March 2018 Member of the Month: Mr Ryan Hocking (2013)

"I was delighted to find myself at Wolfson, with such a cosmopolitan, egalitarian, and welcoming atmosphere"

Ryan Hocking

How did you come to study at Wolfson College?

I wanted to pursue a postgraduate course to boost my curriculum vitae. I just about managed to scrape together the funding and put in a very speculative application. I was delighted to find myself at Wolfson, with such a cosmopolitan, egalitarian, and welcoming atmosphere.

What is your current occupation and how did you get into this role?

I'm a self-employed barrister at a set of chambers in London. My undergraduate degree was in English Language & Literature, so I took the one-year conversion course (the GDL) and spent a further year at Bar School (the BPTC) before coming to Wolfson to read for the LLM. Whilst at Wolfson, I made a dizzying number of applications for pupillage and was lucky enough to receive an offer from my current set of chambers.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

The variety. I'm lucky enough to be able to combine thinking, public speaking, and chatting to people in my work. It also involves a satisfying combination of fusty intellectualizing and pragmatism. Added to that, the travel and varied case load mean that no two days are the same.

How have your studies at Wolfson helped you in your career?

I am in no doubt that the opportunities I was given whilst at Wolfson, as well as the course of study itself, were instrumental in helping me secure pupillage interviews. In part, that is because they look good on paper; in part, they genuinely made me a better Barrister. I also feel much more comfortable with the areas of law I studied on the LLM than I otherwise would.

What is your fondest memory of your time at Wolfson?

Spending time with a group of brilliant people I'm still in touch with now usually over a (very unhealthy) fried breakfast or in the bar.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

It's impossible to learn something new without encountering failure along the way. 

Which person (living or historical) do you most admire and why?

Umberto Eco. He was a prodigious intellect, a polymath, and a witty and compelling novelist and essayist. If I was as good at one thing as Eco was at a dozen different things, I'd be happy.

Which book has had the greatest impact on you?

Reading Carpet People by Terry Pratchett. My first brush with satire was at primary school and in hindsight probably had a formative effect on my sense of humour. I then spent my teenage years encountering cultural touchstones back to front by reading parodies of them in Discworld books.