Thursday, 11 December 2008


I'm still taking every possible opportunity to rant and rave about how much the BVC is poor value for money, and I hate the way it's organised. I'm still by no means doing enough work- I think it's definitely a case of getting as much as you put in this year. With upcoming assessments, I'm not feeling too confident.

I am looking forward to taking on my first FRU case however, I've eventually managed to get all my training bits and bobs done - training day, check; passed the test, check; and visit to the Employment Tribunal, check! Now it's just a case of actually getting on with a case - which given the upcoming assessments may be tricky.

I may spend some of Christmas looking at training contract applications. I'm horribly intimidated by several of my more accomplished and more diligent colleagues on the BVC.

My advocacy seems to be improving however, to end on a positive note.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mel

It IS horrible. I would hold off on the TC and see what happens with OLPAS/ direct aps.

You are young and you have 5 years. If you do end up going the solicitor route its much easier to do 2 years as a paralegal and then QLTT head 3, then you can go straight in as a NQ and not have to face the guff you will as a BVC aspirant applying for training contracts. it also means you can keep trying for the bar rather than drwaing a line under it.

To answer your question on BB blog - yes 320 pupillages in the 2006/7 round and (worse - as per the wood report) 275 in the 2007/8 round. It may not get better - but then you may be paranoid and your in that pool - didnt you mention you have already had pup interivews? The majority of people in my year didnt get any.

I think as long as your realistic about your chances then you can keep tying without drawing a full line under it.

Julia said...


I really think getting a pupillage is all about pitching yourself correctly. The people who get pupillages are not necessarily better than those who don't - it's just a question of correctly assessing your prospects of success at your targeted chambers. Some people would rather not get a pupillage at all than be at a chambers that they deem "beneath" them, but if you really want to be a barrister and you're willing to compromise, while being able and bright, I don't think it's the giant mountain it seems. Most people at average criminal sets have good academics, but not incredible academics.

I think a large proportion of applicants are either pitching themselves out of the race (slightly deluded) or are completely deluded (met many at Bar School...) - I'd say if the deluded were taken out of the equation the statistics would be much more favourable.

Don't be a solicitor. You would hate it ;)

Law Girl said...


What is so funny is that I was supposed to be at your institution this year and I deferred to do a masters, so all your info on the course is proving especially relevant for me- thank you.

I am tutoring someone on the GDL at another very well known institution and I am just plain shocked at the bullshit that is fed to the students in return for so much money. What is the BVC at ICSL (or the CLS) really like?

Everytime I meet someone how looks to be a bar genius and I feel like an idiot I always start thinking about the TC route. But something holds me back from making more than a few cursory applications. It is because I know I wouldn't truly be happy.

If you want it then stick to your guns. There is room for all of us who are determined, however long it takes.

Law Minx said...

Many wise and telling comments, here Mel, with much by way of sage advice - which you should go with!
The BVC IS Horrid, it IS Pants for the Money we shell out, but it is, for the moment an entirely necessary pair of pants. Perhaps at the moment, in the bleak midwinter, you are feeling a bit of the strain of pretty constant study - degree, New York bar Exams, BVC - even the training bits and bobs related to the FRU! - in which case it is very EASY to become dispirited and come to convince yourself you do not have the stuff of a barrister. Put the books DOWN for a moment or two, and have a wONDERFUL Christmas with your family, with no thought of OLPAS or other such upcoming trials ( over which I have no doubt you will prevail)- you will be surprised how well such a small thing works to refresh you and set you straight on the path once again! :)

PS: I agree ENTIRELY with Julia; DON'T become a Solicitor - you really will HATE it!!

Mel said...

Hello ladies,

Ah yes, in the bleak midwinter, a good grumble does keep us going doesn't it?

Being young and having a few/5 years, is part of the 'Plan', as you suggest Ginge. But that 320 number really really does worry me - in 5 years, the people that are trumping me now will still be fabulously more qualified than me! And there'll be about 20 pupillages by then, at the current rate of decline...

Julia, hello. I don't think that I would consider any pupillage or set below me, however I'm not in the position where I would want to be a barrister at all costs. I think if push came to shove that I'd rather be a solicitor working in an area of law I enjoy rather than a miserable barrister, living from one dull appearance in the county court to another, in an area of law I have no interest it. It's not about money - I have a seriously low boredom threshold - but if the decent work isn't there for me then it would seem silly to be a barrister just for the sake of it.

Does that mean I don't deserve pupillage, because I don't want it badly enough? I'd like to think that I'm just aware of the realities of the job.

Law Girl, what you said about knowing you wouldn't really be happy is what runs through my mind all the time! Lots of very talented friends have fallen at various hurdles (or decided for various reasons that it's not for them) and each time I've been a bit disappointed for them (in them?) but thought, no - I can't do that. Everyone's trying to discourage you in getting to the Bar- it's the most ridiculously protectionist profession in its PR! In the words of a well known pop tune, we gotta keep the faith...

Minx! Hello. I would hate being a solicitor wouldn't I? I don't know how lots of them do it- especially the ones who actually went through a law degree and all.
Put down my books you say? The advice presupposes that I have at any stage this term picked them up! Alas, for the most part they are as new as the day I picked them up! I will have to do some serious study over Christmas. But of course, I will be partaking in all the Christmas bits and bobs, especially any involving pastry items or brandy. Yummy. Things will look better in '09 I'm sure!

If all else fails, I will have to revert to plan Q (Q because I have lots of other plans before then, this will really be of last resort) and be a sort of North London Yummy Mummy type who grows cabbages and keeps chickens in the back garden, and will simply have to live off Boy. If only he didn't have equally foolish Bar ambitions!

Rambley comment this was!