Saturday, March 31

Law Apprentice

Many other blawgers have been commenting on the Google searches that have lead people to find their blog. So far the best I've managed to find are (presumably) from students looking to get a standard cover letter or CV with which to gain a mini-pupillage or work experience placement at a firm of Solicitors.

However whilst searching I did come across a new Law blog: Law Apprentice - A blog that has only just started, written by an individual who has decided to deviate from his current career and become a lawyer (though is yet to start his LLB).

...Elsewhere in the blawging world, Legal Scribbles gives advice to students on choosing their third year options. His suggestion is Conflict of Laws. As a first year I know next to nothing about this subject, and won't be choosing my options until next year. That aside however, given the writings of legal scribbles on the subject it may very well be one to look out for.

The only subject that I have given any thought so far into taking in my third year is family law. I am hoping that I will catch a glimpse of family law in action over the summer- to help make up my mind.

Wednesday, March 28


Lectures have all but finished for the first year of my course now. This means (rather unusually) I am sitting indoors working. Working is not strictly the correct word to use, but it better describes what I am doing than 'not working'. I am currently at my desk working out what percentages I need in my exams to attain different degree classes. So far I have worked out only a couple of subjects. My chances of gaining a first for the year seem somewhat impossible, what with my requiring almost full marks on one paper. I would like to qualify that statement by telling my readers that the moots were worth 40% of this particular unit, and my moot team were less than helpful - I may have mentioned before that when organising the moot our senior counsel remarked 'I hope no-one is expecting us to do well'.

I don't actually expect to come away from the year with a first. A 2:1 would be fine for my first year. Having said that it if there is a chance that I can attain a first I will endeavour to do all that I can.

Tuesday, March 27

Mens sana in induviarum pulchro

Since writing my last post I have been in receipt of another acceptance on a mini-pupillage. I have also been suit shopping. I was so excited with the prospect of mini-pupillages over the summer that I decided it was time I bought myself a proper suit.

On the other hand I have also recieved several rejection letters. Most were to the point. One was a little less than 'nice', no doubt offended that I had wasted their time. The set I was most impressed with however did not accept me as they restrict mini-pupillages to third years only. Despite this they suggested that I reapply when I am in my third year, and in the mean time apply to other sets that are less specialised.

Removing myself from the uncertainty that is my future career, and landing firmly back in the present - The exams are creeping more quickly towards us. Today I picked up the pre-released case studies for both my Contract Law and Law of Business Organistations units. I've read through them and I feel quite confident that I know what it is I should be focusing on.

I'm a little upset that the topic of Illegality does not appear to be on that part of the paper...I spent hours on those notes.

Wednesday, March 21


Today a friend and I went to a presentation given by a practising female barrister. I must say that I was surprised that only fifteen students turned up for the talk in total. I have had the date for this talk on my notice board for at least three weeks and it was definitely mentioned to a lecture theatre full of students on Tuesday. As our University runs a GDL scheme that means only fifteen people out of four years of Law students actually thought the talk was worthwhile. I have sat in seminars with more people present.

I am not complaining however; the less people set on the same career ambition as myself the less people I must compete against.

Returning from the talk I was somewhat disheartened to discover three envelopes with addresses written in my handwriting on the front. The first two informed me that I had not been accepted for a mini-pupillage.

The last letter however has secured me a mini-pupillage in a London chambers during the summer.

Monday, March 19

A Break

Despite that none of my friends are Irish we felt that St Patrick's day was worth celebrating together as a group. A hearty breakfast was cooked together and then we enjoyed the sunshine indulging in a spot of football and cricket. As is normally the case with a group of people old enough to know that their actions will cause them an obligatory hangover but cannot quite stop saying 'I'm 20, I can handle this', the day degraded towards nightfall into what can only be described as a bender.
For some time now drink-fuelled shenanigans have been few and far between. Exams are approaching, and the prospect of not being able to get up in time for lectures stops being funny when you spend extra hours in library attempting to catch up. St Patrick's day however was a welcoming day off.

