Wednesday, December 10, 2008

National Mooting Victory

Last night was the first round of the national mooting competition that my partner and I have entered.  We were the host institution so come 6 o'clock I was sat in the mock courtroom at the law school waiting for the moot to begin.

As lead counsel for the appellants I was the first to speak and after the brief spell of nerves that I experience at the beginning of every moot I got into the groove and put in a fine performance netting the joint highest score for all of the contestants that evening.  My partner also put in a stellar performance and I am very happy to say that we won.  We are now through to the next round so yet more work on top of that which I already have for my degree.

I am also doing a talk for the charity I do the court advocacy for at my law schools pro bono evening tonight, after which I am retiring to a local public house which was voted CAMRA's best pub in Britain a couple of years ago so plenty of good quality real ale to sup.  

All the best


Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Drinks and Mooting Comp

The season of Christmas cheer is now upon us and for many people this means it's time to drink your own weight in your preferred tipple before passing out in front of the Queen's Speech. With this most British of past times in mind I was wondering if anyone from the blawging community was up for a little Christmas drink in London.

I am back for a meeting on the afternoon of Saturday the 13th so am available all morning if anyone fancies a beverage or two or that evening. Please let me know at the brand spanking new e-mail address which is on the right of the blog and we can try arrange something which is convenient for all.

Secondly I am eyeball deep in moot preparation at the moment for a national mooting competition. The problem is really interesting and I am looking forward to being on my feet again and hopefully progressing through to the next round.

All the best, will post again soon,


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two for Two

As a boy I regularly enjoyed going out at the weekend with friends, armed with only a tub of maggots and a rod, and spending the day casting out into the river and seeing what I could catch. It is crucial that you use the right bait to reel in that big fish which you are after.

Thus I come to the point of this post, and stretching the fishing metaphor to almost breaking point, I am pleased to say that I have secured two mini-pupillages for next year, one which is listed in band three of Chambers and Partners UK for crime in London, and one which is listed in band one. Although I have done quite a few minis I am now concentrating on doing criminal law minis to prove my commitment (although maybe being poor and impoverished would show my commitment better?). It is also so that I can meet the members of chambers I am intending to apply to, and more importantly they can meet me.

Perhaps the most satisfying part of this process has been that I only sent out two CV's and both came back with an offer, so I obviously 'used the right bait'.

All the best

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Barristers

To start this post I quickly want to mention what an absolute God send the BBC i-player service is.  This alone is worth the licence fee that most of the press having been bleating about following the Brand/Ross scandal.  The availability of this wondrous piece of technology allowed me to attend a poker evening last night, and watch the program this afternoon.

Right down to business.  I agree with barboy that there could have been a bigger concentration of the difficulties and bad parts of training to be a barrister.  It was, however, a fairly entertaining and informative program for those who know nothing about the bar.  For those of us who are already aspiring to be barristers and have half an ounce of sense (although this may possibly be an oxymoron), it didn't really proffer much in the way of new information.

I thought that the BVC students that they chose to follow were a little uninteresting and may have been chosen to give the impression of the Bar being a much more 'right on' and diverse profession than most people would traditionally think.  I was particularly unimpressed by the single male that was chosen, especially when he stated 'I mooted once at University, but think that it is better to do it here in front of real judges'.  If he had mooted more at University he might not have been so bad and lost on the night.

I think that it would be interesting if the next episode is mainly about pupillage to give a real insight into what to expect, with maybe a bit of a side focus on the very junior end of the profession.  We shall see soon enough.

All the best BoB

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

FRU Day or not as the case may be...

I am aware that in my last post I promised to write about my day at the Free Representation Unit. Unfortunately things did not work out quite as I had planned.

On Friday night BoB had been invited to attend a Lodge meeting of a good friend of his. For those that think that I went to the home of a beaver let me explain that a Lodge is where Freemasons meet. I have been a Freemason for about three years now and thoroughly enjoy it. After the meeting we had dinner at a club in London, which was followed by a few pleasant drinks at the bar. Unfortunately BoB forgot the time, and ended up missing the last train home. This meant a much longer journey on the night bus, meaning that I did not get home until half past three in the morning.

I was therefore far too tired to have been able to have actually learnt anything on Saturday so decided to leave it this time and go early next year.

The moral of this story.....

Check the train timetable to see when the last train for home leaves.

Until next time, BoB

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Deepest apologies and I really am back

As I sit here in the library typing this post, I feel a huge wave of regret flood over me for neglecting my (few and far between) readers. I am now, however, well and truly back and looking forward to blogging again. In terms of my journey to the bar this is where the fun (or should that be nightmares) really start.

