Tuesday, April 17

Pro Boni Discipuli

Since my last posting I have managed to secure enough work experience placements to ensure that I am going to be having a busy summer, and gain a very rounded CV. However, one essential element is still evading my grasp. I am having difficulty in finding a placement with a Pro Bono group. To this end, yesterday, I visited the Law careers advisor, who informed me that I should consult our student law society. I am yet to hear back from the senior member I contacted. Whilst at the careers office I also picked up a copy of the Pupillage/Training Contract Handbook. It does seem to be full of helpful tips, though it's size did nothing to help the tear in my rucksack as I clipped it shut.

I have been spending large amounts of my time in the library recently, which explains my lack of posting. BatGirl may be interested to hear that yesterday the library was giving away outdated legal textbooks as they were no longer fit for purpose. I picked up a couple of Family Law books which, after managing to cleave their dusty pages apart, revealed their year of publishing to be 1999. Still, it can't hurt to have more books on my bookshelf.

By the looks of the book-filled arms of some of my fellow students, this would be the only addition to their bookshelf in this past academic year.

I have made mention before of my liking for the judgements of Lord Denning. A few days ago I stumbled upon a copy of one of his published works (I believe it was Landmarks in the Law). I spent quite an enjoyable afternoon reading his book and then finding the relevant law reports and reading them as well.

That is a a use of time I believe to be almost impossible to describe to someone who does not study the law as 'fun'.

Thursday, April 12


I wrote a post or two ago that I was of the opinion that a career at the Bar held a certain degree of prestige. 'Bagpuss' was kind enough to comment that the majority of the public believe lawyers to be "somewhere between sharks and politicians". I know the profession I intend to enter is not held in the highest of regards by some.

I recently read the Times article about the solicitor who earned 16.8 Million pounds in a year. Some of the comments left by posters seemed to hold lawyers in a very dim light indeed. I'm not sure if I should be bothered by the public perception of lawyers or not. In all honesty, I don't really mind if people think I am of the intention to become a self-serving parasite.

...What is a more pressing worry to me is that on Tuesday I was in receipt of another rejection letter for a mini-pupillage. The difference with this letter however is that it was from the chambers I most wished to gain a mini-pupillage with. Not to worry I suppose, I can always re-apply next year, hopefully with a better CV after my summer placements.

Tuesday, April 10

The Library

Today I found myself deep within the musky confines of the Law Library at my University. There is nothing unusual about this of course. I am after all a student and to not visit the library would be to miss out on the wonders of research... However, the difference with today is that I wasn't looking up cases for my own revision or learning (technically). Still, regardless of motive, I spent a reasonable part of my afternoon traipsing back and forth, no doubt something that caused great annoyance to my fellow library users. I'm not entirely sure if I should feel ashamed that a minor part of my traipsing was down to me being unable to recall what the acronym IRLR stands for.

Rather than for purely academic reasons, I was reading up on case law surrounding bank charges. A friend wished to claim back some bank charges and felt that relevant case law would further his aim. After the relevant cases had been found and photocopied a trip to the bank was in order to discuss the issue further.

Upon reaching the bank and speaking to an assistant, my friend was informed that claims for charges cannot be made in the bank and all must be submitted in writing. There is probably a reason for this, but this is from the same bank that would not accept my driver's licence (provisional only I'm afraid - I don't have the time to learn at the moment, honest) or birth certificate as proof of my identity, but would accept my NUS card. When I collected my photographic NUS card from the SU and told them exactly why it was I had come to collect it three months after it was issued the member of staff said 'But we don't even run any checks on these'.

It felt good to spend some time researching an area that I wasn't being made to learn, but rather an area I was actually interested in looking at. It's not to say that I don't like the units that I currently undertake, but I am looking forward to that point a few months from now when I will never (hopefully) have to learn Company Law again.

Monday, April 9


What with it being Easter break there is little I can write regarding legal education. Instead I thought I might ask a (somewhat) rhetorical question.

Why do certain individuals wish to become lawyers?

