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Former Supreme Court president in ‘visit state schools’ Facebook campaign

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#MeetALawyer

Lord Neuberger at a recent state school visit

Lord Neuberger has said ‘tag, you’re it’ in a new Facebook video urging judges and lawyers to visit state schools and sixth form colleges. The video encourages those who take up the challenge to share photos of the experience on social media.

In a piece to camera posted on new Facebook page Access 2 Lawyers, ex-Supreme Court president Neuberger says:

“Throughout my career, I always thought it really important that judges and lawyers encourage people who otherwise might not think of it of becoming lawyers, so we have a more diverse profession.”

Now in retirement, Neuberger is putting this into action. As revealed by Legal Cheek, the former judge spent two days in January visiting non-Russell Group universities and state schools to speak to the students about his career and the profession.

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In the run-up to his trip to schools in Yorkshire and the Midlands, Neuberger told us: “It helps pupils and students understand how our constitution works and why the rule of law is so important. It also gives them information about a career in the law. And it makes the law a little less remote.”

Now, initial visits complete, Neuberger is urging other lawyers to follow in his footsteps. In the video, he says:

“I would encourage every judge and every lawyer of whatever level to visit a state school or a sixth form college at least once a year to talk to the pupils about the law and above all a career in the law. It’s a really worthwhile exercise.”

The video, also posted on Twitter, ends with a segment by Ammar Khan, a recent University of Exeter graduate who is soon to begin a training contract at CMS.

Khan became friends with the ex-Supreme Court head honcho after meeting at a work experience placement, and even gave a speech at Neuberger’s honorary degree ceremony in Exeter. Khan encourages lawyers who do go back to school to share their photos using the #MeetALawyer hashtag.

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34 Comments

Trendspotter 5000

Imagine a former SC Justice hanging out with a CMS rookie.

It’s like the Lady and the Tramp.

(10)(5)

Anonymous

Well, public school and private school idiots have fu(ked up the country for long enough might as well give state school people the chance, honestly, it couldn’t get much worse.

(2)(3)

Guardian of the constitution

Eton has produced at least six excellent prime ministers. no state school has ever done so

(5)(2)

Anonymous

That’s less than 30%, not exactly alpha. If you went into an exam an produced 6 excellent answers to 19 questions you’d still fail the exam.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

All the most significant people in history and in society today have been privately educated. That should hardly be a surprise.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Given universal education is a recent phenomenon, your post is facile.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

The idea of David Nueberger giving advice to anyone is, quite frankly, risible.

(5)(6)

Critical Thinker

It’s nothing like the ice bucket challenge, Katie, and I actually think that an enormously condescending thing to say.

Visiting a state school is not a challenge, it’s not unpleasant – it’s something many people are keen to do. Interaction with comprehensive school pupils should not be compared to pouring freezing water over oneself – it is interaction with ordinary human adolescents, and quite possibly bright and ambitious ones.

Of course, some individuals don’t particularly want to do things like that, because they don’t like public speaking (or similar) and I think that’s fine as well, but many would be keen. To the extent that this is not already widely done, that is in most cases due to the usual unfortunate time constraints on modern professionals, rather than some kind of aversion akin to the natural urge to avoid antarctic temperatures.

Neuberger is, I suppose, right to urge people to do school visits where possible, although he seems to be a bit grandstanding in his approach, as if this is somehow a new or bold idea. Legalcheek seem only to have grasped the latter aspect of the whole thing, and therefore this “story” is the usual tripe.

It really would not be difficult to improve.

(16)(6)

Unoffended former state school pupil

It must be exhausting being you.

They are asking people to use social media to share images of themselves doing a particular activity whilst using a hashtag, with the hope that it will gain momentum and encourage more people to engage.

Like the ice bucket challenge famously did.

(8)(3)

Critical Thinker

I’m also a former state school pupil, for what it’s worth, though I don’t think that has any bearing on the relative merit of my opinion of the issue.

It must be exhausting being simultaneously unoffended by being patronised, yet outraged that someone else feels patronised.

(2)(4)

The Rolling Stone

I’m also a former state school pupil, for what it’s worth.

I think it must be exhausting being offended by someone being unoffended by being patronised, who is nevertheless outraged that someone else feels patronised.

(4)(0)

Gathering Moss

I am a former state school student.
I’m exhausted reading this thread.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

We are the 93%

(1)(2)

Not Amused

I’m pretty sure that it is possible to both do good things AND avoid being a colossal narcissist.

Visiting state schools is a good thing to do and extremely rewarding. It is important to demystify law and lawyers – particularly as so many lawyers seem to take themselves far too seriously without apparently understanding how damaging that is. For example, some lawyers even insist on using their titles rather than their first names – like normal people (including normal people with titles) do … and it would probably help if that were to stop outside the courtroom.

It is not a good idea to make a massive fuss on social media about how heroic you are because you visited a school. Firstly it is not a big deal and people need to be encouraged to go to multiple schools, not given the idea that one visit leads to instant beatification. Secondly it is extremely important that the state school pupils are not treated as some ‘other’ to be voyeuristicly observed.

