Surgeon swaps scalpel for barrister’s wig

A top vascular surgeon has swapped his scrubs for a gown and wig after completing his Bar Vocational Course (BVC), aged 69.

Anthony Douglas-Hamilton is preparing to be called to the bar after studying his Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and BVC at the College of Law in Guilford – more than 40 years after his last stint in education.

He said: “I was enjoying retirement but I wanted something that would challenge my mind; to see if I had any brain left.”

Douglas-Hamilton, who has also worked as a GP, claimed he was well equipped to handle the research and accuracy elements of the BVC but technological advances caused him problems to begin with.

“One thing I had never come to terms with was computers, as I’d always had a secretary type my letters. I had to start from the beginning and learn how to use things like legal search engines. It was quite a steep learning curve,” he said.

But much to his surprise his new classmates were only too happy to guide him through the process and put him at ease.

He said: “Looking at my class I could see that I was older than all their parents and in most cases, their grandparents. They soon got used to me and would invite me to go for a beer with them. In fact I’ve made some very good friends.”

And now, after starting the course as a bit of fun, Douglas-Hamilton wants to secure a pupillage and work as a barrister.

He said: “Now I’ve got this far I’d really like to secure a pupillage and practice for a few years in clinical negligence or personal injury because they’re areas that I’m really interested in and I understand the language.”