients and briefs and I will get to do most of the work myself.”
She received her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and enjoyed having a conversation with Prince Edward, who spent a lot of time with each award winner and their parents.