(12)(1)

Anonymous

I do CSR for images purposes. Wimmin from the office that see me do it are slightly more likely to fuck me.

(7)(1)

Adam Deen

#MAGA

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Visiting state schools is a good idea just to give sensible advice about getting into law (e.g. “don’t do law A-level”) which will be less available to students from a lower socioeconomic background.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

This is the sort of politically correct nonsense that establishment figures go in for these days. The state system is an appalling mess, spewing out into society year on year a mass of poorly educated, chippy people. It is quite sweet, I suppose, that these people wish to become lawyers, but the administration of justice is more important than the career aspirations of those fundamentally ill suited to a job which requires the best minds. The public actually needs protecting from them.

(26)(4)

Anonymous

Obvious troll is obvious.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Highly doubt the commenter above is at the Bar, otherwise they would know that plenty of new barristers went to state schools (myself included).

(1)(0)

Intrigued

As a barrister, law graduate (1st Class Hons) and a qualified teacher with experience of teaching A-Level Law for a number of years- I would be interested in why you suggest not to do A-Level law?

I appreciate that many feel it will only confuse the study of law at degree level, or that the Universities would prefer you not to study it – but research has shown the latter to be incorrect and as for the former, I would be intrigued as to how many actually studied A-Level Law to be making such sweeping statements?

(1)(2)

SingaporeSwing

Legend.

Legend.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I hope Lord Neuberger wore a stab vest.

(7)(1)

Anonymous

TBH from what I’ve seen, I think it’s a bit rich that he’s now making a massive thing out of wanting law to be accessible and diverse. A few weeks before my finals, he came to Oxford for a talk and was asked whether he had any advice for those wanting to go to the Bar. He said, “get a first and do the BCL”. He then emphasised how hard it was nowadays to secure pupillage. As someone who’d just been rejected from the BCL, that was pretty discouraging. A few months later, when I got my results and it wasn’t a first, I thought it was probably time to give up on the Bar. After all, whose opinion could I possibly trust more than that of the (then) President of the Supreme Court? Thankfully I didn’t, and it turned out getting pupillage with a high 2.1 from Oxford and an LLM with Distinction was actually not that hard. I wonder if he’s still telling people the same thing he was two years ago…

(6)(0)

Anonymous

It’s just politically correct nonsense, as one commentator pointed out above.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Exact same thing happened to me with Neuberger.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

From the perspective of an aspiring lawyer, I certainly do not welcome this supposed craze-started by the previous SC leader-. The bar, and the legal profession as a whole, is notorious for its competitive nature, so by educating state school kids and indirectly encouraging them to join the profession, the prospect of actually joining the profession will become ever more minute!

(1)(1)

Cynical Cynthia

His advice should be:

– Go to Oxbridge (at a pinch, recognisable RGs for the less competitive sets)
– Get a First in Juris/Law
– Do the BCL (no, not the Cambridge LLM, the BCL)
– Along the way, learn to speak like posh privately-educated kids. Learn etiquette. Learn how to have dinner like a civilised person. Expand your vocabulary.

Publications, mooting, some extracurriculars, volunteering, will all help.

/realism

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Absolutely. The problem for state school kids is that they are often gauche. Legal practice and a lack of personal sophistication do not go well together.

(12)(0)

Anonymous

Have you ever met a barrister? Most of them are feral.

(3)(0)

Angry Badger QC

Gwararorr rah garrr garrwww *snuffle* gwaaarrorr!!!

(0)(0)

Mr x

I was state school educated and when I read about barristers I decided I wanted to be one. The career service was awful and told me to pick a more realistic and achievable career. When I asked for work experience assistance I got no help. Such ‘service providers’need to be educated I’m social mobility too. So, determined, I stood outside a magistrates court for a week asking barristers and magistrates if I could shadow them. On the last day one agreed (who was at this mags practically everyday) and from then on I was exposed to the world of being a barrister and through the one shadowing experience I was able to make contact with other practitioners. I also was helpfully told what the hoops are to jump through (degree/gdl/bptc/pupillage) etc. Without this one person I might never have had the work experience that then followed after my time shadowing him and likely missed deadlines for things like scholarships. It was a foreign world to me and think that state schools need to help more, not discourage you. Today I am a qualified barrister at a very good set. So if school let’s you down, be enterprising and go get that experience you need for yourself.

(12)(0)

Ena B St John

Thanks for sharing your refreshing perspective.

My only comment is that though it’s very admirable that some state school educated children and young people have the gusto, luck, background knowledge to try this, many don’t. We should be ambitious that we can get to a point where no child has to be let down in this way. If govt won’t find careers services/schools, lawyers themselves should take up the baton as bid by this retired judge.

(Comp-educated trainee solicitor)

(0)(0)

Ena B St John

*fund

Should have spent more on my schooling…

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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