The Apprentice: Nottingham grad and ‘qualified barrister’ fired by Lord Sugar

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Elliot Van Emden drew criticism from lawyers over use of professional title

A University of Nottingham graduate who described himself as a “qualified barrister” has been fired from The Apprentice.

Elliot Van Emden has become the third candidate to be given the boot by Lord Sugar after his team was roundly trounced in a robotics task which aired yesterday evening.

The losing candidates this week, Team Vitality, decided to programme and pitch a prototype robot targeting the over 60s. However, a product name change halfway through the task and a marketing board complete with grammatical errors saw them make a measly profit of just £5,785.

Meanwhile, winners Team Graphene punted for an interactive droid that would appeal to young children, and pulled in a whopping £57,827.

Van Emden — who has completed a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and was called to the bar by Middle Temple in 2011 — found himself in the firing line when Team Vitality project manager Michaela Wain brought him into the boardroom to face Lord Sugar’s wrath.

And poor old Van Emden bore the brunt of it. “Elliot, you may be very articulate, you may be very skilled in being able to talk as a barrister, but I think sometimes people come into this process thinking that what they’ll do, is they’ll just sit back and let everybody else fall on their sword,” said Sugar. The crossbench peer continued:

“I think that your demeanour, your manner is just not up my alley. You’re not cut out to be my business partner.”

Van Emden’s departure from the show comes just weeks after he drew criticism from lawyers for describing himself as a “qualified barrister” who owned a “law firm”.

On Twitter, legal blogger Nearly Legal (aka housing lawyer Giles Peaker) claimed that the now ex-Apprentice star’s barrister claim was “naughty”. He also pointed out Bar Standards Board (BSB) rules regarding the use of the term.

On this point, Van Emden told Legal Cheek:

“My occupation on published content shows as either ‘lawyer’ or ‘owner of legal firm’ — both of which are not restricted terms. Finally, any services my firm offers are unreserved activities. At no point in my work do I hold myself out as a barrister. I hope this clarifies the position.”

A Companies House search reveals that Van Emden is registered with a company called Bridgewood Legal Limited, which appears to trade under the name QuickEvictions. Legal Cheek understands that this business assists landlords in removing problem tenants.

A BSB spokesperson told us:

“Unregistered barristers are entitled to refer to themselves as barristers, but our rules prevent them from using that title in connection with offering or providing legal services.”

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