Oxbridge · Qualities Required

BVC Redux

An interesting debate has been going on and, since it is a topic which attracts much interest I thought I would redact the various comments and, using my privilege as blog owner, state my own views.

The points which came up for discussion were:

  • Whether the Bar give as much weight to degrees from universities other than Oxbridge (and perhaps a few others) as they undoubtedly do to Oxbridge degrees.
  • Whether Oxbridge candidates generally have an easier ride and are more likely to get pupillage nowadays.
  • If so, whether that is because Oxbridge demonstrates academic achievement, greater all-round skills (albeit possibly deriving from greater opportunity) or simply social acceptability.
  • Whether the Bar is doing enough to recognise these concerns, ascertain whether they are real or apparent, and if real, address them.
  • How the Bar measures academic ability and the value of A levels
  • Whether the Bar’s preoccupations are compatible with the government/society’s vision

I think that’s a fair summary…

Ok, my views: please note that these are personal only.

I think that the vast majority of Chambers give a 1st from anywhere a great deal of weight. I include ex-polys in that view. I’m not sure that Chambers have a process which weighs Oxbridge 1st against Leeds 1st against Reading 1st against John Moore’s 1st (examples picked at random) – mine certainly doesn’t. A 1st from anywhere says you are truly bright and will continue to do so, providing institutions do not start getting the reputation of making them easy.

As regards 2.1s I think that Oxbridge starts to count and it counts more the worse your degree is. That is firstly because it makes the job of selection simpler and people are attracted to that. But it also offers some support for the proposition that the final degree mark does not represent the best the candidate can do. At present, if you have a 2.2 from an ex-poly the chances of a pupillage are small enough to make the question of whether you should save your money and not do the BVC a real one.

There is no doubt that Oxbridge offers ‘added value’ when it comes to experiences and activities. They are big, rich institutions which have been ably led for a long time. And, employers (and Chambers) return year after year because the product is dependable. I think that means that if you want to get to the Bar via another university it may be necessary to try a little harder. And I also think that other universities should be establishing formal networks (the Oxbridge one is largely informal but that’s all that is required when so many people know each other or have mutual acquaintances).

In my view there is no doubt that there is a problem with the genuine advantage Oxbridge offers in terms of proof of a certain intellect and opportunity, being confused with the ‘done-deal’. It is only an advantage. For too many Chambers there is no need to look further – and that is really the social advantage that Oxbridge brings. In my view a positive effort is needed to eliminate that advantage. It is not based on rigorous analysis, but on sloppy thinking and a casual assumption that ‘people like us’ = ‘a good thing’. Wrong.

The Bar, in my far from humble opinion, is not doing anything like enough. The Speakers for Schools programme is an admirable initiative as I have previously said. But it is a slow burner. What I think is required is that Chambers should publish their criteria for pupillage and their bases of assessment. I believe that these should be expressed as competencies (which is an effing horrible word I accept, but one which has the benefit of clearly meaning what it says) and made available via OLPAS. There should also be a procedure by which scores can be obtained by the Bar Council (and perhaps by disappointed individuals) so that the workings of the system can be objectively assessed.

There are three objections to my proposal. Firstly, it is another layer of time and (less so) money heavy expenditure in a profession in which people do this voluntarily. I agree. But I see no other way of overcoming the problem and my own view is that the disadvantages are overcome by the advantages of a fair and transparent process which inspires public confidence. Particularly in times like these, when the Government is displaying itself at its most untrustworthy and devious (and I have been a Labour voter and member almost all my life) we could do with that.

Secondly, the selection of pupils is a private matter for Chambers. I agree. In principle I would be in favour of letting Chambers opt out – providing that the fact was clearly signified and that Chambers accepted that some organisations (perhaps Government and Local Authorities and the CPS) might legitimately chose to ignore people in those Chambers when it came to allocating work.

Thirdly, that competencies do not provide good advocates and lawyers. I largely, but not entirely, disagree. If that statement is true then it is only because no one has thought hard enough about what competencies are required – and if that is so how good is the current system? Competencies are only ways of describing what Chambers are looking for. It is right, of course, that some qualities can only be estimated (a much better word than ‘guessed at’). To that extent the wrong choices may be made. But so what? We have all met people who looked set for a bright future until they met Ms Chardonnay or Mr Glenfiddich. What this is about is setting a public standard which can be objectively assessed.

