After finally securing a pupillage over the summer, OccupyTheInns returns to offer his words of wisdom to students commencing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) this month
Amongst the celebrations, late nights out and long brunches I have enjoyed since obtaining pupillage last month, one thought has kept returning to my mind: how can I constructively use the knowledge and experience that I have gained during this hellish quest to help others as they embark on their Bar studies?
Often an idea has popped into my head, perhaps a nugget of wisdom that I wish I had known when I started out on this path, and where possible I have procured a pen and written this information down. The following advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience, but it may just come in rather useful...
Last week, David Cameron’s former chief-of-staff, Alex Deane, explained to Legal Cheek why he tired of the genteel poverty of the criminal Bar – and eventually quit. Will things work out differently for this week’s guest, 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings pupil barrister Stephanie Wookey (pictured), who joins Bircham Dyson Bell solicitor Kevin Poulter (pictured) and Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge on this week's #RoundMyKitchenTable podcast?
As she comes to the end of her pupillage this month, Cardiff University graduate Wookey is preparing for a return to being a student – via a masters at Queen’s College, Cambridge, which she’ll begin in October. In an unconventional move, Wookey will continue as a “door pupil” at 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings, picking up bits and pieces of work to help fund her masters, then hopefully return to a tenancy.
Hope is gradually fading for this year's batch of BPTC graduates without pupillages as the end of the window for barristers' chambers to make job offers approaches. Anybody sans pupillage offer by 2pm tomorrow is going to have to wait until the Pupillage Portal application system re-opens next year.
In the meantime, it's possible to still feel like a barrister...
During the past year the light at the end of the tunnel grew so dim on occasions that I could barely make out its glow. There were times when I considered abandoning my quest altogether and settling for a life in another field, writes BPTC graduate OccupyTheInns.
At other junctures, I thought about plotting different paths to my goal. Indeed I was on the verge of crossing the Atlantic to study further in the US before something rather wonderful happened.
I am delighted to inform you that I have obtained pupillage.
There has been good news recently for several Legal Cheek contributors – three of whom have bagged pupillages and one a training contract. Congratulations to them all!
This week’s podcast guest, Bar graduate Gemma Amran, has also done pretty well for herself, netting a prestigious position at the European Commission in Brussels, from where she arrives at Legal Cheek’s sumptuous Hackney studios hot off the Eurostar.
As Gemma has documented in a couple of excellent recent blogs, she’s happy with her lot, and has decided to bring her quest to become a barrister to a close – having completed the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) in 2010.
Some students, however, keep battling away to fulfil their lawyer dreams for years. At face value, their persistence is admirable, but becoming a pupil or trainee also involves going back to square one to an extent – often with less status and money than the jobs that they have taken in the meantime...
There was widespread disbelief earlier this year when, for the first time in its three-year history, Pupillage Portal didn’t go down in the run up to the April 26 pupillage application deadline.
And there was more shock today when the site – which is rumoured to have been designed by Lord Neuberger during an introduction to the internet class – kept working as chambers made their pupillage offers.
But in facilitating this impressive outcome, the elite team of operatives responsible for maintaining Pupillage Portal let a couple of other things slip...
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