Saturday, December 22, 2007


As some may remember from a previous post I applied to a certain MC firm for a summer placement. Well I have received an email inviting me to attend an interview.

I know that there will be those out there that are shaking their heads over this betrayal of my quest carrying on, but I am feeling quite proud having got this far in what is a massively competitive process.

I shall of course let you all know how it went in January after the interview. All the best,

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Merry Christmas one and all.

Hi everyone. I seem to be starting most of my posts with these words but again I apologise for the lack of entries recently. There is not much of a reason for this other than a little bit of laziness coupled with working on other things. I am at this moment working on a formative coursework for contract law. This is particularly important as the contract law assessment for my second year will be 100% coursework so this will give me a good indication.

Two small points:
You may have noticed that I have put Christmas at the top of this post which is entirely intentional. It annoys me no end that it is now in some areas being called 'wintermass' or 'frost festival' or whatever other nonsense that somebody makes up because someone, somewhere, might be offended. Although of course with the Law as it is it's not really that surprising when offending people is quickly becoming a criminal act. So I repeat Merry Christmas everybody.

Secondly I went busking yesterday for 3 and 1/2 hours in the city and made £45 which was a nice little bonus before Christmas. Might do it again tomorrow.

Hope everyone has a good time over the Christmas period and I will see you all again in the New Year.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Semi Final Success

The mooting competition continues for BoB as last night my learned friend and I were victorious in the semi final. It was very close but we won by the huge margin of one point!

I have learnt that I need to work a bit more on my opening, and to not use colloquial English, such as TV rather than television. But these are all good points which I can work on for the final next year, which will be in front of a judge and in gowns, which will be great fun, although nerve racking.

In other news I attended court and was able to get in front if the DJ three times, although everything was sorted outside so most of the time all I had to do was nod at the right time and smile sweetly.

Well that is a very quick round up of the past couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to Christmas, but will be doing work over the holiday, reading cases, a little bit of catching up and refreshing myself of what I have learnt so far.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I am still here.

Sorry that I have not updated my blog for a while, but unfortunately I have been really busy. I do intend to do a long post soon so that everyone can catch up on my progress. I have been doing more advocacy work at the local court, and have been working hard on my degree, but not as hard as I would have liked.

I seem to have been distracted this year, and slightly taken my eye off the ball. I think that BoB needs a good holiday, and then come back in the new year raring to go.

In other news the semi-final of this years mooting competition is next Thursday, so lots of work towards that. I promise I shall return very soon,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Very quick post, but just thought that I would let everybody know that my partner and I are through to the semi-finals of the mooting competition which will be in front of a Barrister from a local chambers. I will post more details soon, but Tort Law seminar work awaits.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Upping the stakes!!!

My learned friends for the respondents in the quarter final of the moots are good friends, and are a boyfriend and girlfriend team. The boyfriend has been trying to put the pressure on, all in a good hearted way, but he has stated that "I am going to be drinking a celebratory pint after the moot".

To add to this, the recent Tort lecture concerned the exact area of the moot (psychiatric harm and bystanders), and sat there listening it was quite obvious that the law was completely against us. This was pointed out to us with much glee by said learned friend.

Now I would imagine most of the few loyal readers of this blog out there will be thinking "poor old BoB, not a chance in hell". But you would be wrong, and I am massively happy that he is cock sure. Because it shows me that he has looked only to the obvious, and the point upon which I am arguing has not even entered his radar, so should completely broadside him. It's there in the cases we have been given, so it only requires close reading, but such are the dangers when the case law is so obviously in your favour.

The proof will obviously be in the pudding when we get to the moot, but I am really up for this and looking forward to prove the old adage that "pride comes before a fall".

Watch this space, all the best to everyone, BoB.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Assessed or not, that is the question?

As it is the time of year that the new pupillage handbook comes out (in a rather fetching shade of blue this year), BoB's mind has turned to the question of mini-pupillage's.

