A Comprehensive Cerebral Palsy Resource

Cerebral palsy won’t stop me becoming a lawyer

Story written by: Demetrius Mason

Daniel Holt

In late March, Daniel Holt was waiting to find out the results of an exam that would determine his future. As Daniel went up to the Pearson Professional Centre in Manchester, England he realized there was a slight problem. The building wasn’t wheelchair accessible.

Daniel has cerebral palsy and rides around on a motorized wheelchair, so this is something that he’s dealt his entire life. This time a journalist named Rachael Thorn was recording his story. Thorn opened the door so Daniel could get the biggest test results of his life, the results to his bar exam.

Ever since Daniel was growing up in Manchester, England he dreamed of becoming a lawyer.  With determination and a strong ethic, Daniel graduated from the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). The QMUL law school is not only considered one of the best in England, but in the world.

In the judiciary system of England, lawyers have two defining titles. They are ether solicitors or barristers—the latter being the most prestigious of the two. Barristers can appear in the high and low courts whereas solicitors are only allowed to be advocates in lower courts. At robed hearings, barristers even dress differently wearing horsehair wigs and open black gowns.

Daniel has always striven to be the best and becoming a barrister is no different. Along the way Daniel has been told that he couldn’t make it, that his speech impediment would be too much to overcome. The argument was that clients would be at a disadvantage because judges and jurors wouldn’t be able to understand him. He has been passed over by some employers because of those concerns.

“The barrister profession represents everyone in society,” Daniel says in a BBC video, “The only way we can do that is if we remove all the barriers.”

Daniel left the Pearson Professional Centre with papers flying around and an ear to ear grin. He passed the bar exam and is now a certified barrister. As Daniel looked over it again he thought that he could have done better but he passed nonetheless. There are still some obstacles to overcome, but Daniel won’t be afraid or back down. He has been a warrior each step of the way and will accomplish his dream no matter what.

“It’s the only career I have ever wanted,” Holt said with a determined look on his face, “I won’t be denied because I’m a disabled person.”