Friday, 28 November 2008


On a sad note I have recently been finding myself wondering if I have got what it takes to be a barrister. Just the thought of becoming a barrister at the moment is becoming increasingly stressful. What with an increasing amount of debt, lack of decent grades and a frivolous appreciation of money combined with the hyper competitive nature of the bar, the lack of pupillages available and in particular criminal work being scarce, I am seriously thinking of giving up on the barrister idea. I don't think I really have what it takes and perhaps a serious think now will later mean that I am not one of those deluded who never get a pupillage.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Pupillage Interviews - Advice #1

Some advice from a barrister lecturer.

- Do not say "urm" in an interview. They will be checking your fluidity of speech and perhaps even counting how many times you say "um", "ah" or "er" This apparently is just for first round interviews to weed out people...

Get your friend to ask you a general question or like poor old Anna on the barristers got asked "Sum up your life in two minutes, focusing on the high points?" (WTF) Have your reply and see how many times you say UM or Ah.

This could be complete trite, however barrister lecturer says I need to do it. Also look at poor Anna's performance, getting slapped in the face for putting on a slightly different voice, how fucking trivial, but if you put on a different voice and they reject you, there is a possibility of rejection for saying "Um"

Oh and Anna to give consent is normally measured by looking to see if they have Gillick competence ;) Children under 16 don't have gillick competence, 16 yr olds have quasi-competence but cannot refuse live saving treatment.. oh I've learnt something.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Barristers Episode Two

If Iqbal got a pupillage then there is chance for us all.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


Lost was drinking wine last night, and doesn't know how he got home.
If you know how he got home please tell him.



Thursday, 13 November 2008

I won!

Ok so not really a BIG achievement being that there were only 3 of us that attended the moot, and the fourth person never actually signed up and it was all a mistake that she was competing.

I am however releaved that my 20 hours of mooting preparation is over and that I can continue to the next round. I am slightly peeved though that some people can get away with doing a couple hours of work and wing it!!

The general feedback was that I should know the case at hand inside out, the problem being that when I was asked a question about the facts I did not have the problem question at my disposal because they moot master asked for a copy before I went into Moot! So slightly peeved about that, but hey what can I do. My ability to respond was quite good as was my style. Feedback also included that I should keep my hands still, not rest my chin on my hand or touch my face, however I was SO hot that I had to wipe my very sweaty forehead.

So all in all a good moot, much better than last year probably because the judge was very nice, didn't ask for a summary of the facts of the case, nor really had any problem with my submissions.

I've been parterned for the next round with the opponent who also got through, though we are all judged individually, so lets see hope it goes.. watch this space!!


P.s also not appreciating having been awake since 7am and now staying at Uni til 8:30 because I have to interview a client for LAC. *zombie*

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Mooting (Again)

I have never quite understood why Mooting is the most horrendous, obscure and horrific competition that one can ever enter oneself into. Of course there are those jolly good try hards that love to do all the research and love presenting their case to the artificial court of appeal that it most likely chaired by someone who has taught you law and in my case probably has a grudge against me that I didn't turn up for their seminar.

Now for those of you who care to be reminded, I have done mooting in the past and in the first year I was reasonably good at it, though never quite progressed to those moots(though my friends did) where barristers were brought in as acting judges, and they decided to throw carefully prepared bundles across the table and tell the mooters involved that they were shit.

Then came the second year and I was stuck with proprietary estoppel... that can be read about somewhere else on this blog and the experience left me with an urge to SLAP the BVC student that wasn't so nicely judging my moot. "Oh I've mooted internationally" well you may have mooted internationally but at least I'm not a jobsworth and have my humanity still intact!. Excuse me dear readers.. last year's mooting was a painful experience and I didn't even progress past the first round. The bells of failure perhaps rung to early on my mooting career.

So whilst I am stuck in the mooting for retards, all my 'learned' friends are dashing around the country doing something wonderful called EXTERNAL mooting and are pally bum chums in the law department.. eurgh can you smell the jealousy?

Whilst my other law pallies are to scared to enter mooting, most of whom have done it once and have definitely decided that it is not for them due to various reasons; though probably most likey (a) the extreme pressue (b) pulling you hair out the night before and not sleeping (c) walking into the moot to discover that your partner has dropped out (twice that's happened to me) (d) having the judge tell you that you are shit and asking you questions that you don't understand.

