Features advice from a former window cleaner, lifeguard and nightclub DJ
Barristers have taken to Twitter to reveal their unconventional paths to practice.
Using the hashtag ‘#MyRouteToTheBar’, tweeting barristers offered a brief timeline of their careers — starting from secondary school and ending at tenancy. Evidence of alternative and unconventional routes to qualification, including career changes to law, will undoubtedly offer aspiring barristers comfort considering the competition for pupillage is fiercer than ever.
The Twitter trend was apparently started by CrimeGirl, an anonymous criminal barrister, who revealed she began her career as a receptionist, then subsequently became a legal secretary, a paralegal, and a mature law student, before going on to complete a training contract and, after transferring to the bar, securing tenancy.
It feels like an appropriate time to post #MyRouteToTheBar and encourage others to do the same so here goes:
‘Mature’ LLB student (22)
Forensic MH worker
Swapped BTPC for LPC
Transfer to Bar
— CrimeGirl (@CrimeGirI) September 28, 2020
Inspired by CrimeGirl’s tweet, other barristers opened up about their unusual career paths. Another anonymous criminal barrister, CrimBarrister, revealed they were a part-time club DJ, occasional venue booker, a rock journalist and a tabloid newspaper sub-editor before joining the bar.
Crikey, is it that time again already? #MyRouteToTheBar
Boots Saturday girl
Degree (non law)
Part-time club DJ, occasional venue booker
'Men's magazine' writer
Degree (law, part time)
Tabloid newspaper sub-editor
BVC (part time)
Still rocking!? https://t.co/LoCRfCV8Nz
— CrimBarrister (@CrimBarrister) September 28, 2020
Meanwhile, Sarah Wait, explained she became a personal injury barrister at Manchester-based 18 St John Street Chambers despite having “average” GCSEs and no A-Levels.
Office Manager (& p/t LLB)
Adult Education Manager (& p/t BPTC)
— Sarah Wait (@SarahWait18) September 28, 2020
Another barrister said she left state school with “good” GCSEs but “terrible” A-Levels, and without a degree went on to work in a bakery, in pubs and clubs as a barmaid, and in a call centre before starting legal training in her mid-30s.
State school – good GCSEs, terrible A-levels, no degree
Barmaid – pubs and clubs
Had a family
PT GDL – working FT (34)
PT BPTC – working FT (36)
— HLS (@Legally_blond79) September 29, 2020
OGPupil — who in their Twitter bio describes themselves as “basically, the Slumdog Millionaire of Pupillage” — revealed that after helping out in their family’s shop and caring for their father and grandparents, they were the first generation to go to university and got a paralegal job before securing tenancy.
– Helped out in my family’s shop
– Cared for my Dad and Grandparents
– State school and sixth form
– First generation to go to uni
– Worked at EE part-time during final year
– Graduated and called to the Bar
– Paralegal at global law firm
– Pupillage pic.twitter.com/l359SwP8Mm
— The OG Pupil (@OGPupil) September 28, 2020
The Secret Barrister, secretive as ever, responded to the trend saying they attended a “secret comprehensive school”, a “secret non-Oxbridge uni” and even flipped burgers for a living.
Secret comprehensive school
Secret non-Oxbridge uni
Secret burger flipper
Secret Bar school
Secret Twitter rabbit
I forget the rest. https://t.co/A9Cb9Fv5vD
— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) September 29, 2020