Having scoured the pages of the Chambers in London which I am interested in, I found myself pondering whether or not it is wise to complete an assessed mini-pupillage? There are pros and cons to either answer.

  • Chambers get to see what your abilities are, not just that you are good at being your supervisor's shadow and being polite and friendly;
  • It may help the selection process for pupillage, as they will already know something about your abilities;
  • Some chambers will let you skip the first round interview if you perform well;
  • It allows chambers to give you some real constructive feedback on your chances rather than "everyone thought you were very nice"!!


  • Mess up the assessment and you have little or no chance of getting pupillage at that chambers, even if there are further assessments in the pupillage interviews;
  • You may end up being so worried and stressed, that you spend all week concentrating on the test, and don't show the members of chambers your friendly side and allow them to make the "very nice" comment;
  • You may not actually enjoy the week, so you won't want to apply there anyway.

If anyone has any views on this, especially those that have maybe completed one or have secured pupillage, they will be very welcome.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The results are in!!

Just a very short post to let you all know that we are one of the 8 teams to make it through to the quarter finals. We are the appellants this time round, so the law is totally against us, which gives us the option to show real creativity and impress the judges.

I will keep you posted as more information comes in, BoB.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First Round Mooting Post Mortem

Here as promised is a description of the moot yesterday. Unfortunately the other side had to withdraw, so we only gave our side of the argument. We still had to perform because it is point based in the first round.

My partner took the first point of appeal which was on the closeness of relationship needed to found liability for witnesses of incidents to claim for psychiatric damages.

He was picked up on one or two points but nothing major so all good, although he did keep on saying "I believe" which is wrong, and made me wince every time it happened.

My point concerned the whether employers are liable for psych. harm alone, and the requirements for proving the maxim "Volenti non fit injuria". My cases were (in case anyone is interested) Frost v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire and Smith v Baker.

I was told that my eye contact was excellent and that I obviously knew the cases and law very well so that I did not need to look at my notes. The judges said that my pace and cadence were perfect, and that my answering of the questions was first rate, as was my court room etiquette.

Two small points were picked up:
1-In my eagerness to begin I did not leave as much time as I should to allow the judges to finish thinking about my leader's points and give their full attention to me;
2-I got a page number wrong in my notes, although that was a typo. However when challenged about this I was not as courteous as I could have been, but later did apologise to the court.

All in all a successful moot, in which I felt very calm and in control of my points and speaking. I am quietly optimistic that we have made it through, especially as the judges started discussing bundles and skeletons with us. The results are out Friday.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Apologies

I am afraid that due to the amount of work that I put into preparing for the moot, I completely neglected my EC law seminar work so I have spent about 6 hours this evening trying to do it. I will therefore endeavour to post the details of today's very successful moot tomorrow.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Round one ding ding!!

Have just finished typing out my submissions in long hand for tomorrows moot. Just need to condense everything down to bullet points on file cards now. It may seem as though I have left this a bit late, but we were only given the moot problem this Wednesday and have had seminars to prepare in between.

The problem is a tort question concerning employers liability and psychiatric harm. As I led last year I am giving my partner an opportunity to have a go. I have put in a lot of prep and with my extra public speaking experience, and real life advocacy, I am feeling fairly confident about it all.

I shall let you know how it went tomorrow, all the best till then,

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today deputy chair, tomorrow PM.

Last night I attended the first meeting of the union council. I know that as soon as you mention student politics to some people they immediately switch off, and have visions of far left wannabe politicians playing little power games.

However, this is another opportunity to get some public speaking experience and start thinking about the way you construct a coherent and compelling argument. As you all know this is obviously excellent experience, as well as giving you a chance to make a real difference to the students at your uni.

I was on council last year, but this year I decided that I wanted to become more involved, and stood in the election for deputy chair. This meant giving a speech on why I would be so good for the job etc. etc. I am pleased to say that I won and will be in charge of any council meetings that the chair cannot make.

