Monday, February 26

Slippery Slope to Hades

I would like to explain a little further about the events of this post - Inspiration. After we had watched an hour or so of cases with very few defendants actually attending and as far as I can recall only one defence solicitor presenting arguments, a very helpful usher explained that there are usually more interesting cases the following day.

My friend and I duly returned the next day to sit in the public gallery and observe again. After watching around 3 or 4 cases with defence solicitors and defendants actually attending, a new case began. The defendant was awaiting a trial date and the hearing was to determine whether to grant bail. The solicitor for the prosecution asked that he not be granted bail, on the basis of his previous convictions......and that the last four times he has been on bail he has either broken bail conditions or been charged with another offence, and is currently in the possession of a suspended sentence for a previous crime.

His defence solicitor stood. Put his case to the bench - Bail was granted. All that I thought as this occurred was 'What a professional'. As we left the Court I discussed what we had just witnessed with my friend. I remarked how impressed I was with what the solicitor had just done, and that I had been further inspired by his actions. My friend however then pointed out something that I had so far not even thought of. Was what we had just witnessed moral? It seemed legal, certainly, but moral? Thinking about it this doesn't seem moral at all.

Morals wasn't what I first thought of. The job was. I can't help but feel that I'm well on my way to losing my soul entirely.

Sunday, February 25

Constantly Overthinking?

During the past week my future housemates and I collected our tenancy agreements from the letting agency. Two of us are law students, and therefore cared more about reading the contract in it's entirety. One sub-clause of the contract stated that signing the contract would show our intention to be bound by the terms of certain Tenancy and Housing Acts. It should be noted here that the letting agency is used to dealing primarily with students and took the rather helpful action of following each sub-clause with a brief summary of what the sub-clause actually meant in plain English.

Upon reading this sub-clause the part of my brain that has been soaking up legal knowledge this past 5 months or so began it's internal musing;
If the summary of the Housing Acts is wrong would that amount to an effective misprepresentation based on a false statement of Law?

It's not whether I was right or wrong in my thinking that bothers me, it is more that I seem to keep anaylsing situations using what I have been learning. I wonder if this will be a practise that I will continue for the length of my stay in the legal field?

Thursday, February 22


Today I did something I've never done before. Strange though it sounds, what with my being a law student, for the first time in my life - I set foot in a courtroom. A friend and I had decided to take a visit to the local Magistrate's Court.

It was good to get a feel for the whole process rather than just reading it out of books. I only have one gripe with the process - that the ushers assumed we were with the group of journalism students who had been sitting in the corner reading the Gaurdian.

Seeing a prosecution solicitor questioning a witness was both interesting, and inspiring. However what truly impressed me was (I may have been mistaken about what happened, but this is what it sounded like at least) when a defence solicitor entered, shuffling papers and pulling out pens. The prosecution solicitor stood "We ask that the case might be withdrawn on the grounds of insufficient evidence.". On being asked by the Magistrate how he felt about the proposal the defence solicitor replied "Of course I have no problem with the decision - and might I apply for costs?". Several hundred pounds granted. It didn't seem too bad a decision, bearing in mind he had been in Court no longer than 3 minutes before he left again.

Wednesday, February 21

Enthusiasm II

Following from my first post today, I have since been into town to pick up some more books. I asked my friend the same question I posed on my blog - can one manufacture the desire to succeed?

The reply I recieved was as blunt, yet useful as ever - "I can't afford not to have enthusiasm now, not after all the money I have had to spend on these books.".



I have recently been reading Legally Blonde in London. The enthusiasm that eminates from her postings is really something to be admired. It has made me wonder if I could create my own enthusiasm. It's not as if I don't like my course (that would be quite a bad idea as I intend to make a career of it), I do, studying law is very interesting. I just feel that I don't have enough 'get-up-and-go'. It sounds like she'd stop at nothing to get a distinction from her law school.

Can you force yourself to act like that - not accept second best and have the need to always be better than your peers? Is it built in or can you condition yourself over time to be that way? I get the feeling that this is what I need to become to succeed.

People lie and act almost constantly, it can't be too hard to act like I actually care about beating everyone else.

Monday, February 19

Reading Week

For the second time since my arrival I have found myself starting a week without lectures and seminars - the aptly titled 'Reading Week'. There is little Law learning to post about today. I am still struggling through the series of folders that mark the amassed collective of lectures that I have attended through out the year. Hopefully, with no need (technically) for me to leave my apartment over the next week I shall have enough time to make such a dent in my work that it will only take another week to complete. That's just as well, as I now have almost exactly two months until my three week period of exams commences.