First on the list of things to do, which seem to be mounting up at a phenomenal rate, is filling in my BVC scholarship application form for Middle Temple. This is almost complete subject to a few final tweaks which were recommended by the careers advisor, and me filling in the financial information.

Picking up on this, I am shocked by how little awareness there is of this fact among the general student population. This is just another example of why getting to the bar is so difficult due to the lack of information passed down to students. I wonder when it will get through that not everybody wants to be a solicitor.

Following hotly on the heels of this will be many, many, many mini pupillage application forms/CV's winging their way to a multitude of Criminal Law sets. This is to:
  1. Network and find out more about the different Criminal Law sets for OLPAS; and
  2. Show an even bigger commitment to the Criminal Bar in general.

I am aware at this point that many will be shaking their heads, furrowing their brows, and possibly considering getting BOB committed for wanting to go to the Criminal bar. To those readers I would say worry not, I have pondered the question long and hard and come to the conclusion that I would not be happy practising any other form of law at the bar so I am willing to suffer a life of financial hardship, and give up on the dream of an Aston Martin sat in the drive.

Next, although this seems to be more of a formality than a hurdle, is to apply for the BVC. I am still torn between two providers (BPP and College of Law) at the moment so any advice from fellow bloggers will be most appreciated. I'm not going to repeat what I have said earlier about the BVC and who should be given a place but if you are interested it can be found here.

I am also this Saturday off to the FRU social security law day so that I can begin the process of becoming a ratified representative. A full report of the day will follow shortly.

Finally I have the national mooting competition which will be starting soon so that will increase my work load, on top of my final year subjects which are in case anyone is interested:

  1. Law and Medical Ethics
  2. Employment Law
  3. Discrimination Law
  4. Family Law
  5. Jurisprudence

As a final note I also wish to say how sad it is that Law Minx is no longer blogging. I wish her the very best, and am sure that she will (if she hasn't already) reach the nirvana of pupillage and tenancy.

All the best, BoB

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I am still here!!

I am sorry everyone for my lack of posting.  This is for two reasons:
  1. I have nothing of interest to write about; and
  2. Laziness.
The former is understandable, the latter unforgivable.  I hope that everyone is well and I will return soon.

Until then,


Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Just to let everybody know very quickly that my results for the second year were:
Contract 65%
EC Law 65%
Tort Law 62%
Trusts 61%

I am now returning to my holiday in Australia. All the best


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mini Pupillage and first result for the year

My apologies for not posting for a while but as promised I am going to fill you in on the mini pupillage that I completed last week. However before that I will quickly just say that the provisional mark for my coursework for contract law is 65% so a good 2.1 although not as high as I was hoping.

My mini pupillage was very interesting with a few areas of criminal law cropping up which I had not had the opportunity to encounter before, namely fraud and false imprisonment. What was most beneficial was talking to a number of members of chambers who are currently sorting out the OLPAS forms that chamber's has received, and grilling them over what they look for in particular. It was also very helpful to have the opportunity to talk to the current pupils about their experiences at the very junior end of the bar. All in all the barristers I had the pleasure to meet were very friendly, and seemed to be genuinely interested in what I had to say and my experience of the law thus far.

I have to end on a slightly sad note unfortunately and inform you that my outdoor clerking job is no more. This is because the new funding rules have made it uneconomical for solicitors to send clerks to trials anymore. Oh well I think I'll just go straight to working at the bar after my holiday...behind it that is.

All the best, TTFN

Sunday, May 25, 2008

OK but could have been better

Just a quick note to say that my second year is finished and that EC was OK but not fantastic. I think that the last three questions were good but the first question was not good at all so I am expecting a low 60 which although a 2.1 will really drag down the average which is a bit of a shame.

However you always think you have done worse than you actually have so I might surprise myself. I am now looking forward to my weeks mini pupillage and then I am afraid I will be away for a very long time as...BoB is off to Australia for a month to visit his girlfriend and travel around.

I will then be returning with my girlfriend as she will have finished her second year as well, and returning to the wonderful world of outdoor clerking.

All the best


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Results and Exam Report

Well as can be seen to the right of this entry the results of the poll are in and 11 people have voted against the new robes compared to only 6 who think that they are a good idea. I must agree with the against votes and have also found the recent comments by many journalists rather amusing, who have likened the pictures of the current Chief Justice to an extra from Star Trek.