To top the evening off, a motion that I made a supporting speech for also passed, so a successful evening all round. I must dash, contract law seminar prep awaits.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A plea on behalf of other students.

If any of you that read this blog (I now that there are only a few) are involved in the running of the mooting then please make it more interesting than the introductory event for this years competition that my law society runs.

I have fortunately mooted before, but if I had not then this would have completely put me off (well not really as I know how important it is so would have done it anyway). The format was basically handing out a four page guide to mooting, and the reading out loud the guide with the readers own comments on each section. I think the reaction at the end of the talk (absolute silence, not a clap in the house), was a pretty good indication of how well it was received. Having said that it is so important that everybody signed up anyway.

So please, for the sake of all students sanity, make sure the presentations are lively.

P.S This year my team mate and I will be victorious! I hope lol

Monday, October 15, 2007

Am I a Traitor??

I have just this very minute finished and sent off an online application. This has taken me a considerable amount of time. But why would this be traitorous?

Because fellow Bar aspirants, it is for the summer vacation scheme at Linklaters! Now yes it would be very good work experience, and it is fairly nicely re numerated, but am I betraying my quest?

I shall leave it for you to decide, although let us not forget that this scheme is exceptionally competitive so no guarantees I'll even get on it, so the worrying could all be for naught.

Till next time, BoB.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Am I a bit peculiar?

This is only a very short post readers, but I think an important one. I arrived at the library on campus today at 09:30. I left for half and hour at lunch to have a coffee and meet my significant other, and had an hour lecture on EC law at 16:00. I did not return home until 19:15. Other than these times I was in the library. And what was I doing in the Library...?

Reading, studying, absolutely loving, and not noticing the time slip away, while immersed in the subject of Trust Law. Now surely this isn't normal behaviour for a law student. Which is why I put the question as the title.

I found my self becoming enthralled with the rights of trustee and beneficiary, the obligations and powers of the trustee, whether there was a fiduciary duty, how trusts are created in wills, and such forth. It hasn't all quite sunk in yet but with more study, I am sure it will. I feel as though it will be the same story as land law last year, gently swimming against the tide of public opinion on my course and being given funny glances when I declare my enjoyment of the subject.

Well to conclude on what has actually become quite a long post, I say this. I care not whether I am thought of as peculiar or not, surely a love for the subject is what drives us to be barristers. What other job are you able to study and apply a subject that utterly fascinates you. Must go, the three certainties await.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A matter of £25 pounds.

Victories when they come, no matter how small, are there to be savoured for all they are worth. Especially so if it happens to be your first in court defending a possession order. I was today once again volunteering at the court representing members of the public who find themselves staring eviction in the face. The fourth and final case of the day that I handled was the first where I have faced opposition to part of the judgment I was seeking.

The court will generally award a suspended possession order with the conditions that the monthly instalment is met plus a small amount extra towards the arrears. However what is a reasonable amount towards the arrears is sometimes contested, so it is up to the Judge to decide. Thus was the situation for my first actual contested application in court.

The bank was not prepared to accept any less than £50 than towards the arrears, which was, although affordable right at the top end that my clients budget would allow. I therefore informed the rep from the bank that I would be asking for the amount to be £25.

I was nervous and excited, and most importantly wanted to get the best outcome for my client. First the rep put his case, then it was my turn. The words flowed well, the points were clear, although I think I gave some ammo to my opponent when mentioning the three children. It is a fine line between getting the judge sympathetic, and not showing that it is unlikely that the client can afford the repayments. I waited with baited breath for the lines "I believe that £25 is a reasonable amount for repaying the arrears".

Obviously I was over the moon, and the client was very pleased. I see it as another small step towards reaching that goal we are all so frantically chasing. Till next time,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Home sweet Home

Not much to blog about unfortunately, so just a quick one to show that I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Lots of new law to learn, all starting again in a weeks time, plus mooting, possibly debating, and more time at court volunteering. Hopefully there will be some time in there to relax lol.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mini Pupillage (1)

I last week completed a very enjoyable mini pup at a chambers in London. The location of the chambers is in one of the Temple Inns, both of which are absolutely beautiful.

