Bar graduate Adam Fellows isn't convinced doing a masters degree is a good way to land a trainee legal job
One option for law graduates without a training contract or a pupillage is to study for a masters. Universities have offered LLMs for a long time. More recently, the big name course providers such as BPP and the College of Law have moved into the LLM market. The latest instalment in this developing area is BPP’s new MA in Law and Business, which will allow graduates of its Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) to gain a masters in as little as 15 weeks.
The process involves the study of modules covering business strategy, management, finance and analysis. It costs, in addition to the LPC or BPTC fees, £3,650. The hope is that law firms and chambers will see this new course as giving graduates an extra string to their bow. In law firms, a good sense of business is as essential to a successful career as a good sense of the law. And with chambers being encouraged to enter into alternative business structures as a way to preserve the bar, such skills and knowledge may be useful to someone entering the junior end of the profession.
Adam Fellows considers the discrepancies between pupil earnings, and asks whether the Bar should bring back unfunded pupillages
At Legal Cheek, the matter of pupillages has been getting a lot of attention recently. Two posts by jobless Bar graduate OccupyTheInns - one about ways of showing dissatisfaction with the lack of pupillages and training contracts, and a subsequent piece about how this could be rectified - have both received some fairly damning comments.
I do not agree with the posts myself. However, I am enormously sympathetic with the thrust of them, and it is easy to see that Bar students, and those still awaiting pupillage, feel that the Bar Council and Bar Standards Board (BSB) have given up on resolving the issue of oversupply of graduates and undersupply of pupillages. But it is a complex matter.
Which is why when I saw the report about the increase in the Wilberforce Chambers pupillage award - from £48,000 to £65,000 - I knew exactly what I was going to write about this week. The reasoning behind it is that the set, quite rightly, wants to attract the best brains to supplement its current members. Yet the amount stuck firmly in my mind.
The disconnect between the legal profession and school children is a hindrance to diversity, argues Adam Fellows
Earlier this year, I spent a day going from school to school in Cambridge giving talks to children about protecting their personal information online. Considering I know I wouldn't make a good teacher, I really enjoyed doing my bit on ‘Data Protection Day’, and would thoroughly recommend that type of pro bono work to other aspiring lawyers as ‘Data Protection Day’ 2012 approaches. I found talking about the law to other people and explaining the intricacies of it really helped to solidify my own understanding.
As part of the talk I gave, I asked if anyone had any questions about the law as a career, and specifically the Bar. I wasn't quite expecting the reactions I received.
Adam Fellows explains the eccentric world of the inns of court
Despite the size of London, I always seem to bump into people I wouldn’t expect to see. Idly checking Facebook one day while I was tidying up at work, I saw an old university friend had ‘checked into’ Lincoln’s Inn. I sent her a message asking her what she was doing. She responded that she had since moved on to check out the Temple Church and was enjoying a drink in a bar called Pegasus. I told her to wait there, as Inner Temple is my Inn and I was planning on heading to Pegasus anyway after work.
After the usual exchange of ‘so how have you been?’, she asked me what the Inn was about. I explained very poorly, “This is one of the four institutions where that trained people in the skills required of barristers. They don’t really do that anymore, but you still have to join an Inn to become a barrister.”
Bar graduate Adam Fellows on why, in spite of the odds, he’s determined to land a pupillage
Earlier this month, a few of my colleagues and I went to the Bar Council to take part in an evidence gathering session to feed into a review of the pupillage application system. The online application system has been overhauled over the past few years, and chambers change their minds every year as to whether they want to be a part of it, or not. However, regardless of their membership of the Pupillage Portal, each chambers asks the same question, “why do you want to be a barrister?” The question typically allows 150 words. Thinking about it, the focus of the question can change a lot depending upon where you put the stress on the sentence.