There would be no reason why Chambers could not define competencies that allowed a degree of ‘does s/he fit’ to be incorporated. But everyone would know, and if that factor was unduly weighed there would be some redress – even if only by publishing the fact. And people would need training, but again that is hardly an issue in a profession where 12 hours of continuing education a year is the maximum requirement for the majority of practitioners and where attending the Bar Conference (worthwhile as that is) gets you half way there.

In my view, some degree of ‘distance travelled’ should be incorporated into any competency requirements. I need to be careful to spare blushes here but I know two barristers. One went from a sink school to a good redbrick. The other went from a basic comp to Oxbridge. Both share the title of the quickest learners I have ever come across. The point is that educational attainment needs to be seen in context. At the moment we barely even try to do that.

I am suggesting no more than the system currently run for judicial appointment and silk. Those systems are often laughed at and I agree with that as well. But the reasons are not that the ideas behind the system are foolish. Rather they place too rigid a reliance on systems and less on actual assessment, and it takes too long – the silk application now seems to take over a year. I think, paradoxically, that is because the concerns with fairness manifest themselves in an exercise for referees that can take over an hour per applicant and a form that can easily take an applicant over 3 hours to fill in.

What I am advocating is a clear statement of what is required and criteria that force the interviewers’/assessors’ minds to those criteria. At that stage the ‘feel’ factor comes in. Properly applied I believe in feel. Chambers have recruited on it for a very long time and it has usually turned out decent barristers. There is no reason to think it won’t continue to do so. But the added factors should ensure, so far as it is possible, that the new recruits are also standing on a level track when the gun goes off. That’s the point.

This would require a degree of trust on the part of the potential recruits as well. It is unfashionable to trust these days. People feel it far better (fun?) to seek justification of everything to the nth degree. But, in reality, society cannot operate like that. Calls on an individual or a body to justify themselves should be made when there is real evidence of something wrong, not just because people don’t like the person, the profession or the decision. Or we will end up employing more people to check up on other people than to actually do the job – precisely the complaint now made about the NHS and the Education system of course. Those who can’t – make sure other people can’t either.

Feel free to comment. All barristers sound like their mind is made up whenever they say anything, but I am truly listening. I think the debate on the BVC was a pretty good one. Thank you – and keep going.

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45 thoughts on “BVC Redux

  1. The problem according to the Bar Council Interim Report on Entry to the Bar (see here):

    “16. So far as the social aspect is concerned, the Bar is perceived in many quarters as predominantly populated by those educated at public schools, and by Oxbridge graduates. This perception can discourage people from less privileged backgrounds (or indeed more mature people), and those advising them, from considering the Bar as a profession. Although there have been substantial improvements over the past few years, there is also reason to believe that the methods by which some chambers select pupils and tenants may serve, unintentionally, to reinforce this perception. This problem has been compounded by a lack of easily available, accurate, full and clear information about how to embark on a career at the Bar, and what such a career entails.”

    Their solution?

    26. We have considered whether there is too much focus on the Russell Group of universities when it comes to recruitment, and whether a broader focus should be encouraged. However, the complaint that a disproportionate number of barristers come from Oxbridge or the Russell Group can be answered, at any rate to some extent, by the point that, in very general terms, those school leavers who tend to be encouraged to apply, and tend to be attractive to, those universities, will be more likely than average to have the abilities which are appropriate for the Bar. Of course, those universities have their own programmes to ensure they accept a diverse selection of students. There are many graduates who did not or could not choose to go to those universities, or were wrongly rejected by them, or are later developers, who are equally or more able and fit for the Bar than Russell Group graduates. However, it would be simply unrealistic not to acknowledge that practical considerations, as well as tradition and preconceptions, explain the preponderance of graduates from certain universities at the Bar. It is, nonetheless, also beyond doubt that we should be encouraging the most able from all universities to enter the profession.”

    Very helpful.