My mini pupil master was very nice, and although busy was able to find lots for me to do, including shadowing other barristers from both the family and civil law teams. I can't comment on particulars but everything went very well, and I have realised that a career in civil/chancery would be where I would want to practice. This experience, along with the outdoor clerking, has been instrumental in making that decision.

I was told that my CV was impressive, especially the real life advocacy experience. I was also informed that everyone that I had shadowed had found me a pleasure to be with, and that I had made a very good impression.

To finish the week perfectly I was able to attend the cheese and wine evening on Friday, which was great fun and everyone from chambers was very friendly. I would certainly say that this will be a strong contender for one of my OLPAS choices.

Well back to uni very soon, with no rest for the wicked as volunteering this Saturday with the Housing charity, so more court time. Hope everyone else that has gone back or is going back is well, and that they have a successful year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A date with Vicki Pollard.

Today I had my first visit to a Youth Court. I was required to take a statement from a teenage girl whose friend had been charged with making intimidating phone calls to a witness in another case. The teenage girl in question has admitted that she did it, and that her friend was not involved.

I spoke with counsel and found out the dates and events I was to cover in the statement. I then had the pleasure to meet the girl. It was nice to see (I am not a snob by the way) that she had worn her best track suit for the day, and was already wearing a scowl with a Dagenham face lift (very tightly pulled back hair).

Within 20 minutes of statement taking in a small interview room, she was "too hot" and wanted to leave. I then asked her to stay in the waiting area as the Judge may call her at anytime. To this I got a dirty look and a sneer, and was totally ignored.

I followed her down and was asked "err why are you following me". I explained again that she had to stay in the waiting area and that she was here to help her friend, and that it wouldn't last much longer. Again filthy looks.

Her friend reappeared and I told her that she could not speak to her until after giving evidence. No more than 3 minutes later, I go down to find her, and she is stood talking and smoking with her friend. Reiteration of request, followed by a look that if it could have would have left a small pile of ash on the floor.

To cap off the day while giving evidence she uttered the immortal words "I ain't dun nuffin". To be honest she did do well in the witness stand, and she has been in foster care, so I can't be too harsh. I even got a thank you, plus the people skills learnt from the experience are priceless, so not that bad a day after all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Any room at the Inn?

After much contemplation, visiting, pondering, and generally asking every Barrister which he would one they would recommend, I have come to a decision about which Inn to join.

Although not the important choice it once was, there are some considerations that needed to be mulled over such as, size of membership, number of scholarships, advocacy courses, and other student services.

So taking this in to account, and the glowing recommendations I received from all those I asked, I have chosen..........

I think the fact that they interview everyone who applies for a scholarship, coupled with it having, I am told, an excellent advocacy program, was what swung it for me. Looking forward to my first dining night and meeting other members.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

And the winner for best supporting actor is......

We received a note from the jury while they were deciding the verdict in the sexual assault case that I am clerking. They asked if they could have the transcript of the video interview of the complainant. Obviously this was not allowed, so the Judge told them that if they said which part of the evidence they wanted to hear, he would read it out to them.
The evidence concerned the description given by the 11 year old girl of her attacker. The jury went out and Counsel went though the transcript and identified the pages. The jury called back in and the Judge then said,

"I will read to you the interview, and from my voice you should be able to recognise whether it is the police officer or the 11 year old girl speaking".

For a split second I had a vision of the judge putting on the high pitched voice of a small girl and let out an involuntary snigger. This was not the case but he did put some real feeling and drama in to his performance. He had obviously missed his true calling.

Unfortunately the client was found guilty by a majority of 10-2 so not a particularly happy ending for him. However I have been told by counsel to apply for a mini pupillage at her chambers, as she thinks that I would gain a lot from it. This is a top mixed criminal and civil law set with a heavy leaning towards human rights issues, so some good news for me.