As a minor piece of Law with which to tempt the readers of my blog; On Wednesday I attended a (non-compulsory) seminar on the role of National Parliaments and the European Constitution presented by Professor The Lord Norton of Louth. The 'seminar' was attended (unsurprisingly) by few of my peers and several more mature individuals. I cannot recall a word of the seminar as, directly after a quip was made about how many titles His Lordship has, my brain turned to what can only be referred to as 'mush'. After an hour, when the floor was opened up to questions, a few friends and I made our escape.

Pity I didn't notice before I vacated my seat that the head of Law was sitting directly behind us.

Wednesday, February 14

Non Est Vexatum

Yesterday, instead of my usual (and quite interesting) Legal Skills and Process lecturer we were spoken to by a local lay-Magistrate. It was quite an interesting talk, as usual I had sat as far back as was possible in the lecture theatre.
My Contract lecturer has gained the rather helpful habit of turning off the back lights when giving lectures so I tend to sit at the back, no longer with the intention of napping, but rather because I've usually only just got out of bed and the dark seems to help. The only minor problem with this approach is that every week fewer and fewer people attend the legal skills lectures which are directly after the contract lectures. As I sit at the back savouring the few minutes peace that I can grasp before my next lecture begins my fellow students dart out of the lecture theatre, many enter again with hands cupping a coffee, but quite a large number do not return. This results in several rows of vacated seats in front of me, and my feeling awfully exposed to the gaze of my lecturers.
Perhaps I have become slightly bookish recently but I can not see the point in purposefully skipping lectures. I may, however, be taking this view because I am sitting indoors attempting to memorise the two necessary conditions for a successful plea of non est factum and trying not to give myself panic attacks every time I think of the amount of cases I have yet to learn. Others seem to be going through the course without worry and many without even attending.

Monday, February 12


For almost a week now I've been looking into the choice of careers that lay ahead of me. It's not a definite decision, but I was leaning more towards the idea of becoming a Barrister. I found this blog PupilBlog - A blog written by someone who began their pupillage around the same time I started my LLB. The more I read the more I can see myself fitting in and doing that particular job. However, it would appear that competition is fierce and places few and far between with no guarantee of success even after pupillage.
However, even with no clear idea of what it is that I am aiming for I still know that what I must be doing right now is studying. Which is why, at ten to eight on a Monday evening, when most of my friends are on their way out into the town I am sitting in my room making notes on Non-Identical Mistake. It's not that my social life has begun to fall apart - for instance, in the last 48 hours I have been thoroughly beaten at Snooker and a seemingly endless 2 hour session of Squash by my friends - it's more that I seem to be able to work better in the evenings.
Still it's only two months solid study before the exams.... and then I have the next 4 or 5 years of study and an entire career of continual learning ahead of me...

Tuesday, February 6

The Future

This morning I had a legal skills lecture. The topic for today being the Legal Profession. Despite the fact that I am a Law Student I still am unsure as to what direction I wish to take in my career. The idea of a Barrister's work interests me somewhat, but I'm not sure that I have the right charisma for advocacy. I have been reading this blog which does make being a Solicitor sound interesting to say the least. Though, I don't know enough about either Solicitor or Barrister as professions to give my own appraisals on their merits.
I was slightly put on the back foot when I realised what age I would be were I to qualify as a Solicitor. I knew that it would be a long process, but had never taken the time (to avoid coming over in a cold sweat) to work out exactly how many years. I am close friends with two Architecture students; every now and then the length of their entire course will be mentioned and I am always amazed that they are able to see themselves that far in the future.
For those interested to know, I could expect to qualify as a Solicitor around the same time as the London 2012 Olympics begin.

The good news is that I don't have to decide today. The bad news is that I will have to decide soon. Apparently the Inns of Court are even open to first year Law students....

Friday, February 2


In my first few weeks at University after every lecture I would come back to my room and type up the lecture notes onto my computer. Somehow shortly after this period the apathy, directly attributed to not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, of the constant typing and filing set in. It was at about this time that 'The Pile' began it's existence. Over the past few months this 'set of notes' has grown steadily, almost covertly, to become quite a nagging worry in the back of my mind.

On Monday a friend and I went into town where I bought several binders, dividers and plastic wallets with the intent of tackling 'The Pile' - subdividing it into so many sections that it would be crushed and thoroughly unable to ever rise again to the size and power it had once achieved. My friend pointed out that spending money on the equipment does not mean I am going to use any of it for it's intended purpose.

It is now Friday, and every shred of paper that I have amassed is hidden in the ominous row of folders on my shelf that imply I am actually working. However, that was only the first phase of organisation. The second is to take every lecture, making revision notes, case lists and summaries from each. Having now started this process I am quite relieved that none of what I am re-reading feels 'new'.