In an exclusive interview with Barry John Harwood, granted Bayo Speaks as a face of the week. He revealed is background, career, achievement and way of life.
May we get to meet you; who really is Barry John Harwood?
Barry Harwood is a lawyer, an uncle and a son. He is very passionate about anything that has to do with equality, diversity and helping other people who are trying to make this world a better place.
Can you please tell us about your background?
My background is working class I came from a working class parents, who worked hard all their lives to try and give me and my siblings a better life.
I was the first person in my family to go to the university therefore the first generation to go to the university. And I qualified with an undergraduate degree and a postgraduate degree and then on became a barrister after fifteen years of being a police officer.
Briefly tell us about your educational background?
My educational background is that of a comprehensive school with a couple of years in my early days in the overseas at a school in New Zealand when my family migrated, but we returned to the United Kingdom very soon after we migrated. Then I went to a comprehensive school and from there I enrolled into the university course when I was in my 20s where I started working as a police officer.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Lawyer, Consultant & Director and the founder of Harwood Law International Limited.
When did you know you wanted this job?
After serving for fifteen years as a police officer and suffering a lot of inward and backward thinking around equality and diversity, Idecided it was good to make a great change and I shocked myself inthinking I could probably become a barrister. Through hard workand determination I did become a barrister. I always knew I wanted to see fairness, equality and justices for all and one of the ways to ensure that is to join law rather than to talk about it.
What career mistake has given you the biggest lesson?
In terms of any career mistake – I think the only mistake I have made would be working around as an employee barrister rather than working for myself as a self-employed barrister. As I was growing older I realized I needed more space to express and establish skills.
What dream did you have while growing up?
The initial dream job i had was to become a police officer and i thoroughly enjoyed that for the fifteen years that i severed the public. it was very rewarding and a fulfilling job.
What was your first win that made you confident that you were doing the right thing?
One of my first wins was doing legal work for free and I was doing this on my bar course when I was training in 1998 to 1999. I was representing employees who had no money to pay their legal fees and I would take on their cases and then win.
One of the cases I won was a constructive dismissal claim involvinga lady who have been abused at work and one of the most rewarding things was to see her win that case. And helping her along with the emotional support as well as using my legal skills.
Who is your mentor and why?
My mentor is my pupil supervisor. They helped me to take charge in the day to day activities of a barrister within the first twelve months of my professional career as a beginner. So I served as an apprentice to them by gaining exposure and learning all their cases dealings.
Can you please walk us through your Harwood Law international?
Harwood Law International deals with all source of employmentlaw disputes, whether representing an employer or employee and also mediating disputes.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I like exercising, traveling, watching movies and enjoying good food.
If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question, what question would you ask?
It would be why are people so selfish and willing to do bad things to somebody just to simply get on themselves. And It will be interesting to see how they will answer that question.
Can you please tell us about the people you admire?
The people I admire are surprisingly in the legal profession and outside the legal profession.
• Lady Justice Hale. She was the President of the Supreme Court and her ground in terms of equality, gender was solid.
• Nelson Mandela. He’s a great man and I do admire all the things he did for freedom.
• Dame Ruth Hunt, Who was the Chief Executive of Stone Wall. She was an amazing lady in equality, diversity and discrimination issues.
Are you in a relationship; if yes what advice would you give to young couple out there?
Yes, I am in a relationship and I pleased with it. The only advise I would give to young couples out there is to be yourself and be honest with each other and always communicate with each other when it matters a lot.
What are some of your achievements?
Some of my main achievements are to be listed in the Legal 500 for my employment law and discrimination work for years in a roleconsecutively. But to also be awarded national teaching awards from my students at Manchester Metropolitan University. And then, my absolute best achievement in my view is winning a National Stone Wall Champion Award as north west senior champion of the year for the work I was doing at Metropolitan University on the board of governors as the quality and diversity champion helping people both staff and students navigate their way through discrimination.
How do you manage your relationship and profession?
I manage my relationship and my profession very easily. As I am able to separate both profession and relationship by living in a different place to where my profession is. But even if I am working from home, my partner understands when I need to be on my own to considerate with pieces of work. It is about having the respect for both and getting the balance right.
Are you ever depressed and why?
I am never depressed but I am frustrated and disappointed quite often at the way and which some people want people that are happy to be unhappy. There seems to be so many people with negative energy and I do understand that depression is out there, and the only way I can help them out is by becoming their friend or solving their issues.
Where do you hope to be in the next four years?
In the next four years I hope to see UK Residency and Harwood Law International to gain more exposure and capacity in the areas of employment and become successful in all our dealings. And I also hope to be contented with all my achievements.
To know more about Barry John Harwood, kindly follow him on LinkedIn @Barry John Harwood.