  2. The facts of the matter are if you are over 25 and have anything less than a 2:1 the odds are that you will not make it to the bar and you would be better off saving your money and doing the LPC.

    The profession is in a state of decline, carter reforms, solicitor advocates, etc. The final nail in the coffin in my view is dress; the last bastion of the bar, the wig is on the way out and will soon be able to be worn by anyone who has appropriate rights of audience.

    The problem is some very good people who don’t appear great on paper are not even getting a look in and this in my mind is wrong, but having said that if I had 600 applications to sift, I would chuck all the 2:2’s in the bin as well. The system is not perfect, the only solution is to make the offer of a place on the BVC conditional on obtaining a pupillage.

  3. Simon,

    Would you mind if I e-mailed you about a problem I am having, dont want to discuss it with anybody in chambers? Its non legal.

    TB

  4. Anon 1.

    Simon, thank you for your encouragement and not being annoyed by your blog being used as commenters’ debate forum. Very long post I’m afraid – just have so much to say on this subject.

    Peter, in response to your last comment, I don’t think you are being unreasonable or short sighted and I agree with where you are coming from and for most part agree with you comments. The discussion getting a little broader seems to have exposed a lot of common ground between all those commenting who were disagreeing with each other.

    I definitely not suggesting positive discrimination, those and only those who are most capable should be selected regardless. However, I do not believe it is the case that the most capable are currently selected and I believe the reason for this is a tendency to favour Oxbridge graduates for interviews over other people.

    Although everyone else who contributes assures me that an ex-poly first is treated favourably over an Oxbridge 2:1 – this is not my experience.

    In brief, I have an ex-poly 1st (top individual grades in everything), I also realised when I started thinking about the Bar that Oxbridge was favoured so, to compete, I got a lot of good quality legal work experience, both paid and as a volunteer. All Uni advisers and Chambers who did interview me commented on the strength of my CV and depth of real life legal experience. I only had two interviews through OLPAS – I did better with non-OLPAS where I could stress my strengths more. I thought nothing of this and that competition must really be fierce so worked on yet more to enhance my CV. However, when I went to Bar school I a number of people with Oxbridge 2:1s who had got interviews at the Chambers who declined to see me (none of them got the pupillages). I asked to see their CVs to see what I was missing and, whilst they were bright individuals, they had 2:1s and far less experience etc… than I did. I’m a tenacious individual so I just applied to more places, hand delivered some so at least someone in the building had met me and carried on until I got my pupillage. Things worked out well for me in the end but I did form the opinion that an Oxbridge degree will get you an interview when an ex-poly First can be thrown in the reject pile. You’re all telling me that it is not the case, but unless I had a freak experience with most of the Chambers I applied to, I still think it is. Peter and Anya both feel there is not discrimination against non-Oxbridge types, with respect, it is very difficult to be aware of a negative discrimination that does not apply to you however objectively you feel you are viewing the situation.

    In all the interviews I have had, both OLPAS and non, I have full trust that they were thorough, fair and merit based, and that those pupillages that I was not offered was because someone was better than I was or I messed up in the interview (which I did horribly twice) not because of my Uni. From this limited experience I drew the conclusion that whilst Chambers are dedicated at discovering talent when they interview people they are quick to dismiss those who do not fit the traditional mould on paper. I went on at length as to why I believe it is so important that the best candidates from all sections of society are selected for the chance of a shot at tenancy. Needless to say I think it is an important point.

    Whilst I agree that it is not the responsibility of Chambers to rectify educational differences which lead to individuals becoming better candidates, I do believe they have a responsibility to search for the talented individuals applying to them rather than go with the Oxbridge safe bet option. I understand that Oxbridge is a safe bet for Chambers if you pick 30 Oxbridge graduates with good degrees you are bound to find at least 4 exceptionally able pupils. By taking this route you do, of course, close the door on any potentially more exceptional non-Oxbridge graduates.

    Seeing as Simon Myerson QC is reading this and Peter (who may get to speak to Geoffry Vos again), here are some potential ideas to put in the pot:

    1. Make the BVC much harder to pass. A current VC should be the bare minimum.

    In my view, the BVC is way too easy. After you’ve completed it you are allowed to call yourself a barrister – I think it lessens the value of that title for those that have the ability to become practising barristers. I think this is a far better solution than deferring call until after pupillage.

