Join | Donate | Volunteer:


Become part of a 5,000+ community which believes that speaking and listening skills are central to personal fulfilment and cultural understanding

Become a member


One-off or regular donations are vital to our work, helping us ensure that young people everywhere have the oracy skills they need to thrive

Support our work


We’re hugely grateful to those who volunteer their time in helping to organise and run ESU programmes and competitions. Find out how you could help


‘We rely on the generous support of our members, donors and volunteers to ensure we can reach those children who need our help most’

Home > News and views > Tina Cook KC

Tina Cook KC

Tina is a barrister, specialising in family law. She often acts in complex, multi-party and high-conflict private law disputes and has handled cases involving abuse, contested adoption and radicalisation, to name but a few. Married with three children, she lives between London and the Devon/Somerset borders. Here she tells us a little more about herself. When did you become a member of the ESU and why?Around 1983 – I applied for an ESU American school scholarship [now called the Secondary School Exchange]. I spent a very happy and busy six months at Cranbrook School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.Tell us more.It was a wonderful place to be, snowy until spring break and then beautiful sunshine for the next six months. It was a liberal arts school full of opportunity and new experiences. The highlight was that it gave me a whole new perspective, borne out of the completely different culture that is the US of A. Work hard and play hard. Be proud of all you achieve and be happy to shout about your achievements. American ice-cream was a revelation as well. The family I lived with were fantastic: generous, kind and fun.How did your year in the US change you?I think it changed the whole of my life. My university and course was already fixed before I went to the US, but it gave me a clear sense of ambition and the certainty that I could do whatever I wanted to do. Had you ever taken part in any of our public speaking or debate competitions while at school?Neither, but I use these skills every day in court. Some of the confidence I gained in the States is bound to come in to that, too. Whom do you admire and why?My husband for managing to live with me for the last 25 years.What’s your guiltiest pleasure?White wine and parties! Any kind of party really. Tell us something surprising about you.I do not eat puddings. What do you consider your greatest achievement?Getting this far! What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?Don’t have any regrets.

Share Page