Sadly next week will be my last with the solicitors firm as the following week is a mini pupillage, and then back to uni. Till my next post, thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

An unfortunate attack of the giggles.

As you may have seen in my previous blog I am currently clerking on a sexual assault case. The defendant is a Jamaican gentleman who has a very strong accent. This made his evidence in chief and cross examination rather difficult.

The unfortunate case of the giggles was brought on by the prosecution asking the defendant whether he has said "pussy clot" to the victim as she walked past. The prosecuting barrister is very well spoken, and probably says he lives in a "hice" rather than a house. Every time he said the word pussy a small snigger crept from the jury's direction.

According to the defendant this is a derogatory term used by Jamaicans to mean something akin to "idiot" and used in banter. The prosecution however were determined to get him to admit that he was using it as a slang for a vagina, repeating pussy is vagina over and over again. Cue even louder giggles.

To this the defendant replied "I would never use that word to refer to a woman's pom pom, that would be disrespectful". I think the mention of pom pom sent them over the edge. Of the 12 jurors all were laughing and a good few were either biting their fists trying not to, and others were actually crying. The court had to rise for a five minute break to compose itself.

Thankfully this morning the Judge was able to produce a slang dictionary to enlighten us what it meant. It is a derogatory term, so the defendant was right.

On a more somber note, I would like to echo the sentiments of others concerning the retirement of L2B/The Pupil from the world of blogging, but like all the others wish her the best of luck in pupillage and beyond.

In other news I have also chosen which Inn to join. More on that later.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

When 9:30 actually means 12:30?!?!

"Right BOB*, two pleas for you to deal with this morning. Should be simple, ones in custody and due in court at 9:30, and the other in the same court at 10". An easy £25 and extra experience thought I.

Ha, how wrong I was. I of course didn't factor in the trusty prison service and their own brand of time management. The client in question suffers from asthma and claustrophobia, so could not be transported in the usual prison van, commonly known as a "sweat box", so instead had to be brought by taxi to court.

You would expect the prison service to know this and have everything in place. Unfortunately they did not and the morning was spent with counsel and I repeatedly going up and down from the custody area to be told again that he had not arrived. This played havoc with trying to clerk the other case, but I managed.

It got to lunchtime and we then had to wait until 2 o'clock to go down and speak to the client who had finally arrived. However after all this ridiculousness the client did get a touch and only got a very small sentence considering the crime, and there is also the bonus of getting a full days money as well.

This weekend I moved my stuff into the house which will probably be my home for the next 2 years, and for the next two weeks I have a sexual assault trial to clerk, so that should be very interesting. Then the first week of September I have a mini pupillage with a chambers in London that specialises in Family and Landlord and Tenant/Housing/Land Law to look forward to.

* Some people have referred to me as BOB (Bar or Bust) so I thought I would try it out for size. If you want to leave a comment please feel free.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More to follow...

After a disappointing week of absolutely no work last week I have the last day of a trial to clerk tomorrow and a PCMH on Thursday.

I have also been informed that there are trials available next week from Monday, so hopefully another interesting experience to follow. Watch this space.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Work Experience (2)

Pro bono. We all know that it is something that we should get involved in, but I didn't really like the sound of the opportunities that the Law soc at my uni were involved in. Thankfully there is a separate volunteering society at the university which has a website with details of all volunteering opportunities.

While browsing I came across a charity looking for "Housing Repossession Representatives". The description said that it required people to represent home owners at the county court during repossession hearings. So this gave me an opportunity to not only do something that would help other people (and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside), but also the chance to do real advocacy in front of a district Judge.

After going for an interview and being accepted I was initially asked to do some office work every week collating information on which local authority area each home owner was from, and which lender the mortgage was with. Fairly mundane but useful info for the charity and sharpened the research skills trying to find out with local authority was concerned.

About a month later I was able to go to the court and observe the other volunteers in conference with the clients, who your first contact with is on the day in most cases, and with the lenders solicitor. Usually an agreement can be reached which makes the hearings fairly straight forward, but sometimes this is not possible so it needs to be thrashed out in front of the Judge.