    At present, there are a large number of people taking the BVC who are either deluded that they could ever get pupillage or are doing it for their parents. I don’t believe in a sift because I think that people themselves, given all the information, are the best judge of their potential. It is a horrible thought to pay £12,000+ for a course and not get anything out of it, but anything else devalues the title and encourages people who will not make it to groslly swell the number of applicants. I truly believe that the numbers applying would soon drop and the quality would improve. (This would really piss off the providers – you can’t please all the people)

    It can be argued that this will discourage those without parental or independent wealth and make the problem worse. I don’t believe this; to be a barrister you need to have self-belief and ability and if you don’t have the money – you need to gamble on yourself – nothing can change the fact that it is always easier for the more wealthy to take financial risks. Further, I think the Inns should help those without means more (see below).

    2. Means of applicants and their families should be taken into account in the amount of money awarded by Inns

    Yes, they have prestige and the Inns want to award them to those who they think will be the future QCs etc… However, currently a large number of those with the largest scholarships are from very wealthy families who can easily afford the fees. I do not see why means cannot be taken into account so that 2 scholars with the same scholarship name and level of prestige cannot receive say £2,000 and £14,000 dependent on their financial need and so that more scholarships can be awarded and more less wealthy applicants receive help.

    3. More First Round interviewees.

    This would admittedly be a total pain in the behind for Chambers who already spend a vast amount of unpaid time and effort on their pupillage selection but positive change rarely comes without a price of some kind. From my experience, pupillage interviews genuinely test candidates not only on their learned interview skills but on their on the spot thinking and how they react to challenges thrown at them. I think a diamond from a non-conventional background is likely to be spotted by a dedicated panel and many barristers tend to be very dedicated to whatever task they’re undertaking. This situation would also be helped by pre-sift occurring from the challenge of a much more demanding BVC taking away the really large number of people who never stood a chance thereby giving more time to consider those who truly believe given the stricter criteria, that they have the ability to make it.

    I absolutely believe that the Bar can be drawn entirely based on merit from a wider range of society without any positive discrimination; I do not believe it is the essential question.

    Peter and Anya think the problem stems from earlier failures in the education system – this will always be the case to a degree. However, by the time an individual is ready to apply to the Bar they should have shown their potential at Uni or in work to the extent that it can be appreciated that they have the ability. If you haven’t been to the best Uni, the onus is on you to prove yourself through other means and not on Chambers to guess that you might be the best candidate. I’m not asking Chambers to rectify earlier disadvantage, just to recognise that exceptional candidates do not always get into a top University and you can find true excellence outside of that world if you are prepared to look for it. Chambers should be looking further than the name of the University to assess potential. I think publishing criteria and giving a score back to unsuccessful candidates could go a long way towards both sides recognising how non-conventional candidates can make it to interview.

    Personally, I think they should get rid of OLPAS and have an electronic system where individuals can submit their CVs and covering letters which would allow those non-Oxbridge types to stress their achievements in the best light. I always did better when I could control how my CV was set out. I haven’t given my name on my posts because, although I’d like to rock the pupillage selection boat – I’d think I’d more effective from the inside. Until, fingers crossed, I get tenancy, I shall remain nameless whilst criticising the practices of those who will vote for me. If I’m a tenant I’ll shout my name out loud and proud.

    Simon – I hope you do not feel it is being hijacked by upstart would be barristers.

  5. TB: email me

    Long anon: Why should I mind? THis is what this blog is for? Good post as well.

    Short anon: it is neatly in the right hand column on my screen. But if anyone else has the problem I will delete it. I think it must be your settings though, because I have no problem.

  6. Mr Myerson’s competencies’ based proposal would certainly get my strong support (for what that’s worth)! I think Matrix do something like that already, and it would be good to see all chambers do so as well. Such a step towards greater transparency would be very welcome for applicants…

    Anon 1: When you put it like that…… I agree completely with you (and Simon Myerson) in that: While it’s understandable that having oxbridge on the CV gives the applicant an advantage, chambers really should look behind that and not treat the oxbridge label as being enough (or a pre-requisite). I hope that most of them do so anyway, but all of them should do so. I am glad to see that you weren’t arguing for positive discrimination as such after all.

