Just days after jacking in boy band — and with no traditional qualifications — Zayn Malik has bagged a place at a magic circle chambers
Pop sensation Zayn Malik is to be fast-tracked to a top-flight barristers’ chambers pupillage — despite not even having a university degree.
Legal Cheek can exclusively reveal that bar regulators yesterday gave the former One Direction boy-bander the green light to take a place at magic circle commercial set Essex Court Chambers.
Sources confirm that the Bar Standards Board was keen to waive the standard requirements for pupillage — a university degree, conversion and vocational courses — in a dramatic bid to demonstrate that the bar is open to social diversity.
“BSB officials are desperate for the profession to shed its elitist, Oxbridge image,” said a source close to the regulator. “Selecting someone who was keen and very much part of the contemporary zeitgeist was seen as the best way forward.”
The 22-year-old from Bradford — who was with the band from its origins on ITV’s X-Factor in 2010 until flamboyantly quitting last month — is understood to have had a longstanding interest in the legal profession.
“He was dead keen on programmes like Boston Legal and Judge John Deed when we were kids,” a school friend of Malik told Legal Cheek. “He especially liked the one where the lawyers got kitted out in wigs, because he’s always fancied dressing up and showing off.”
In an intriguing further development to this story which Legal Cheek uncovered at the time of going to press, it is understood that Malik’s chambers pupil master will be none other than former Prime Minister (and ex-barrister) Tony Blair.
Blair’s involvement is believed to have come about through his new Bar Council-backed role as “Envoy for Peace, Justice and Social Mobility at the Bar of England & Wales”, which will see him liaise with Doughty Street Chambers’ Helena Kennedy QC and other top diversity figures.
Malik’s own education pedigree consists of stints at Lower Fields Primary School and Tong High School in Bradford, where he is understood to have completed a GCSE in law. This lack of legal experience is unlikely to hold the ex-One Direction heartthrob back, an Essex Court junior barrister with a triple starred Oxbridge first told Legal Cheek:
“To be honest, you don’t need to know much about law as a top barrister,” said the rookie, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s just about giving the impression that you know what you are doing. The judges are in on it too — most commercial court hearings these days are pure pantomime, full of gibberish and gobbledygook that is made up on the spot. We’re confident Zayn can master this approach going forward.”
Malik’s pupillage award for the year will be £60,000. Indeed, Essex Court Chambers may be near the top end of pupillage remuneration, but the cash will pale in comparison to what Malik is used to — according Forbes magazine, One Direction coined it to the tune of $75 million (£51 million) in 2013-14.
And in another sensational move, it is understood that the Labour Party’s justice frontbench team is scheduled to announce later today that Malik will play a crucial role in one of its general election gambits.
Shadow Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Sadiq Kahn will announce a scheme to be implemented under any future Labour government that will create a non-legally qualified apprenticeship route to the Supreme Court bench.
And Kahn is keen to slot Malik onto an early place on that scheme once he has finished his Essex Court pupillage.
“Zayn has experienced the rough and tumble of the X-Factor judging process,” said a Labour Party insider, “so we think he will already have a firm grasp of core rule of law concepts.”
Malik was unavailable for comment.