The next time at court I was there as the only volunteer with the solicitor who works with the charity. A lot of the cases I took the details and handed them over to the solicitor as they became a bit too complicated, but I was able to see two cases through to completion.

Both times I was able to come to an agreement with the lenders solicitor, but I still had to go in front of the Judge and explain the circumstances my clients had found themselves in and that they too believed this to be a fair solution. So nothing spectacular advocacy wise, but my first small step to actually representing people in real life legal situations. I am looking forward to my first case where I have to argue for the solution we want, although I am sure it will be extremely frightening and exhilarating in equal parts.

I hope to volunteer with the Free Representation Unit (FRU) in the future as well. The important thing is that I'm helping people as well as honing my skills and boosting the CV. Hope this has been helpful, and as always comments are much appreciated.

Monday, August 6, 2007

2-1 to the Courts.

Firstly my apologies for not blogging for a while, I have been pretty busy. Not a great excuse but it's the only I have.

The heading of this post refers to the three clients I have recently been involved with (in a purely legal sense of course). The trial on which I clerked last week ended in a guilty verdict for the counts of ABH and GBH. The length of sentence will depend on the pre-sentencing report which is being prepared.

On Thursday morning I was asked to go to Snaresbrook Crown Court to meet a client who was being produced on warrant, because of a failure to turn up to court on a previous date. Other than this I had no idea whatsoever why he was at court. With the barrister also being involved in three other cases I had to go down to the cells alone, fill in the legal aid forms with the client, and take instructions.

It turned out that the client was here for breaching his 18 month probation order he had been given for assaulting his girlfriend, and possessing two cannabis plants. Having established this I asked him what his instructions were, obviously informing him that the judge could re-sentence him for the original offences, or give him another chance with probation. The client looked at me and said,

"Well to tell you the truth I'm sick of probation so I would rather get a couple of months imprisonment, come out half way through and have it over done with".

Obviously I was a little shocked as I personally would do all I could to avoid going to prison, but looking at this client's form, doing a bit of bird would by like water off a duck's back (no pun intended). I informed the barrister of this, he spoke to the client, and agreed. He ended up in real terms with a two and a half month sentence. So that was two people in as many days who I had shook hands with before they were whisked off by the prison van.

On the Friday however I had the pleasure of going back to Croydon to clerk for the rape defendant (see previous post), because the CPS have decided not to go for a re-trial. I have never seen a man look so different in the space of a week. After five minutes in court for the Judge to enter a verdict of not guilty, I was able to shake the hand of a man who after a year has his life back. I know that some people that read this will say what about the alleged victim, and when will she get her life back, but I truly believe that to have found this man guilty would have imprisoned an innocent man. Obviously I welcome any comments to discuss this.

Well there is all of last weeks legal shenanigans, this weekend I went and helped my girlfriend move in to the house which will be our home for the next two years of undergraduate study. I am waiting to see if I will be required for work this week.

I also intend to post about joining an Inn (or deciding which one), and I also have a mini-pupillage to look forward to in the first week of September. Lastly thanks to all of the people who have added me to their blog links, please have a read of their blogs, which can be found in my links.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Witnesses, God bless 'em!

You explain to a witness that has flown all the way from another country "we don't want you to talk about her being violent, we are not running a self defence case. All we want to ask you is about her being clumsy and falling over when drunk" OK they say, no problems.

"How do you know the victim?"
"She's a nasty vicious woman who used to drink in my pub"
"Thank you Miss X I have no further questions"

This plus the defendant who became confused and tied up in knots by the prosecution does not bode well. At least, as the Barrister and I agreed, the defence could not have been run better, and as a plus point the defendant is confident, even if we are not.

Ah well, the verdict tomorrow (I won't be holding my breath, for one thing I'd be dead in the morning if I did that!).

Monday, July 30, 2007

How many people does it take to work a court tape player?

