Bar Standards Board

Unfunded pupillages are back

For ten years now, it has been compulsory for chambers to pay their pupils. But it’s still possible to get round the rule if a Bar Standards Board (BSB) waiver is obtained — as Regent Chambers has just proved… From Pupillage Gateway, here is Stoke-based Regent Chambers’ ad for a 12 month unfunded pupillage commencing… Read more »

Why do wannabe barristers have to accept their BPTC place before they know if they’ve got an Inns scholarship?

The conventional wisdom is that students are unwise to do the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) without a scholarship, writes anonymous barrister-to-be Bar Trek. Indeed, on Legal Cheek it has been argued that the Inns of Court scholarship process functions as an unofficial Bar aptitude test. There’s some truth in this, but it ignores a… Read more »

BPTC Language Test Fudge Leaves Bar Hopefuls Mystified

Surprisingly, non-native English speakers don’t have to sit a language test to gain admission to the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). Lucy Pether investigates To the uninitiated, this country’s quirky system of legal education is deeply confusing. This rule applies not just to the bigger picture, but also to the details, with the level of… Read more »

Is It OK For Barristers To Call Their Client a ‘Slag’?

This morning, I tweeted a story about a barrister who’d described his client as a “slag”. Referring to a CCTV film of the client lifting her skirt and flirting with three men who she is then alleged to have taken to murder her wealthy husband, Stuart Rafferty QC stated in his closing speech: “You’ve all… Read more »

Don’t Fancy The BPTC? Well, You Could Try Nicknaming Yourself ‘Barrister’ Instead

My favourite character in the media storm that has embraced embattled Tory peer Baroness Warsi is ‘Barrister’ Abid (full name Abid Hussein), the Baroness’s Walthamstow-based business partner. When he’s not working on projects with Warsi, Abid – who graduated in law from Sheffield Hallam University – is a ‘third sector and external funding manager’ at… Read more »

BPP Law School CEO Says Avoid Criminal Bar; Bar Council Chief Voices ‘Great Concern’ At Number Of Barrister Wannabes – Yet Still Students Keep Flocking To The BPTC

On Sunday BPP Law School chief executive Peter Crisp became the latest – and most unlikely – person to (indirectly) lend his voice to the growing chorus of warnings against doing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). Speaking to The Sunday Times(£), Crisp said that he does “not advise going into criminal practice at the… Read more »

Complain About The BSB At Your Peril, Bar Students – ‘Independent’ Complaints Body Is Chaired By BSB Member

A recent article, ‘EXCLUSIVE: BPTC Students Point Finger At Bar Standards Board Following ‘Disastrous’ And ‘Unfair’ Exams’, elicited over 40 comments from Bar students. Many of them were highly critical of the Bar Standards Board (BSB), which is responsible for appointing the members of the central examination board that set the aforementioned ‘disastrous’ and ‘unfair’… Read more »

Apprentice Star Sparks Daily Mail Pupillage Coffee-Making Row

“If you had someone trained as a barrister, you wouldn’t have them running round making coffee all day – it’s demeaning,” Apprentice winner (and former banker) Stella English told the Daily Mail on Monday, having quit her new role because she wasn’t given enough responsibility. Au contraire, Stella. Rookie barristers make lots of coffee –… Read more »

‘I’m Worried Having a Blog Could Repel Chambers’

King’s College law student Yi Bin Woh reckons Lord Neuberger’s recent warning to judges about the dangers of courting publicity applies to wannabe lawyers, too I won’t lie: I like blogging. Not blawging in the semi-journalistic sense. I’m referring to personal blogging. You see, I like the cathartic effect of writing with complete abandon. I… Read more »

Legal Profession Is ‘Bedazzled By The Legend Of London’

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… Read more »

‘Solicitor Advocates Are Destroying The Junior Bar’

If advocacy is your calling, don’t try to force the creation of a single, merged profession – join the Bar, urges anonymous barrister The Law Horse It is easy to be magnanimous when you are winning. Two weeks ago, Julian Young fired a calculated broadside in The Guardian at the Bar’s attitude towards solicitor advocates,… Read more »

Legal Blogging’s Princess Diana Moment

The Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) striking off of legal blogging pioneer David Harris last week caused quite a stir. Tributes flowed in for the ex-barrister whose witty and wild blog, GeekLawyer, won acclaim in the UK and internationally. Assuming the Earl Spencer role in the affair was retired BPP Law School lecturer Mike Semple Piggot,… Read more »

BSB Finally Suspends £81K Theft Barrister – Before He Appears For Client In Front Of Judge Due To Sentence Him

In the last few hours the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has belatedly suspended David Friesner, a barrister awaiting sentencing for theft, who Legal Cheek exclusively revealed on Friday has been representing clients while on bail. The decision has been partly brought about by the actions of Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland, who today demanded answers… Read more »

EXCLUSIVE: £81K Theft Barrister is STILL PRACTISING While On Bail Awaiting Sentencing

A barrister awaiting sentencing after admitting stealing £81,500 from his former chambers represented a client two days ago in Bradford Crown Court, Legal Cheek can exclusively reveal. Earlier this month, on Thursday 12 January, David Friesner (pictured) was told by a judge to expect a “substantial” prison sentence, and handed unconditional bail until 10 February…. Read more »

Barrister’s Error Sees Torturers Escape Jail

As the case of fake kidnap solicitor Francis Bridgeman (pictured) illustrates, lawyers sometimes make big, weird mistakes when they’re off duty. But it’s the minor fuck-ups that happen in the course of their work that tend to cause the most damage. Today it emerged that a Manchester barrister’s blunder saw three friends who tortured a… Read more »

Sloppy Reporting Obscures Bar’s True Pupillage Problems

A contributing factor towards lack of diversity at the Bar, and the oversupply of wannabe barristers, is poor reporting of the issues by the legal press, says Alex Aldridge For journalists, stats-based pieces can be a pain, because they require meticulousness and frequently more work than straight reporting of events. Often you just don’t have… Read more »


Follow @AlexAldridgeUK As the Christmas party season gets underway, Alex Aldridge is expecting great things from the litigators Everyone knows it’s the litigators who are the crazy ones. A quick browse of the Bar Standards Board’s wonderful rogue gallery of barristers confirms that millimetres below the respectable surface of the Inns of Court reigns barely-containable… Read more »

#RoundMyKitchenTable: LAWYERS AND PR

      Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge, whose flat’s central heating is broken, turns on his oven in a bid to warm up his kitchen sufficiently for guests Rachel Podolak, communications manager of the Bar Standards Board (BSB), and Elizabeth Mercer, public relations adviser at Pinsent Masons, a City law firm that also publishes… Read more »


Follow @FellowsAdam 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… Read more »