For most people, summer means festivals and perhaps a few weeks in Ibiza. Not so for BPTC graduates. No, for us masochistic souls, summer is interview time. It is not always an easy period – and can be made more difficult by chambers’ behaviour towards those who they interview, writes @OccupyTheInns.
Recently, I attended an interview a good way north of London. When I arrived there, I was granted a mere 15 minutes to present the case in favour of myself gaining pupillage. No reimbursement was provided towards my train fare, which cost in the region of £80.
After I had returned home, and received a letter notifying me that I had not been successful, I requested feedback on my performance at interview. Rather disappointingly I was informed that no feedback provided was provided for first round interviews. After making such a large outlay to attend that interview, both in terms of cost and time, this is simply unacceptable.
Of course, it is well-known that many barristers’ chambers are undergoing a difficult moment at present, as legal aid funding continues to fall and the lure of solicitor-advocates grows stronger by the day. As a result, chambers are unlikely to be sympathetic to calls to provide interview expenses and feedback. This is why I believe that the system must change, with the out-dated first round/second round interview procedure replaced with a single interview.
This would not only allow candidates a fair chance to demonstrate their strengths to chambers – which is nigh on impossible to do in a quarter of an hour – but increase the likelihood of chambers providing feedback. Who knows, some may even be so generous enough to lend a helping hand with train fares.
OccupyTheInns graduated from the BPTC last summer, and was called to the Bar in July 2011. There's more from OccupyTheInns here.