This year however should be slightly better, as I appear to be one of the few third years participating in this years "why do I do this I feel the need to self harm" competition. The first problem question in this tournament is on the ghastly "invitations to treat" such and such has put an advertisement in the local paper wanting to sell chocolate and then the poor sod of a client that has me to represent him wanted to buy the chocolate but she retracted the ad and refuses to contract with him. Lovely jubbley. I am at LEAST prepared somewhat this time, as I have been diligent in my research and at least have an IDEA of what I am going to say.

If I however get that most learned twat of a judge from last year, I think I shall just walk out in protest... or maybe refer to him as "my lady"...

Friday, 7 November 2008

Lost does Burlesque

Well not me personally, I was dragged rather quite unwillingly to go see a burlesque competition in East London tonight as my former flat mate and buddy from back home had designed one of the costumes. There was lots of boobies with nipple tassels, and suggestive spanking, which you would think would arouse any man.

I thought the evening would be filled with lots of men in Parker jackets, with seedy looks on their faces, but surprise surprise there were actually more women than men and all of them quite young!

Needless to say that my former flat mate and most talented costume designer was backing the right horse as the girl wearing her costume won! Hurrah!

Not something I intend to do again out of choice, but at least it was more enjoyable than an essay on Hart's internal/external view for Jurisprudence due Monday.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

How to be unprofessional tip # 1

Following Bar Boy's tips for advocacy, I might also suggest how to be unprofessional.

So tip #1
Be woken up be a solicitor from a good firm offering you work experience, you try and compose yourself however they ask you if they have woken you up, you inform them that you have just woken up indeed and it is reading week so its "all good", to which they reply "you better do some reading then"

"It's all good" what was I thinking!! I hope they saw the bright side... :S

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Not a good time to be a criminal barrister (a supplement)

I've been doing some various research on the bar, seeming as that is what I want to do and I could even *shock horror* bring it up an interview, rather than just regurgitating Simon Myerson's ten reasons why I want to be a barrister, which of course I do intend to do, if not albeit my own tweaked versions.

So here is some further research about what difficulties lay in our bleak future.

Recent reports that the bar will become a two tier profession; those doing work based on legal aid are likely to get f' all whilst the commercial fat cats will have more money. The criminal bar's future definitely does look bleak.

Also at this years bar conference, barristers are furious over the inadequacy of solicitor's performances in court, who have little or no relevant experience. See here

Lord Carter's report on Legal Aid and the reform (imagine putting someone in charge of reforming legal aid when they have NO experience in the system and as he admitted he had no experience of the sytem before he started work on it) are likely to have a heavy impact on the legal aid system, as already mentioned in the previous post solicitors are more likely to take on more junior work in house. Establishing a fixed advocacy fee also looks very likely. We already know of what the Legal Services Commission wants to do to the bar (personally I think eradicate it or at least try and cut some costs which will mostly be in the criminal bar) earlier this year accusing the bar to be breaking competition laws.

The legal services commission is not very well looked upon especially in my experience of criminal barristers who refer to people who have signed onto the latest VHCC as "scabs" the equivalent to a traitor, much like those people who went to work mining during the strikes of the 70's and 80's. I'm not entirely sure if this is because they do not want fixed fees, or do not in general like the LSC.

What can be said is that the criminal bar will definitely shrink, if not all other areas of the bar, and good people will go far, and the lesser ones will go and work for the CPS. Which currently I think may be better than going to chambers, at least if they do all their own work in house it means that I will never have to worry about having no work.

I'm not sure why everyone wants to cut down the legal aid budget, from what I know the legal aid budget would fund the NHS for two weeks, so hardly that expensive, a cut in costs will ultimately either mean a leaner profession or one that no longer attracts the brighest.

Further Reading
Is the Bar becoming a two tier profession - Frances Gibb - Times Law
How healthy is the Bar? - Frances Gibb - Times LawToo many solicitors are no good in court, say barristers - Frances Gibb - Times Law
Young Legal Aid Lawyers - try and check out the videos they are quite good, you can see how the profession is being squees, also look for the very angry woman in red, she makes some very good points.