I don't know if I have an answer to this question myself. In previous posts I have made note of the fact that I am unsure about exactly what type of lawyer I wish to become, but I know that I want to enter the field in general. (Whilst I am on the subject - as it may be possible to tell - I have been looking more seriously at the barrister route than solicitor, though nothing is yet set in stone). I know what I want to do, but I do not know why.

Fortunately I have a little time to formulate an answer to the question I anticipate I am soon to be asked - Be it at pupillage interviews, mini-pupillages, work experience, joining an Inn etc. When I was slightly younger I thought that I would quite like to try medicine as a career path. After all, it's a good honest profession, (possibly) befitting a product of a Grammar school education. I wanted to help people.

I ruled out medicine when I decided that there where certain aspects of the job I did not think I could handle. However, before I had these idealistic notions of a career in medicine I had already contemplated Law.

A few years later I am a law student (rather quickly) approaching the end of his first year. I have looked more seriously into law now. I am very interested in getting into family law, again, as a means of helping people. But I know if I am completely honest, two of the overriding reasons why I want to become a lawyer are money, and the prestige that goes with the job.

I'm not entirely sure that those last two points are wise to bring up during interviews though.

Thursday, April 5

Gaining Mini-Pupillage?

Not that I post with such frequency as the likes of Charon QC, but my blog will be quiet for a few days as I take some time away. On the one hand I want to stay and work. On the other I want to take a break of two or three days, lest I should be consumed by the subtle intricacies of illegality before Easter even comes.

I mentioned on one of my previous posts that the only google searches that seem to lead to my blog always contain the phrase "Mini-pupillage cover letter". I assume that these people are trying to find a standard cover letter that someone else has written. However, somewhat unforeseen by myself, the fact that I wrote about these searches means that I now get more hits from google searches in this fashion, as I am now almost the top of the search list.

To anyone that found this page when you were searching for mini-pupillage cover letters I am afraid that I do not have a cover letter to give you. I do, however, as someone who has over the past month of writing letters and sending e-mails managed to attain two mini-pupillages, have some advice to give. I don't profess to know much about the process, after all this is the first time I have tried to get some, next year may well be different for me.

  • Firstly, no-one is going to hand you a mini-pupillage, and unless you are very lucky no-one is going to hand you a list of chambers to contact either.
  • (Possibly too late now) Do it early. I searched and called dozens of chambers who had deadlines set in place for applications, many in March, though several were long before that.
  • Hand writing applications adds a personal element, though many also allow application by e-mail.
  • When writing your cover letter, explain why it is that you wish to experience life at that particular set. I don't think it needs to be said, but that will require that you look into what work the chambers undertakes.
  • Do not allow yourself to be disheartened if you are unsuccessful. Continue to write letters to more chambers. If you want a mini-pupillage enough you will keep going depsite rejections. I believe I have sent applications to around 25 chambers. I have gained two mini-pupillages out of all those applications (so far at least).

Tuesday, April 3


I have just listened to Charon QC interviewing Lawyer-2-Be for Charon QC's podcast. Having been reading both their blogs for some time I found it very interesting. For those interested in a career at the Bar that have not seen Lawyer-2-Be's blog I strongly recommend it.

....Easter break has arrived. Much unlike most of my friends who will find themselves with an awful lot of free-time, I now have a large amount of work to do. Rather unexpectedly those of my friends who study media, sport or design have no exams this year. If not for the fact that I actively enjoy reading about law I might have found myself saying 'It's not fair'.

I've so far been unable to decide whether a law degree is harder than any other degree. However it certainly seems that this is the perception many people hold. For a time, fellow students that I met on social occasions would ask what course it is that I study, I would reply only to be met with an expression I will describe as 'Ooh that's a bit fancy'. Thankfully this is a much rarer occurrence now. For some unknown reason our Law Society is not holding a Ball or Function (as far as I am aware) this year, so I have had to resign myself to attending the Forensic Science Society Ball instead, and I am looking forward to meeting people who will have a mild understanding of my degree.

My only worry about the Ball is that one of my date's friends will have brought along a Medicine student and I will lose my spot as the most arrogant man present.