The profession which I am to join in September as a pupil barrister is facing its biggest threat yet. No question about that. That is why today's protest outside parliament is so necessary. I am only sorry that I cannot be there, writes OccupyTheInns.
I must admit that I am finding Australia, where I am recharging my batteries following a period of travel and human rights work, rather difficult to enjoy.
If the truth be told, my mind is elsewhere, far from the fine beaches and abundant wildlife. Barely a day goes by without me checking for news on the situation at home. It is no understatement to say that I am deeply concerned about the assault on legal aid and the impact it will have not just on my future in criminal law, but on justice itself.
Fortunately, my chambers is a good one, sure to push on despite whatever missiles this clown of a non-lawyer Lord Chancellor propels at it from his bunker of ignorance. For this reason I am assured of my short term. Pupillage and the first years as a junior tenant are probably secure. However, beyond that the picture becomes unclear.
As I prepare to commence pupillage at a leading criminal law set in September, the government's assault on the criminal Bar is of great concern to me, writes OccupyTheInns.
Reluctantly, as I have accessed the internet in some very unlikely locations and read the latest developments during a continuing period of travel, I have come to accept that our non-lawyer Lord Chancellor is too out of touch with the workings of the Bar to understand that he is making a grave mistake.
As any lawyer worth their salt knows, the legal aid cuts will cost the taxpayer far, far more than is saved in the short term as thousands of catastrophic litigants in person wreak havoc upon the court system. It is also beyond argument that 'one case one fee' will lead to miscarriage of justice after miscarriage of justice as substandard advocates make blunder after blunder.
However, for a moment set aside the integrity of justice arguments and consider something else...
I have been following the saga involving the Tooks Chambers barristers' pupillage advice event with great interest, writes OccupyTheInns.
The comments from students who attended the event that have appeared on Legal Cheek over the course of the weekend have been rather interesting. Waxing lyrical in their praise of what appears to be a high quality experience, one (see below) even suggested that the original £186 price would have been a fair sum to pay if the event had not been made free-of-charge.
Barrister-to-be OccupyTheInns shares his pupillage hunt wisdom with wannabe solicitors as they prepare to submit their vac scheme application forms before the 31 January deadline.
As I come to the end of an enormously fulfilling period assisting on an international human rights and sustainability project, and find myself looking forward excitedly to taking up pupillage in September, I think often of law students at home struggling to make their way in the world. This is the time, of course, that they must apply for those godforsaken vacation schemes.
I know the challenges facing them all too well having applied for numerous vacation schemes myself – and undertaken one at a very prestigious City law firm – before deciding to follow the path of the barrister. Therefore, I believe that I may be of some assistance...
I see barristers' refusal to embrace diversity monitoring has been described as "embarrassing" and "pathetic". What nonsense, writes pupil barrister-to-be OccupyTheInns. There is absolutely nothing embarrassing or pathetic about declining to disclose highly personal data about oneself. In fact, I regard the Bar’s stance on this matter as something of which to be proud.
Unlike so many areas of society, the Bar stands robustly in the face of faddish winds of change, like an English oak in a field of straw. Do most barristers foolishly "share" every scrap of knowledge they have, as new social norms tell us we must through the likes of Facebook? No. Thought in greater measure must occur, before acts a barrister...
OccupyTheInns argues that the recent increase of Oxbridge representation among pupil barristers is bad news for the Bar
I found it awfully sad to read in the latest Bar Barometer that pupillage numbers have fallen again, but I believe I was even more saddened by another finding: the increase in the percentage of pupils who had studied at Oxford and Cambridge. The figure has risen from 23.7% in 2010 to 34.5% in the most recent tally-up.
For the life of me I have never understood this obsession with what is popularly known as ‘Oxbridge’. Perhaps this national fixation would make sense if no other universities existed in this country other than polytechnics, but that is patently not the case. Britain has a plethora of centres of excellence for undergraduate learning, at the head of which lies the Russell Group...
OccupyTheInns disagrees with the call made by Mr Justice Burton at Saturday's Young Bar Conference to make more pupillages available
Almost a year has passed since I launched my campaign urging Bar graduates without a pupillage to show their dissatisfaction by peacefully occupying the Inns of Court.
At the time I was an angry young man, consumed by the injustice of having completed the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) only to be left without a place at chambers to call my own. In a way, I suppose I was the sort of person about whom Mr Justice Burton warned at the junior Bar conference over the weekend when he said that BPTC graduates left in the cold will become the Bar’s "enemy".