The now notorious £186 'How to get a pupillage' event being put on by two Tooks Chambers barristers has been made completely free. The news follows Legal Cheek's exclusive story on Friday which revealed that Tooks duo Naeem Mian and Sultana Tafadar are directors of the company behind the event, Osbourne McKenna Limited...
At first, GDL student Anastasia Steal doubts the wisdom of Christopher Grey QC's insistence that she complete her mini-pupillage with him on a Sunday, but pretty soon she finds herself having the best day of her life.
As I walked through Gray’s Inn, I caught my reflection in a puddle that had gathered from last night’s storm. God I looked so tired, so mousy, so...grey. "He’s so out of my league," I whispered to myself as I arrived outside the splendid Georgian exterior of Gray’s Inn Chambers.
"You’re late," came a voice from behind me I knew all too well already, its velvety tones echoing around Gray’s Inn.
"But it’s 8.55, you said 9am," I responded, my voice quivering.
"Exactly," said Mr Gray, a trace of what seemed like a smile forming momentarily on his lips – oh those lips! – before vanishing again.
There was a pause as we looked at each for a fraction of a second too long. Then Mr Grey spoke again:
"There's been a slight issue with the entry code to chambers. This being Sunday, it seems I'm unable to gain access. But no matter. I shall take you on a tour of the Inns of Court instead, while relaying to you my professional successes that have taken me this far. Do you have a pen and paper with which to take notes?"
As I approached Mr Grey's chambers, I tried to pull myself together. But it was no use.
I shouldn’t even have been here. My GDL course-mate, who writes a blog for Lawyer2B, was ill with a fever, and I said I’d step in to help out with her latest piece – an interview with Christopher Grey QC, one of the country’s most famous barristers. Why was I so nervous?
Entering Gray's Inn Chambers, I was struck by the beautiful furnishings of the interior, the wallpaper’s Laura Ashley pattern blazing a mark on my soul that immediately etched into a permanent scar as the view from the far window caught my gaze. “What gardens!” I sighed to myself.
Then I spotted the watercolours – a series of glorious depictions of Gray’s Inn gardens through the seasons.
“The winter scene is my favourite,” said a husky baritone that came from behind me. Startled, I spun around.
It's that time of year again. Hundreds of budding barristers are currently waiting to hear whether they are among the lucky few who receive prestigious scholarships from one of the four Inns of Court.
Students from all backgrounds are finding it difficult to fund the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), which at London providers can cost upwards of £16,500 for September 2012 entry. Some may dip into savings, take out commercial bank loans, and perhaps pay a visit to the Bank of Mum and Dad. Those who are fortunate enough to have pupillage may also be able to take advantage of a pupillage award advance draw-down. These sources notwithstanding, the fact remains: the BPTC year is an extremely expensive year.
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 asks of Smith – who got a first in his law degree and is in receipt of a full scholarship from Lincoln’s Inn – while Poulter snoozes in the corner, nursing an appalling hangover after yet another night out on the town.
“Students these days, they have it so easy...” he mutters from time to time, before perking up at Aldridge’s mention of Camilla Duchess of Cornwall – one of a tiny handful of celebrities who Kevin (pictured with close pal Gok Wan) has yet to meet.
Is it right that Camilla was awarded the title of honorary barrister by Gray’s Inn on Wednesday? Aldridge thinks not (and blogging law student Little Explorer, who was at the ceremony to watch Camilla net her latest title, is similarly sceptical).
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.”