Although the title of this post may lead you to believe that I have decided to take up a career in legal comedy, alas this is not the case. It relates to a situation that I encountered today that, if it had not been so farcical, would have made me weep with frustration.

I have been lucky enough to be asked to clerk another trial, concerning two counts of assault occasioning ABH. Our client's ex girlfriend is accusing him of beating her up at home, and then a couple of months later breaking her leg in a fight in a pub. We are saying that she was very drunk both times (which she was) and that it was an accident. The verdict later.

The incident described above arose because the victim said during cross examination something she shouldn't have, which was extremely prejudicial to the case. Unfortunately when it came to the application to dismiss the jury, the judge wanted to know the exact words used. The solicitor that was there in the morning (I started at lunch) had not written it down, and neither had either Counsel. Thus began an hour's search on the tape for the exact words.

Picture if you will, a small, bald old man, who was a little bit deaf, operating the recording equipment. He was obviously very good at doing the normal bit of the job, such as putting in the new tape, pressing play, and noting down the start and end times of each round of questioning. But ask him to do something a little bit different, such as rewind to a specific spot and it play it back, he became a little flummoxed. This was regardless of the fact that the instructions to achieve such a feat were clearly written on the top of the recorder. He couldn't make it play, and he had 2 barristers, an usher, and a clerk (me) telling him to go forward, and back a bit, and all of this he did in the slowest possible way. He was saved from disaster twice when he almost pushed the record button, which would have lost the entire recording. Thankfully the usher took over and it was found in about five minutes.

After all this effort it was understandably a bit disappointing the application was dismissed, but there we go. With the defendants boozy fan club sat at the back of the court, I'm sure that this wont be the last incident I have to tell from this case.

So in answer to the question in the title it takes 1 outdoor clerk, 1 usher, 2 barristers, and a slightly bemused looking old man.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Only a short one (just like me).

I don't really have time (due to the imminent arrival of a curry), or anything really of note to publish this weekend so this is only a very short note. I will say however that my diligent note taking was obviously of the required standard as I have been asked to clerk another trial starting Monday. Excellent experience and five full days work so Kerrching!!!

Just one quick question though, nothing to do with Law. I like curry, but why is it that curry, or any food for that matter, tastes better when it's free (my parents are paying)?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Work Experience (1)

As promised I will discuss my job as an outdoor clerk. It is one of those things that is always listed as uesful work experience, but when asking careers advisers exactly what it is and how to go about getting it, a blank expression usually crosses their face.

Outdoor clerking is extremely useful, in my opinion, because:

1) You get to meet Barristers every day, thus increasing opportunities to network;

2) You are actually involved in real cases, doing real legal work (see last post);

3) And possibly most important of all it is paid.

The best way to go about securing a place as a clerk is to Google "outdoor clerking in (insert area), or to send in a letter and CV to local firms that deal with criminal law. I was lucky enough to find a company which were advertising on the net so that made it a lot easier.

The main duties of a clerk are to take the file to court, provide the barrister with any documents they require, take notes in conferences with the clients (some of which may be in the cells), and take a note of the proceedings in court (which can be quite difficult if you are trying to get down everything said during the examination of a witness).

The work is freelance so you tend to not know if you are working from week to week, sometimes it can be the afternoon before. In the beginning you will probably be asked to attend mentions, PCMH's, and bail applications. When you have proved you can handle these smaller jobs you will be asked to clerk for trials (my first is the subject of the previous posts). As well as the other benefits, it also gives you a really good idea of the work a criminal barrister takes on, and shows you everything that you learnt in English Legal Process in action.

Finally, lets get down to brass tacks. I currently earn £25 for a half day, and £45 for a full day. Although it is not the most fantastically re numerated of jobs, the experience it provides far outweighs the fact that it doesn't pay too well.

I hope that this has helped you get a better idea of what clerking is all about, and inspired you to start writing those CV's.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Verdict (or maybe not) ?

