The final curtain
15 September 2009
This is the last blog that I will be writing, and I am glad to say that this story has a happy ending! I have managed to secure pupillage for 2010 against all of the odds.
This is the last blog that I will be writing, and I am glad to say that this story has a happy ending! I have managed to secure pupillage for 2010 against all of the odds. It is a great set of chambers and is on the North Eastern Circuit which was my first choice of circuit. I am over the moon as my hard work seems to have paid off, although of course there is always that element of luck. It is the sad truth that a lot of people who would be great barristers will not get a pupillage simply because a particular set of chambers does not think that they are the right fit.
I’d like to address a couple of comments that were made in response to my previous blog. These were, in my opinion, representative of a lot of peoples opinion’s of the bar, but opinions that I would disagree with. A lot of people believe that you will not be able to secure pupillage without the public school connections etc. I was state schooled, there are no barristers in my family, I have no connections with any set of chambers that I did not make myself, and I don’t know the secret wink and handshake. I do not for one minute doubt that connections help you along the way; it certainly helps to be able to have a list the length of your arm of mini-pupillages that your Uncle Giles got you. However, you can do it on your own if you have to and I hope that people are not put off by such fears.
However, harsh as it may sound, be realistic and ask yourself whether you want it enough to go through the vigorous process. It is a Cinderella slipper process. At a final round interview, the six or so candidates are most likely to all be suitable to have got that far. But it really comes down to whether you’ll fit in and whether you are what they are looking for. Your grades and CV will get you through the door, but then you are on your own.
There are a few questions that I’d ask myself before doing the BVC:
- Do you want it enough to do a shed load of voluntary work and miss out on holidays to the Maldives so that you don’t miss your lessons?!
- Is it worth the debt and the risk?
- And most importantly - are you up to the challenge?
If you answered yes to the above, put everything in to it. There isn’t one way to be successful on the BVC – some people are amazing at advocacy, others thrive on complicated opinions. So don’t compare yourself to other people because what I have noticed about those who got pupillage this year is that we are all very different. Personally I had done quite a lot of pro bono, but had only done four mini-pupillages. Others were extremely intelligent/had ushered/spent10 million weeks on work experience. The important thing is to stand out in whatever way you can (within reason of course!). To those of you embarking upon this exciting roller-coaster ride of a journey, I wish you the best of luck. I hope that pupillage is all that I expect, and to see some of you in court one day!