In other news I am currently two thirds of the way through my exams having completed Tort and Trusts. Tort went well and Trusts went even better so on gut instinct I am pleased so far. Only EC law left to contend with.

All the best


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm just not sure

These are the new civil robes to be worn by the judiciary. They are black with navy blue velvet trim, finished off with red bands. There is also no wig with these robes.
I am a very traditional kind of guy and one of the reasons I decided on going to the Bar is that the profession is so steeped in history and tradition. So part of me feels that it is a great shame that this change has happened.
However I am also practical and can see the argument that the old style of robes are impractical and inappropriate in civil law cases. So I am a little torn on whether I like them or not. Any comments are gratefully received and please vote on the little straw poll at the side.
All the best,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mid-Revision Update

The condensed revision sheets for each topic in each subject are finished and all that is left is to commit them to memory. I find it easiest to achieve this by reading, covering the page just read, and copying out from memory. It worked fairly well last year with three 65's and a 68 so I am hoping it will work just as well if not better this year.

The three exams this year are Tort, Trusts, and EC law, with contract law being examined on on piece of coursework which has already been handed in. The revising is obviously not being helped by the beautiful weather we are currently enjoying, but I have managed to resist saying to hell with it all and finding the nearest beer garden for a quiet drink with friends.

In other news I have secured a mini pupillage with a top specialist criminal law set in London. I was advised by a number of specialist criminal law sets at the recent pupillage fair that if you haven't got a purely criminal law mini pupillage under your belt they won't consider your application, and if you put down a preference for any other area of law than crime on your olpas form the same applies.

I have also bitten the bullet of poverty and sent off my application form and cheque (for £85) to join Middle Temple so expect me to become a regular visitor at dining. I will also be returning to my outdoor clerking job during the summer so watch out for more posts about the trials and tribulations entailed.

As a final point I am sure that most readers of my blog do, but if you don't then please head over to law minx's blog which has an absolutely hilarious post about a new award ceremony called the Freddies.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bye Bye for now.

Taking my cue from my girlfriend I thought that it would only be polite to explain my absence, and make a promise to you all that I shall return after my spell in the infernal damnation of revision hell. Until June everybody, and best of luck to anyone else who is also currently revising for exams.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The perfect poster boy for the Bar!

In the current climate of opening up the Bar to all comers and increasing diversity, along with the challenge of proving that the Bar is not an antiquated, outdated institution of privilege and snobbery, we have this twit making an absolute idiot of himself on national television in 'The Apprentice'.

Apparently this chap received an outstanding on his BVC. Well I'm afraid the only thing that he did tonight was to show himself to be an outstandingly incompetent fool.

I am firmly of the opinion that it should be best person for the job, but not only does he tick the box in every way as the stereotypical barrister (white, posh, male), he openly accused the other members of the team of not liking him because it was 'obvious that the team has split in to the educated and the uneducated'.

If you want a job with Alan Sugar, the last thing that you should do is go and boast about your academic qualifications, as he puts no stock in them whatsoever. I thought knowing your audience when presenting your case was a vital skill to learn as a barrister. I did not think much to his actual speaking either. He seemed nervous, out of his depth, and punctuated his talking with lots of 'well you know' and 'errm' and 'the thing is'.

As a final gripe (I am sorry but this guy has annoyed me beyond belief), what the hell is that stupid little bit of hair under his lip about? It looks like he either forgot to shave it, or a small furry animal has decided to live there.

My apologies for it being so long since the last post. However while I am here I can tell you that the meal at Lincolns Inn was splendid, and I ran another advice and advocacy session at the court by myself. Hoping to hear back from some mini pupillage applications fairly soon as well.

Until next time blog watchers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I am sorry for the lack of posting but I have been very busy. This is not a long post but rather a sign that I have not disappeared from the face of the Earth, and I promise I shall write a much more substantial post in the near future.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back to business as usual

Last Wednesday I attended court with the housing charity I work for as a volunteer. This time at court was however a little different in that on previous occasions I have been accompanied by a solicitor from shelter. Today I ran the session, with the help of a trainee who is only at the stage of taking instructions rather than advocacy.

I personally represented 7 people at court in the space of two and a half hours, with most people going away happy. There was again unfortunately one eviction which I thought was entirely unfair as they had a buyer for the property, but the Judge was unwilling to suspend the warrant because the contracts had not been exchanged.

