Alex Hawley is determined to achieve a world first. A 29 year old from Nottingham with cerebral palsy, Alex requires 24-hour around the clock care, seven days a week with three home carers, but he absolutely refuses to let his disability define him and is determined to pursue a career in law – at the very least as a barrister, but ultimately, as a judge.
This ambition isn’t just a goal for Alex, it’s very quickly becoming a reality – with a degree already in criminology, Alex is now in his fifth year of a six year Bachelor of Laws at The Open University (OU). Unable to write and also dyslexic, it is thanks to Alex’s sheer determination and the flexible support of the OU system, that he is able to not only thrive and succeed in his study, but also take on regular voluntary and work experience.
“The OU’s flexibility has provided me with the opportunity to do other things while studying in order to gain even more hands-on experience within the legal system. For example, I work with witnesses and tell them how the court process works and I also provide Victim Support – it can be a hard job emotionally but I am glad to be able to make a difference while also gaining practical experience in these areas.”
Perseverance and patience
Alex demonstrates inspiring perseverance and patience – because he can’t write, every word he wants to use for an exam paper or an essay has to be communicated to his carer who will type it for Alex – a painstakingly slow process.
Currently volunteering at an alcohol and rehab centre, helping teenagers who have previously been homeless, as well as at Victim Support, Alex is proud to be offering a helping hand, advice, support and compassion to those in need.
Alex’s degree, in conjunction with his carefully planned work experience, is laying the foundations for an inspiring career in law with Alex continually reminding himself that there are others who are struggling even more than him, and not to ever give up. “In this generation of people with disabilities and all the help out there, there are more and more people like me” he says.
Having been shifted from his home-town to Coventry at just 16 so he could attend a special school to complete his A-Levels, Alex says he became very disciplined, resilient and ambitious from a young age.
“If I have what it takes – anybody can do it. I haven’t had an extension at university in five years – I start my courses six to eight weeks early so I don’t get behind and I’m determined to be a barrister and then a judge – I would love to be a judge.”