Monday has arrived and all the weekend related silliness has been put to one side. The last of my mini-pupillage applications went in the post today. Along with this I have also found around a dozen chambers willing to accept application by e-mail. I received a prospectus from the BPP law school in the post, reasoning that it can't hurt to research into where I would like to study after my degree. I have been reading lawyer-2-be: Redressing the balance... on the current state of the BVC course. It's not going to put me off aiming to get onto the course but I will remember to go in with my eyes open.

Lawyer-2-Be makes mention of the amount of students on his course that do not do the required amount of preparation and let down others. I know from my own experiences that there are some very lazy people on my course who will either have to motivate themselves more or will end up the way he describes them. It is not just the odd one or two though, the last time the register went round in a lecture the column for the previous week was headed '70 absentees'.

Friday, March 16

Law Geek

Today during an inquisitive mood I decided to see exactly how people were finding my blog. I only placed this new feature into my blog yesterday and as a result have had no humorous google search results leading here yet.

I did however find a link from detailing a list of Law blogs. I thought that I'd give this site a mention, as though currently under construction it does look as though it may eventually be quite useful to law students. It even has a forum for all your law needs.

A new law blag has started up here .

I had my penultimate Public law lecture today. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about that. On the one hand it means that my exams are definitely within sight. On the other hand though I found public law to be interesting and wrought with ideas that keep my mind questioning I know that it is not for me. I do not wish to pursue this topic further. On the non-existent third hand, I know that though it was a difficult subject in it's own right it was nice to have a unit that was not just solid law as such. I don't know if I will have such a luxury next year.

Thursday, March 15

Work Experience Part II

It was with an aching wrist and ink stained hand that I posted a set of mini-pupillage applications at 2am last night. Another seven done. Once the last set is done I will have either written to or e-mailed twenty seven chambers. Even though I am dreading receiving rejection letters sealed in envelopes penned by my own hand I am starting to feel a bit better about the whole ordeal. When I have some time to myself I attempt to work out the odds of just one application being successful, and how many available placements there are at twenty seven chambers. I then realise the reality is probably strikingly different due to the sheer volume of numbers of people applying.

A friend arrived back at University after a trip home for the weekend. Like myself he had only just begun his quest for work experience. Upon his arrival he informed me that he had secured work experience at a very large Solicitor's firm in a major city. Quite an impressive doubt helped by the fact that he happens to be incredibly chummy with a senior partner.

Despite how it may come across I am not bitter about people gaining places through their connections. I am however a realist. I know that I have to strive to do this myself. I know that instead of an Uncle who is a barrister, or a family friend who happens to be Lord Chancellor I need to have something else;

Grit, Determination, and the Desire to Suceed.

I don't imagine I can use them as references though...

Saturday, March 10

In Pursuit of Work Experience Part I

With respect to work experience I've been as pro-active as my timetable will allow over the past two days. What with Thursdays and Fridays being quite full days, the hours I had left to call Chambers and Solicitors practices wasn't as much as I needed. However, I have been calling Chambers and finding out the names of whom I should write to. Nothing to be particularly proud of, but the speaker that came in on Wednesday told us how he will open post not specifically addressed to him slightly later and cast a more disparaging eye over the sender.

On the subject of applying to Chambers I have decided to send applications for mini-pupillages to twenty. Twenty seems like a good number. Actually it will be twenty one, as I applied for one set online (clearly moving with the times). I'm going to write twenty individual cover letters, and include twenty stamped self-addressed evelopes. If I don't manage to attain a place out of twenty I will be slightly concerned as my back up plan for a placement with a solicitor's firm is not quite going to plan either.

One firm I called yesterday only accepted students for work experience if they were in the third year of a law degree or GDL and agreed to take a training contract with them. A bit catch 22 I thought.

That's all I've got time to post for now, I have to fight my way through the Saturday crowds to purchase 40 first class stamps.

I'm posting twenty applications on Monday, I don't think I can afford not to.