I did however come up against a strange phenomena which slightly threw me. I will call it the 'over helpful Judge'. Now I'm not saying that having a friendly Judge is a bad thing, but this Judge had her own ideas of exactly what was best for the client, regardless of what my instructions were. In fact in one case I had suggested the exact same solution to the client, but had been turned down, only for it to be accepted when made by the Judge ten minutes later.

I think the problem is is that the Judge is so used to defendants not being represented that she has developed a style in that she becomes both their representative and Judge. A lot of the time my carefully thought out submissions and facts were useless as she proceeded to ask the client all of the questions rather than me. But there we go, the important thing is a good outcome for the client so I can't complain too much.

I have also been asked by the coordinator whether I would be willing to take on the role of a mentor for a future volunteer. This is of course quite a compliment to my own work, but a lot of responsibility. I have agreed as I think that it will be an excellent experience, and will improve my work as I will have to think even more about how I work so that I can pass on best practice to the new volunteer.

Posts to come soon include the result of the elections at my uni, where I am running for a part time executive position, the target pupillage fair, and also the law students dinner at Lincolns Inn that I will be attending in March.

All the very best,


Friday, February 22, 2008

A defence from an unwarranted attack

I suppose in all walks of life you come across people that obviously feel so bad about themselves that they feel the need to belittle and insult people to achieve a feeling of worth and importance. These people do not anger me, but merely invoke feelings of pity and sympathy for the sad little lives that they lead.

The attack which I mention in the title is that which was directed to my choice of favourite books, and more specifically my enjoyment of Harry Potter. We all have guilty pleasures and I am more than happy to admit that I enjoy reading Harry Potter. We are all but human and fallible. However to attack me because I am not pompous and don't fell the need to mention that I have read '100 years of solitude' and 'The unbearable lightness of being' to try and prove that I am intellectual is merely a reflection of your own insecurities.

Favourite reads means exactly that. A subjective question, not based upon your intelligence, but what you enjoy. There are many extremely clever people that will sit down and read a trashy magazine for enjoyment and relaxation, which has no reflection on their intelligence. If 'favourite' is based upon what you enjoy then Harry Potter has given me a lot of enjoyment and deserves to be on my list.

It is quite obvious from the posts left on other blogs that the person who has decided to ridicule me is actually a bit of an idiot. He never has anything nice to say about anyone, and I seriously doubt whether he actually is a barrister. If he is I would imagine he is the one in chambers that nobody likes, receives very few briefs, and generally blames his own failings on everybody else other than him. This is because if he did own up to his own failings he would probably top himself for being such a worthless cretin.

I am sorry regular readers that this is a rather off topic post but I will not be told that I am unworthy of being a barrister purely because I enjoy some lighthearted relaxing reading. The blog will return to my journey to success (hopefully) in the very near future.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Victory for BoB

Loyal bog watchers the results are in for the final of the internal second year mooting competition, and as you may have guessed from the title of this post my partner and I won!!!

It was very close according to the Judge, although I was fairly sure that we had won, and indeed only one point seperated the teams. This did suprise me a little bit, as the other team relied on parts of the judgment in their cases which were given by dissenting judges, or at one point the argument of counsel. When I pointed this out to the judge in my rebuttal, it was met with a smile and a nod which certaintly did great things for my confidence.

Another reason that we won was the other team reading all of their submissions from pre-prepared scripts. So bad was this that even though in my initial submissions I conceded that the appellant could not succeed on a certain grounds, the lead counsel for the respondent spent half of her time explaining to the judge why the appellant could not succeed, because she just followed her script rather than change it.

This victory is however slightly tinged with sadness, as my beloved other half is jetting off to Australia this morning for five months as part of her degree course. On a plus side, my partner and I have been invited to moot externally for the university next year in the ESU mooting competition.

All the best

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Thorny Issue?

As someone who is nearing the point in my university experience when I need to decide which BVC provider to apply for, I have mulled over not just which will be the best but also the whole issue of entry requirements.

Now I don't want to go over old ground, which has been covered in a far better fashion than I ever could by Simon Myerson QC, but I wanted to post on what I personally think is the best option.

I am aware that supposedly you are required to have a 2.2 to get a place on the BVC, but from the impression I get this is not actually true. The first point I will make is why bother with entry criteria if you're not even going to enforce them. I know that BVC providers are businesses looking to make as much cash as possible, but how about thinking of the service you are providing to those poor people that are handing over a wheelbarrow full of money.

Letting in students that are clearly not up to the job not only results in a large number of massively in debt people with little chance of becoming barristers, but it will also impact on my learning experience which is utterly intolerable.