As promised I will announce the verdict of the trial I have been clerking. It was..........a hung Jury. The jury could not come to a unanimous or majority decision so they were discharged, and it is now in the hands of the CPS whether or not they wish to try the defendant again. We will know soon.

I also remember saying that I would use this post to write about the whole outdoor clerking thingamabob, but after having retired to the nearest pub at lunch with Counsel for a few well earned cold ones, I'm not really in the mood to do it justice. I promise that I will cover it in my next post.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A future in the hands 12 of people.

You may realise that the heading refers to a jury, and how a persons whole future may rest in their hands. Such is the situation facing the client on whose case I have been outdoor clerking this past week.

As some of you may have read in my introduction I am working as an outdoor clerk during my summer holiday before returning as a second year. I will be posting more about outdoor clerking later.

The trial started last Monday and was due to finish today with the jury giving its verdict. Unfortunately this has not happened and the jury have spent nearly seven hours deliberating already.

The case concerns consent, and whether or not the complainant gave it. At no time has the defendant denied having sex with the girl, and maintains that she asked him for sex. However the complainant had been out drinking previously to the incident, and had been taken to hospital after being punched. The defendant was working as a security guard at the hospital and was asked by the complainant to walk with her to the cash point to get some money as she did not know where the ATM was, and it was very late at night/early in the morning. Add to this the fact that she had been crying for most of the night in A+E and that CCTV shows her account of the events to be incorrect at important moments, you begin to understand what a difficult case this is for a jury to really decide what really happened.

This is the first time I have been involved so closely with a case and it is very difficult trying to answer the questions of the defendant on how it is going, because it really could go either way. I have been very lucky to have an excellent Barrister with me who has been really involving me in the case rather than just using me as a cheaply paid note taker (although taking a record of all the evidence of witnesses is a big part of the job. My poor wrist).

I hope to be able to post the verdict tomorrow so watch this space. I may use it as a lead in to my piece on clerking. I am still getting the hang of this so please bear with me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Introduction and apologies!

This blog, journal, online ramblings, or whatever you wish to call it, is one in a long line of many many many such sites of the same ilk concerned with the subject of pursuing a career in Law, and more specifically a career at the Bar.

If you have reached this far without dashing for the nearest button on your browser then I thank you most sincerely, and give yourself a hearty slap on the back from me.

The purpose of this blog is to chart my progression from a just finished first year Law student through to hopefully, and despite the horror stories that abound, achieving a tenancy at a chambers. You will share the dizzy heights (possibly but maybe more like passing moments of vertigo) and the oh so heart wrenching lows that may inevitably break my spirit and leave me a trembling, sniveling wreck.

As a means of introduction I will set out my life thus far…….

After leaving school with a clutch of fairly respectable GCSE results I joined the Army. Following a not totally horrible trip to Iraq, and a couple of years studying with the Open University, I decided that the Army was not the career for me and decided that I wanted to become a lawyer of some description.

After securing unconditional offers to two top 20 universities, I participated in a week’s mini pupillage and a week with a firm of high street solicitors. This quickly led to the conclusion that being a solicitor was not for me. I enjoy public speaking, and did not relish the idea of spending most of my time preparing a case to hand it over just when it gets interesting!

Since my first year I have completed another week’s mini pupillage, represented home owners in front of the district judge in repossession hearings, and attained 3 marks of 65% and one of 68% in my exams. I also reached the quarter finals of the university mooting competition, and was an active member of the union council. During the summer I am working for firm of criminal solicitors as an outdoor clerk, and am currently in the middle of a seven day rape trial on which more later (but obviously not exact details).

The reason I list this is not to brag, but to hopefully impress on anyone contemplating a Law degree and future at the Bar, that getting the required experience is something that needs to be thought about and started as soon as you decide that the Bar is for you. It is also wise to remember that your applications in your second year will need to list your first year results, so despite what you may be told, that first year does count.

My thanks to those that have persevered to the end, and I look forward to any comments.