Top private school summoned by BSB over pupillage auction

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  • I can't believe people would be so petty as to complain about this.

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  • The way things are going, there will be more money for lawyers in flogging off internships, than doing legal work.

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  • Meanwhile, Westminster School is setting up an academy sixth form to help bright underprivileged kids in London get into Oxbridge. Paid for by fundraising like that £700 auction. Poor form on the part of the SMF
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/education/article3744492.ece

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  • How petty.

    A barrister wished to give up some of his time to benefit a charity. Presumably this was the "wrong" sort of charity.

    Maybe the BSB will now publish a list of charities that barristers are authorised to donate their time to?

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  • I can't believe it's even news. We all know that a career in law is for the privileged few. It was ever so, and ever shall it be.

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  • This used to happen all the time at university...

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  • What is the world coming to? No decent Westminster alumnus would allow their precious son near a criminal set. It's Erskine Chambers or nowhere.

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  • Plus Coutts is now so common that even Wayne Rooney has an account there. Surely one of the elite Swiss banks would be more appropriate for a Wesminster boy.

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  • There have been law internships auctioned for Charity events as recently as the Big Red Ball for the charity Right to Play and numerous others. The Guardian Newspaper itself auctioned work experience with the editor at the Highbury Grove School Auction on May 9! Is the issue about auctioning a work experience or is it about jealousy of Westminster School?

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  • If the BSB really wants to be this small minded shouldn't it at least direct its efforts at the barrister in question rather than at the school?

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  • I can't believe people would be so poor as to complain about this. Sorry, I mean poverty-stricken. NO sorry, petty. Yes, petty. That's what I meant.

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  • What very short and convenient memories people have. Pupillages and articles were always 'sold' and no remuneration was the norm. That was standard pratice for 200+ years. It changed in the late 1960's and early 70's.

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  • This is known as mission creep. Such auctions are very common and create opportunity as well as raising money for charity. The BSB is my most frequent opponent. My Barrister clients often face charges that are unbelievably petty. Westminster should treat any interference with the contempt it deserves. As for equality of opportunity some parents would work extra hard to find the money to give their children such an opportunity. We all have the opportunity to work hard just as we all have the opportunity to be lazy and rely on state handouts.

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  • This must be a joke.
    No student at Westminster would contemplate working at the criminal bar.

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  • Unless most of the comments above are a joke, I cannot believe people are so ignorant as to not see why this kind of auction is an unfair thing, and therefore a bad thing.

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  • The comments are hilarious. How can this ever be considered acceptable? Though it's a drop in the ocean compared to barristers (and law firms) giving work experience to partners' children, friends' children adn clients' children.

    To the chap who talked about Westminster "setting up" an academy that was "paid for" by the £700 fundraising. Nonsense. The academy is a Harris Academy and Westminster are providing support to it. It's to be lauded but it's the least that an organisation that is defined as a charity (with all the tax and other advantages that result) can do.

    To the other chap who said that all the poor barrister wanted to do was help a charity. Seriously? Public schools may be technically charities but are they charities in the same way that SMF or Save the Children or Oxfam are charities? In that sense - it was very much the "wrong sort of charity".

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  • @ Marc Beaumont - but only Westminster boys have the opportunity in this case... I worked hard to get to where I am, and so did my parents. Once I had my career decisions made, it was I who had to work extra-hard. I nor my parents have ever relied on 'state handouts'.
    I have seen some pretty useless candidates along the way (son of a Sheikh, son of the CEO of a FTSE100 client). I can say, of all the beneficiaries of nepotism I have worked with (probably more numerous than genuinely assessed candidates), not a single one has earned my respect nor the money in their pocket.
    It's nice to think that law is becoming a meritocracy, but it isn't. This was open to a) students of Westminster School and b) those who would pay the money at Westminster School. Yeh, it's a great cause...that benefits the students of Westminster School (oh, and that token under-privileged schoolboys project *cough* tax incentive *cough*, how very patronising...).
    Now that applications have become a numbers game (most names on the CV wins) for both trainees and pupils, I can understand why people are complaining.
    Nepotism is alive and well, and as toxic as ever.

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  • Oh dear oh dear oh dear how far have the great and the good slipped to this level of tacky behaviour. Can't they compete on merit any more. What an advertisement for Westminster School - children with special educational needs welcome we will get you through. What a hilarious situation they have landed themselves with. Now if you want someone who is going to win cases for your set, pick someone who has ability.

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  • Many law students spend a lot of time on mini-pupillage applications and are rejected, yet if you are a member of this college you are handed one for “winning” an auction. It is ludicrous that many of the commenters above cannot a) see this disparity and b) think it is fair.

    If you disagree with point b) and, understandably, think work experience should be governed on merit and not fairness, it is similarly ludicrous to equate winning a competition in a school where your place is guaranteed by a hefty payment as merit.

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  • What seems to have escaped many respondents above is that life isn't fair: reducing it to its basic biological imperatives, it remains a competition. There's nothing wrong with competition, it drives the best and brightest (note, not the richest) to succeed. Stop trying to artificially "make it fair" (which these days generally means some sort of lowest common denominator dumbing down) and stop making such a fuss about something which really isn't heinous in any way. There are much nastier things to worry about out there...

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