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Social Anthropology

Andrew Powell

My background in anthropology has assisted me in understanding the wide-ranging views people have within different socio-cultural contexts.

I graduated from The University of Manchester with a degree in Social Anthropology in 2005. I then completed a postgraduate degree in Law and now work as a barrister in London, specialising in family law. Most of the work I do is publicly funded, and the clients I represent in court are often vulnerable and/or disenfranchised from society.

Anthropology had a massive role in getting me where I am today. In my pupillage interview (the name for the year spent as a trainee barrister) I debated with my interview panel a recently decided House of Lords case about biological and non-biological parenthood.

I remember arguing that in my view the court had placed too much emphasis on biological parenthood over non-biological parenthood in the context of a surrogacy arrangement that had broken down.

In terms of my day-to-day work, my background in anthropology has given me a different insight into western notions of kinship and the interplay with how this shapes family law and social policy.  I enjoy that I work in an area of law that is people orientated and I’ve no doubt that the skills acquired in my degree help to make me a better lawyer.