Bar Social Mobility Week: Northerners Need Not Apply

This week is Bar social mobility placement week, with 69 high-achieving students from low-performing state schools getting to spend a few days hanging out in the Inns of Court with barristers and judges. Sadly, though, the scheme is only open to students in London schools, automatically precluding wannabe barristers from many of the poorest areas… Read more »

Minimum Pupillage Award ‘Limits Flow Of Talent To The Bar’

Keep the minimum wage for trainee solicitors, but scrap it for pupil barristers, argues OccupyTheInns The thorny issue of the minimum wage for pupils and trainees has been raising its troublesome head recently. Firstly one unfortunate BPTC graduate found his claim that the minimum pupillage award is racist dismissed unceremoniously. And then came this nonsense… 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 »

Through The Keyhole: Lincoln’s Inn Student Accommodation

City University BPTC student Jack Smith welcomes Legal Cheek duo Alex Aldridge and Kevin Poulter into his Lincoln’s Inn home – obtained thanks to the scholarship he bagged from the famous Inn. Like a Japanese tourist on his first visit to London, Aldridge insists on filming everything. The unique footage of smith’s flat, nestled in… Read more »

Killing Time In Pre-Pupillage Purgatory

Pupillage-less prospective barrister Jack Smith is wary of forking out yet more cash on a masters, but daunted by the challenge of landing quality interim legal employment in a difficult market With only a few exams and assessments before the end of the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), thoughts have turned recently to what the… Read more »

How To Get An Inns Of Court Scholarship

BPTC student Jack Smith, who’s in receipt of a full scholarship from Lincoln’s Inn, explains what to do – and what not to do – to get your hands on some Inns of Court treasure It’s that time of year again. Hundreds of budding barristers are currently waiting to hear whether they are among the… Read more »

Bar Social Mobility Scheme Strikes Blow For The 99%

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… 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 »

Bar Should Be Restricted To Russell Group Graduates

Why incur the cost and hassle of an aptitude test to limit entry onto the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) when there is a far easier solution, asks OccupyTheInns This week the Law Society warned the Bar off introducing an aptitude test to restrict entry onto the BPTC. You may not expect this from a… Read more »

Pupillage In The Provinces? Thanks, But No Thanks

London-based pupillage hunter OccupyTheInns thinks taking a position in the regions could be a bad move As time goes by, a dilemma that I find myself increasingly fighting with is whether I would consider pupillage in the provinces. I am well aware that there are many highly robust chambers outside London, where some impressive members… Read more »

Becoming a QC: Easy as £4,200 inc VAT

The congratulations email received by today’s new QCs comes with…a bill for £4,200 (inclusive of VAT), plus a £215 ‘Letters Patent Fee’, taking the total sum payable by the legal hotshots to a cool £4,415. And when’s it due? ‘Immediately’. A copy of the email is below.

Who Are You Calling a Paralegal?

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 –… Read more »

Lord Justice of Appeal Slams MasterChef Hopefuls

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… 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 »

#RoundMyKitchenTable Exam Special: How Do You Revise And Apply For Jobs?

Taking a rare break from revising for his Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) exams, barrister-to-be Jack Smith travels east to join Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge and employment law whiz Kevin Poulter around a Hackney kitchen table (pictured). “How do you get the balance right between studying and devoting sufficient time to pupillage applications?” Aldridge… Read more »

Time For Barristers To Put Hands in Their Pockets

Pupillage should be the test for Bar wannabes, not interviews – and wealthy barristers should pay, argues OccupyTheInns Rarely have I found myself nodding as fiercely in agreement as yesterday when I read Andrew Jackson’s proposal to raise the minimum pupillage award by having barristers effectively compelled to pay £3 a day towards the training… Read more »

Bar Overplays The Independence Card

Gratuitous individuality threatens to hold chambers back at critical period for the legal market, writes barristers’ clerk Jeremy Hopkins On Monday the listed Australian law firm Slater & Gordon kicked off the Legal Services Act (LSA) era in earnest when it announced its market-wowing £54m acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker. Amid all the excitement… 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 »

Son of ‘End of Lawyers’ Author Susskind is…a Law Student

Like the popular astrologist Shelley von Strunckel, legal futurologist Richard Susskind OBE makes his living from relaying information about the future to ordinary people. However, while von Strunckel’s forecasts are famously upbeat, Susskind’s (pictured) predictions frequently contain apparitions of doom. In his recent book, ‘The End of Lawyers?’, the decorated legal guru foresees “a future… Read more »

Barrister Rebuked for Impersonating Top QC

Yesterday the High Court dismissed barrister David Leathley’s appeal against the Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) finding that he had “intentionally claimed to be Mr Joel Bennathan QC”. Here’s the back-story. In 2007, Leathley (pictured) of Cambria Chambers in Cardiff pretended to be Joel Bennathan QC, of Tooks Chambers in London, in a bid to contact… Read more »

Don’t Believe the Law School Scholarship Hype

Yesterday a press release from the College of Law appeared in my inbox, headed COLLEGE OF LAW LAUNCHES SCHOLARSHIPS FOR BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course) STUDENTS. An hour or so later I noticed Lawyer2B had published it as a news story. Now, usually when journalists write on-diary news they tone down the frequently hyperbolic tone… Read more »


Follow @FellowsAdam 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… 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 »