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.