Wednesday, March 7

Work Experience

I have been to the talk mentioned it in this post. As it turns out the talk was about gaining work experience places. It has left me in quite an odd state. Firstly, the firm the speaker represented does not accept applications this late for summer work experience. I do hope this is not the case with the majority of firms as no-one told us this. Why put on a workshop/talk for gaining work experience if it is already too late to gain any? However it could quite rightly be argued that we should be looking at this ourselves. If we are not motivated enough to do this by ourselves what hope is there for us?

His second point however was more disturbing yet blindingly obvious; Despite all the interviews, checking of A-level grades and correctly spelt cover letters, one of the best ways of gaining work experience is through a family member or a friend of the family. My family are not legal professionals. This is of course a classic case of 'life isn't fair'. There are many people on my course who have family connections that will aid them. I wont have that luxury. Regardless of how 'fair' it is, I also wont allow someone to get ahead of me based on who their parents are.

I think I may have finally found something that I can use to drive myself forwards and not accept being beaten.

P.s If any Barrister's Chambers are currently looking to give work experience to a first year law student with no previous legal work experience, feel free to post....

Time Constraints

Finding myself with a little time off during the day I have been surfing a few blogs when I should normally be reading books. I still have to read several chapters in Smith and Keenan's Company Law, but I've found myself with some time-related problems now.

At one o'clock there is a guest speaker coming to the University from a local solicitors firm explaining the process of becoming a solicitor...or to explain gaining work experience. It's not that I don't listen; there are several of these talks planned and booked at the moment and I know that I need to attend them all, so which is which isn't strictly important.

I only realised the time a few minutes ago. Taking out my phone to call a friend to remind them of the event I saw that I had gained several text messages. Strangely, from the letting agency that we are going to be renting our house from. I've not quite worked out yet why they don't just call. Apparently because we are yet to return the tenancy agreement (no-ones fault, a number of us were instructed by parents to wait until solicitors had been sought) it is now a matter of urgency that we get to the office to talk it out with them.

Not that I am intent on causing a fuss, but they have charged five of us 40 pounds each to hand us a few papers and to not let the property to somebody else; I have a talk to attend, they can wait a few hours.

Tuesday, March 6

Why turn up?

This morning I sat through a few lectures where the subject-matter was such that the topic demanded my full attention, without which I would rather quickly become lost. It was for this reason that I started to get more and more irrate as the group behind me would not stop talking. Now I'm not normally one to start saying 'We're here to learn'. However being honest with myself and not caring what it makes me sound like, I am here to learn. What I don't need is for the people behind me to giggle, hum, sing and generally disrupt my learning experience. How they didn't manage to realise that half a dozen others were scowling at them is beyond me.

I'm off for more lectures. Fortunately no-one turns up for these ones and if I'm lucky I'll have an entire row to myself with no distractions.

- Also I've finally succumb and upgraded to the new blogger.

Edit - I was correct in thinking that there would be less distraction at this afternoon's lecture. I managed to follow what was the lecturer was explaining, and with no interruptions. It was a shame when she informed us that the topic was highly unlikely to appear on the exam...

Monday, March 5

'I’d be more apathetic if I weren’t so lethargic'

I'd like to say that I've been too busy in the past week to write a blog entry but that has not been the case. This week has been the same as most, following the same routine ever onwards. In fact the most exciting thing to happen to me this week on my course was that I recieved the marks for the group presentation in Public Law. It wasn't a great result but that's what happens when your group has less members than it should. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank John Reid for his recent performance regarding the number of prison spaces left - Always good material for The Rule of Law.

I've been reading LawDent, I am slightly concered that he appears to show many of the tendancies that I myself have, however I am still without the addition of a few extra inches of waist - plenty of time for that though. He makes a reference to Douglas Adams, my favourite quote from the author is that of Sunday afternoons being referred to as the 'Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul'. I'll admit that my Sunday afternoon wasn't quite so dramatic, but I can never get any work done on Sundays and always end up feeling like I should be doing something.

I like to leave this post with a note that I assume something more interesting will happen over the course of the next few days. I would also like to mention what a relief it was to finally get back to having lectures.