Inner Temple's work experience initiative is infused with the spirit of the Occupy movement, writes OccupyTheInns
Well done to the Inner Temple! I know that this may seem like a strange sentence coming from somebody who advocated a campaign to occupy the Inns of Court just months ago, but I am really rather impressed by the Pegasus Access Scheme Inner launched this week to encourage greater social diversity at the Bar.
With 100 less privileged students expected to do the scheme in September, the atmosphere of the Inns of Court will certainly change for the rowdier that month. In its own way it will be rather similar to the occupation scene that I envisaged in November...
In reality, the capital's lawyers are no better than their regional counterparts, says The Law Horse
A discussion on the #RoundMyKitchenTable podcast (24 February 2011) may have caught your ear. It caught mine.
At 21:17 of the podcast, Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge stumbled into specious territory: “If you want to talk about the hierarchies [of chambers] let’s be blunt…The regions, there’s no doubt, are in status terms below London,” he said. It is a refrain since taken up by others on this site.
Alex raised the matter only in terms of status. He did not say that barristers practising outside London are less capable than their capital cousins. But to state that the provincial Bar is “below” the London Bar is not so many steps short of arguing that those who live beyond the M25 are subject to an inferior standard of justice.
Elevating London above all else is misguided; it is the misguided thinking that a London-centric Inns of Court system inculcates in each and every prospective barrister. Attending the various dining sessions, one could be forgiven for assuming that everyone was a London local. The well-meaning refrain “Why don’t you pop by for lunch?” grates like a Paxman accent in the ears of those forced to travel from farther afield.
But deserved or not, London does enjoy a reputational bias. The question is why...
The title of non-practising barrister needs to be given more weight to reflect Bar school graduates' educational achievements, argues OccupyTheInns
In his Legal Cheek article last week Simon Myerson QC referred to me as an “anonymous paralegal”. This was saddening because Mr Myerson – whose work I had hitherto regarded with the upmost respect – should know that those who have been called to the Bar (as I was fortunate enough to have been last summer) receive the title of ‘barrister’. If a renowned QC cannot get such detail correct, what hope is there for humbler members of the legal profession and legal support staff?
One of the most frustrating aspects of my present predicament, which involves me performing solicitor-level tasks professionally, is the insistence of many in referring to me as a paralegal despite my being a barrister – albeit a non-practising one until I obtain pupillage. My barrister friends currently engaged in the fiendishly difficult hunt for a pupillage have had similar experiences.
When BBC series MasterChef set its contestants the task of cooking a qualifying session dinner at Middle Temple, it knew it would be a stern test.
With 230 barristers to feed – including two Supreme Court judges, three Lord Justices of Appeal, four High Court judges and 26 QCs – the culinary hopefuls slaved away for over eight hours to prepare their three course fine-dining experience.
Asked in last night's episode of the show how they enjoyed the food – which was delivered by the exhausted wannabes despite a couple of significant behind-the-scenes mishaps – most barristers issued generous praise.
As the cost of doing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) rises another notch to £16,540 following a further round of fee hikes by law schools, cash-strapped Camilla Duchess of Cornwall has been made a barrister for free.
Upon receiving the award in a ceremony last night at Gray’s Inn, the Mon Fertile Finishing School alumnus said: "I think it's very important to keep everything sort of ticking."
The Duchess follows in the footsteps of her husband, Prince Charles, and her step son, William Saviour of the Falkland Islands, in attaining elite legal status. Charles was called to the Bar, also at Gray’s Inn, in 1975, while William was made an honorary barrister by Middle Temple in 2009. None will ever practise, although William hilariously quipped that he may pull on a wig to deal with “the odd speeding ticket.”
Unable to secure a pupillage in London, Shafik Cassim has had more luck in Mauritius
This time last year, I was drafting yet another list of places to apply for pupillage in England and Wales. Little did I know then that I’d find myself doing my pupillage on the beautiful island of Mauritius.
Actually, it wasn’t such a shock. I was born and raised in Mauritius. But with dual British nationality, I had moved several years ago to London to study law; first at undergraduate level, then via an LLM in public international law, before completing the Bar Vocational Course (now the Bar Professional Training Course).
Afterwards, I decided to stay in the UK and attempt to secure pupillage in one of London’s top sets – a quest that proved not unlike chasing the holy grail. After a couple of years of reading rejection letters, I decided to come back to Mauritius, where I secured a pupillage at one of the island’s top sets and was called to the Mauritian Bar.
Why do the Inns of Court make public their combined £4.7m scholarship fund, but refuse to disclose the revenue they generate from their massive property portfolios? Inner Temple recruitment manager Anthony Dursi sheds some light on this bugbear of journalist Alex Aldridge, while corporate lawyer Kevin Poulter wonders out loud whether anyone really cares.
There's also inside info on Inns scholarships. Which Inns interview all applicants? Which award according to need? Which award on merit only?
Plus Dursi, Aldridge and Poulter share their contrasting views on Occupy London's plan to conduct mock trials of bankers in a disused Old Street coutroom. And Dursi reveals how Inner Temple felt about last year's bid by a disgruntled law graduate to occupy the Inns of Court.
For #RoundMyKitchenTable on iTunes, click here.
For a transcript of the podcast, click here.
Transcript provided by Stretlaw.com Your access to Legal Education, 2011