Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Food glorious food...

Despite previous reservations voiced by some over the quality of food at Middle Temple, the dinner laid on for this years scholars was indeed glorious. Foie Gras, Sea Bass, a strawberry something for dessert, and a superb cheese board were accompanied by a rather splendid selection of wines and rounded off by coffee and a rather decent port.
I had a very interesting and enjoyable time talking to the barristers around me and the scholar that was sitting opposite. I also had the great pleasure of meeting Lost London Law Student, who has also blogged about his experiences at last nights dinner.
One particularly useful piece of information from last night was an answer to whether or not I should include my political experience on pupillage applications. I have for the past two years stood as a local election candidate for one of the big two parties (not monster raving loony party as some may think), although never in a winnable seat, only as a paper candidate.
Now, I am at this moment applying to some of the chambers which do not subscribe to the Pupillage Portal and have later cut off dates. One of these chambers specialises in housing, property, and public law issues that arise from housing and property. Both of these areas include a lot of dealing with local authorities and councils. Because of my involvement in local elections I have a very good knowledge of which council (local or county) has authority over which decisions within the area, and how the councils come to a decision on issues such as planning etc.
I am however slightly worried whether or not political involvement is a good thing. The QC sat next to me had this advice:
  • Generally this type of involvement will be looked upon favourably as it shows confidence, ability to talk to people, specialist knowledge etc;
  • Some chambers may take against you depending upon the colour of your politics, for example a heavily human rights orientated social issues driven set may reject you if you are a Conservative;
  • Chambers may be worried that you have ambitions to be an MP and will clear off in five years, thus not making a particularly good investment of time and money;
  • The best thing to do would be to put it in but not mention which party, and include a line stating that you have no future political plans.

I am not sure how many other people will find this useful but there may be some who do.

The evening finished with Lost and I heading over to the Olde Bank of England on Fleet Street with a rather drunk and slightly objectionable fellow scholar who also did not fancy finishing the night drinking lemon barley water (?) in the smoking room. The opportunities to talk to other people were limited anyway as all three of us were male, which held no interest for the mainly older male members of the Inn that were still there.

So all in all a brilliant night, and a wonderful way to start the next phase of my journey to the bar and beyond. All the best