Tuesday, 29 July 2008

So Far, So Good (just)

Here is the briefest of summaries of how I got to this stage. My strap line of being lucky and slipping through the net is not meant to be self-depreciating or modest, but is simply true. Most are familiar with the stereotypical pupil – early to mid 20’s, straight A student, Oxbridge (or other top uni) graduate, scholarship awards, mooting prizes, amazing pro-bono experience – the list goes on. I think everyone is agreed that those with such CV’s get more of a look in when it comes to interviews, and quite rightly so. Such credentials do not come easily, and the Bar needs bright and hard working types if it is to remain. However there are candidates who are not able to tick all the above boxes, but nevertheless would be just as good, or better. It seems these candidates, of which I am one, need more luck to get through the door simply for an interview.

Now in my mid 20’s, I was never top of the class at school, leaving with mediocre (at best) A-levels. I attended an ex-poly in the Midlands where I managed to get the regulation 2.1 to go onto Bar School (I realise that a 2.1 is not a requirement, but I wouldn’t have bothered with a 2.2). I did the BVC in the provinces and got a VC, after having to retake civil lit. I am not a holder of an Inn scholarship. As for extra-curricula stuff, I did do a fair bit of mooting, and have hands on experience having worked as a Legal Assistant in a high street firm for a year.

Over an 18 month period, I completed three rounds of Olpas, and made independent applications to any chambers offering pupillage, as well as some that weren’t. I don’t have a record of how many applications I made, but a guess would be well in excess of 100. This yielded a total of 2 interviews. Fortunately one was successful, at a common law set in London. Why did those two chambers decide to interview me when so many others had not? I can only put it down to luck, as nothing else had changed. In my opinion (not that I’ve yet asked anyone on a pupillage committee) once you get to an interview you’re 90% there, as the slate is wiped clean and CV’s thrown out the window, leaving a reasonably level battleground for those still standing.

So, for anyone interested, that’s how it happened for me. I shall keep you posted as to what happens from here.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Well here goes!

Over the last year or so I have been endlessly fascinated by the numerous blogs concerning BVC and pupillage. As someone about to start pupillage I hope to tentatively dip my toe into this somewhat strange world and create a blog of my own. I note from other more learned bloggers that there is perhaps an opening within the "being a pupil" subject. Although aware of the demise of others like me and their blogs, my aim is to try and post regularly and give a true and balanced account of my route to this stage, and beyond.

I need to get the hang of this blogging and posting business, so I shall post again soon.