Adam Richardson smiling before a leafy tree with a dog with its mouth open and tongue out.


Adam Richardson is a General Common Law Barrister called in 2011. He is also an author of the textbook CyberCrime: Law and Procedure and works with several prominent pro bono organisations. Adam is a proud trustee of the charitable organisation Neurodiversity in Law, which raises awareness and provides support in a bid to reduce the stigma surrounding neurodiversity in the legal profession. In this blog marking Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024, Adam goes through a potential day in the life of a neurodivergent barrister and the benefits and pitfalls they may face to raise awareness that no mind should be left behind.

The legal profession is a tapestry woven with diverse threads (more so now), each contributing to the rich fabric of justice. Among these threads, neurodivergent barristers can stand out as both resilient and remarkable. In this blog, I will delve into the life of a neurodivergent barrister practising at the Bar, shedding light on some of their unique challenges, strengths, and contributions. Before we embark on our journey, let’s demystify the term 'neurodivergent'. It encompasses a spectrum of neurological differences, including conditions such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD, and more. Neurodivergent individuals process information differently, often possessing exceptional abilities in specific areas. I would urge all barristers to at least invest in a basic level of knowledge of neurodiversity and how it can manifest.

The morning ritual
Our neurodivergent barrister begins the day with a structured routine. Mornings are sacred — a time for focus and preparation.

A mindful start: a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing sets the tone. Our barrister acknowledges their unique wiring and embraces it. 

Legal briefs and breakfast: Over a cup of strong coffee, they dive into case files. Their mind thrives on detail, dissecting legal arguments like a surgeon with a scalpel.

Navigating the commute: The bustling streets of England can overwhelm anyone, but our barrister has honed coping mechanisms. Noise-cancelling headphones and a well-worn novel provide solace during the tube ride.

In court

The courtroom is their battleground. Here, neurodivergence becomes both a challenge and an asset.

Hyperfocus: During cross-examinations, our barrister’s laser-like focus dissects witness statements. They notice nuances others miss — the nervous twitch, the hesitation.

Scripted advocacy: Neurodivergent barristers excel in scripted advocacy. Their meticulous preparation ensures flawless delivery. But spontaneity? That’s the tightrope they walk.

Sensory overload: The fluorescent lights, the rustling of robes — it’s sensory overload. Yet, our barrister adapts. They’ve learned to channel anxiety into eloquence.

Lunchtime Musings

Social Dynamics: Over a sandwich in the barristers’ common room, neurodivergent barristers navigate social hierarchies. Some find solace in legal discussions; others retreat to quiet corners.

Hidden Strengths: Their ability to hyperfocus and spot inconsistencies serves them well. They’re the Sherlock Holmes of the courtroom.

Afternoon challenges

Imposter syndrome: Neurodivergent barristers battle imposter syndrome the same as everyone else but with a different emphasis. They question their worth, fearing exposure. But their track record speaks volumes.

Networking: The art of networking — essential yet daunting. Our barrister practises small talk, masking anxiety with a confident smile, never quite sure if they have said the wrong thing or been too direct.

Closing arguments

As the sun sets, our barrister reflects.

Advocacy beyond words: Neurodivergent barristers advocate not only for clients but also for acceptance. They challenge stereotypes, proving that brilliance wears many faces.

Resilience: Their journey is one of resilience — of overcoming barriers and thriving in a profession that demands conformity. The Bar is already awash with neurodivergence and you may simply have never known.


A neurodivergent barrister’s day is a symphony of strengths and vulnerabilities. They rewrite narratives, one case at a time. So, next time you’re in court, look beyond the robes—there’s a brilliant mind beneath, weaving justice with threads of courage and neurodivergence. Raising awareness that not everyone processes information in the same way is half the battle.

Find out more about Neurodiversity in Law and the work they do to empower, campaign and help shine a light on the untapped value, talent and potential that exists in the community, by heading over to their website