‘When it goes to sh*t your law school doesn’t want to know’: Anonymous wannabe barrister reflects on life having failed the BPTC

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By Thomas Connelly on

Not Competent

An anonymous wannabe barrister is charting her life post-failing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) on a new blog, and tells Legal Cheek she still hopes to make it to the bar one day.

Writing on Life After Failed BPTC, the bar hopeful says the first few weeks following the receipt of her Not Competent result were “pretty savage”. Drawing on a somewhat extreme comparison to a death, she writes:

“[W]hen someone dies you pay your respects and express your condolences. Here, with the BPTC, no one even knows how to react! You were supposed to be their ‘lawyer’ after all, and now what?!”

Elsewhere in the blog, the graduate sheds light on how her law school responded to the news. Be prepared to be “entirely on your own as far as your provider is concerned” if you fail, she says: “You paid them 20k for the course and not for ‘support’ when it all eventually goes to s*it. It was your responsibility to pass! You didn’t so that’s on you.”

The 2018 BPTC Most List

One of the more painful consequences of failing the BPTC, she found, was removing references to the course from her LinkedIn and informing pre-arranged work placements that she hadn’t made the grade. “This part is actually worse than failing the course”, she says, “because you have to face your potential future or current employers, your mentors and other people who you just have to tell”. The former BPTC-er writes:

“There is no subtle way of doing it, I don’t think. You cannot hide it either because it is a significant change in circumstances and it is unethical to identify oneself as a BPTC graduate when in fact one is not! People who gave you a scholarship would be particularly interested to know as well.”

Our law grad goes on to consider how to handle the Not Competent-shaped elephant in the room during social introductions. Having ruled out some rather tongue-in-cheek examples like “failed graduate” and “unemployed former student with no professional qualification”, she settles on “undergraduate… with an ambition to become a barrister in England eventually”. Our brave bar blogger continues:

“In my introductions [I] do not openly broadcast the fact I already attempted the course once unless asked point blank, which has not happened yet!”

Speaking to Legal Cheek about what compelled her to write about her BPTC failure, the wannabe barrister explains that she hopes to raise awareness about the realities and misconceptions of the vocational course. She says:

“I want the voices of those people who unfortunately failed to be heard, at the moment no one cares about those who ‘didn’t make it’.”

Moving away from personal failure, she hopes to add more “motivational content” in the coming months, while continuing to offer “insights into various aspects of the legal profession”. And as for her career goals, she tells us: “I want to be called to the bar and I will not stop until I get there!”

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