Leading UK media lawyer and aspirational speaker Louis Charalambous tells Louth Academy Year 10 students “the world is your oyster," go out and grab it with both hands.
A presentation to Louth Academy students by one of the UK’s most formidable media lawyers showed them that everyone can aspire to achieve.
Louis Charalambous visited the Academy in his role as an ambassador for Speakers For Schools, as part of the Academy’s drive to encourage aspiration in all students. He regards building confidence in young people as crucial to their development.
Year 10 students met the leading media lawyer whose prestigious clients include celebrities, newspapers, TV channels and journalists. His caseload includes acting in many high-profile disputes, including a recent case involving actor Johnny Depp. His successful defence of The Sun newspaper in libel charges brought by the Hollywood actor last year was hailed by many as ‘the trial of the century.’
Louis is an expert in cases involving criminal allegations and political disputes. His role in the Christopher Jefferies case, in which he acted for Mr Jefferies when he sued for libel, was dramatised in the award-winning ‘Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies’. He featured in ‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’ on Netflix together with his client, Robert Murat. In recent years he was on the winning side in a libel trial about a London gangster and against a leading politician in an infamous incident with the police.
He now acts mostly for Defendant clients, including The Sun newspaper, although he also acts for whistleblowers which, he says, brings very different challenges. He has been a lawyer for over 30 years and prior to qualifying he obtained two degrees in Politics.
Following a tour of the Academy, Louis told 150 Year 10 students that as a child of working class, immigrant parents who grew up in the London Borough of Hackney he had to fight for what he wanted in life.
As the first in his family to go to university, his parents tried to discourage him from making the 200-mile journey north to Bradford to follow his desire to study for a Politics degree.
“I told them that it was what I wanted and that this was the course I wanted to pursue. I knew than that I had aspirations and I wanted to follow them,” he said. “I think I had more ambition at that time than my siblings and distance was not going to deter me.”
Louis studied for a Master’s Degree in Political Sociology at Leeds after completing his degree at Bradford, and later did a conversion course that enabled him to study to become a lawyer. He spent 18 years in Yorkshire.
“Your teenage years and your 20s are some of the most important in shaping your life, so make the most of them and challenge yourself to follow your ambitions,” he told students.
“We all have unique paths. I did not set out to become a lawyer but I was lucky because, like you, I went to a school that told me ‘the world is your oyster so make of it what you can’.”
Year 10 student Teigan Rickett (14) said Louis’ visit was definitely inspirational. “I am so interested in criminal cases and having someone like Louis visit us and give us the opportunity to ask him questions about his career and his cases was really inspiring.”
Louth Academy Assistant Principal Simon Grimshaw said the visit had fired up the students. “Louis is a perfect example of aspiration and wanting more out of life. His presentation showed students that there is a really big world out there ready for them to make their mark on and everyone can achieve if they put their minds to it.”
Louth Academy Year 10 students meet inspirational UK media lawyer Louis Charalambous (centre) on his visit to the Academy. He is pictured with (l-r) Amy Broxholme (15), Teigan Rickett (14), William Shearer (15) and Lawrence Fisher (Curriculum Leader for History).
Louth Academy Year 10 student Lucy McEwan shows off her work producing a job application in French to visiting aspirational speaker and top media lawyer Louis Charalambous.
Louth Academy Year 10 Music students meet top media lawyer Louis Charalambous in his role as an ambassador for aspiration in young people.