Instead of saying it just has to be a 2.2 (which in its self is pretty low especially seeing as most chambers stipulate a 2.1), why not have an examination before the offering of places based on public speaking and mooting skills, interviews, and some from of exam looking at issues affecting the bar today, ethics, etc.

I am not totally on board with this idea but thought that it would make an interesting post and might start some more discussion. Any tips or inside track concerning different providers would also be of great help. All the best BoB.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Finals of Mooting and new Bar Soc.

I have, as many regular readers will know, been steadily progressing through the internal mooting competition with my partner, and have reached the final. The final will be the 13th of February and is front of a real Judge, and in gowns so all very exciting.

I'm feeling really fired up for this, especially after the disappointment of the Vac scheme interview, and have again been placed in the position of the appellants. I shall obviously let you know the result, but if we win it may be a little while afterwards due to having to nurse a massive hangover.

I have come back this year and am working hard, and have also realised that my degree is half way through. Things will start really going soon when considering BVC provider, funding, scholarship applications, and my first go at the dreaded OLPAS form. To this end it is back o the grindstone to have as impressive a list of exam results, and some more sending off of CV's for mini pupillage's.

In other news I am attending the Target Pupillage fair to talk to chambers, network, and swan around London for a while afterwards. I assume I may see some of you there. The University I attend has also just started up a new Bar Soc, finally, so that we may actually start to see some events specifically for those wishing to qualify as Barristers.

I promise I shall post with something a little more interesting, possibly jumping into the debate concerning the BVC and admission to the course?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy BoB

As I promised here is a round up of my interview at a certain MC firm which took place this morning. I am sure that you are not supposed to enjoy interviews this much, but I can honestly say hand on heart that I felt I gave a very good impression of myself and found it to be a very interesting and stimulating experience.

The morning started with a critical reasoning test. These are a pain in the backside but the firm was good enough to send out a practice paper so that with some study I was able to walk in a lot more confident about it, and felt that I did not embarrassed myself totally.

This was followed by an interview with a member of HR and concentrated on my 'soft skills' (talking to people, handling different situations, being a normal human being!), although the first 15 minutes were spent talking about my military and musical career. Questions included:

Describe a situation where you have recognised a colleague is under pressure and you have resolved it;
Describe a situation where a conflict has arisen and you have dealt with it.

I managed to give some good examples, and asked lots of questions at the end about training and the company ethos, and generally had quite a nice chat.

I was then given a tour with my two competitors, ahem, I mean fellow applicants, and shown all that the building had to offer, including the biggest flat screen television I have ever seen.

The day ended with an interview with a partner who was really nice, and asked me questions set to test my 'commercial awareness'. The scenario was based upon a real estate transaction, which was great as I love Land Law and would love to work in that field, be it at the Bar or as a Solicitor. It also helped that the partner was a property Lawyer and that I had expressed an interest in it on my application form.

So a good day in which I believe I have done well, but could have done better in a few areas like talking about how my time in the Army developed my soft skills, and thought a bit more about the connection between commercial awareness and how it impacts the advice a lawyer gives. I suppose all I can do is wait until the email arrives in my mail box.

In other news I also outdoor clerked on two occasions last just to keep me occupied and in a legal frame of mind, earn some more cash, and do a bit more networking with Barristers.

Monday, January 7, 2008

You can't win them all, but losing still sucks.

My apologies that the first post of the year is such a pessimistic one, and I shall hopefully return to my usual chipper self, presuming that the interview on the 14th goes well.

The reason I am a slightly blue BoB is that I had my first case where the client was served an eviction notice. I will not go in to the details as all information I receive is private and confidential, but suffice to say the interest rate rises coupled with the end of the fixed rate term had left them in an unsustainable position. The only option was to try to achieve as much time as possible to find a buyer.

Although the deputy district judge described my submissions as 'valiant' and told the clients that they could not have been put better, he only gave them 56 days rather than the six months I was asking for. This is however longer than the usual so a small victory from the ashes. The clients were obviously both upset, but thanked me for everything that I had done.

As with all work experience none of it is wasted, and I believe that I have learnt a valuable lesson, firstly about the law, and secondly about myself.

Firstly this has brought into sharp focus the fact that you cannot always win, and that eventually no matter how good you are, the odds will be so stacked against you that you just have to try and achieve something for your client, no matter how small.

Secondly it is has shown me that I am personally capable of dealing with this disappointment, and that I have a strong enough character to take the knocks when they come, pick myself up, and cheerily look forward to my next time in court.

Till next time