    On your specific proposals:
    1) Making a VC the BVC pass mark.

    I see two problems. Firstly, what about the many many commonwealth lawyers who aren’t great at speaking English, just about do enough to pass, and then go back home to practise with their prestigious English quailification? The inns of court, and the law schools, are richer for their presence (in more ways than one!). We risk cutting many of them out if we make the BVC as difficult as you suggest. Secondly, it is worth bearing in mind that this year, at the ICSL, only about 25 people got Outstandings (give or take one or two). That is a fair number; but if there are only two grades, VC and O, then the grade system becomes meaningless for the other couple of hundred people or whatever it was who got VCs. One might need then to split the VC class into 2 – rather like upper second and lower second class degrees…

    2) Inns’ scholarship awards should be means-tested.

    Agreed, but aren’t they already, in the way that you describe? At least, I’m fairly sure that Lincoln’s, and I believe also Middle, do take one’s (family’s)means into account, both for whether to give anything and how much to give…

    3) More 1st-round interviewees

    Good luck getting the chambers to agree to that one! Sure, I wholeheartedly agree that I trust an interview to assess ability much more reliably than someone reading an OLPAS form or even a CV and cover letter. But the logistics… Oh yeah, and if chambers interview an extra 30 or so candidates in the 1st round, they are probably going to need to have a 3rd round as well…

    4) Scrapping the OLPAS form in favour of an electronic system allowing you to submit CVs and cover letters to each chambers:

    Amen

    Peter

  7. Good posts.

    Here’s another vote for the “daemon thing” being scrapped – in Firefox at least, it is covering up your posts.

    Simon, I alerted Adam Kramer to your site, and a link is now on his updates page on the Hart Publishing site: see here

  8. Yet again, the bar ties itself up in knots about diversity, the BVC and OLPAS. Bieng the slow moving dinosaur that it is, I don’t believe that the Bar Council/Bar Standards Board has even begun to scratch the surface of the problems facing aspiring barristers, and will find it self wrestling with this knotty issue for many years to come ( as it has done for many years in the past, with no resolution)
    As one of the aspiring masses, and for what its worth here’s my two penneth:
    Diversity is a joke.Say what you like the Bar is heavily inclined toward Oxbridge good or bad. In researching chambers prior to the completion of my OLPAS form I came upon one set priding itself on its diversity -this diversity bieng the varied number of oxbridge colleges from which they took their pupils. They’ve evidently got the wrong end of the stick. I dont know whether to feel outraged or just put off by such an elitist attitude.
    The Bar is a dusty old profession that is simply not willing to take a chance on those who do not fit it’s mysterious criteria; just how much work experience is needed before an individual is deemed capable of joining the ranks? Months? Years? I have extensive life and legal experience, on top of two first degrees and a master’s from three well regarded universities, and this still isnt enough. I know some will proceed to answer this post with tired platitudes about selling yourself to the right chambers in the right way, but believe me I will not find this reassuring, though there was a time in the dim and distant past when I used to. Now I realise that its not what you know but who you know that counts in this game.If you are white, able bodied middle class and male then its pretty much the done deal, particularly if you’ve been to Oxbridge. I fully appreciate that this sounds rather bitter and angry but to be honest with you all I’m sick of trying to fit in and am close to the end of my tether.Reading posts like this is nauseating – and I’ll bet that not one of you is able to offer practical help.What do you all do beside sit and discuss it? Typical laywers, I’d say.
    Its one thing to say dont give up/dont be discouraged regarding aspirations for the bar, but quite another when you’ve a life to live and debts to pay.
    If diversity is a joke, the BVC is an expensive farce. The quality of the teaching is rubbish, the tutors remote and unhelpful. At first I thought it was me having difficulties with the course, but given that I came out with a very competent, it really wasn’t the case.
    I really really wanted to be a barrister, but the all talk and no action attitude of the bar council – and inddeed members of the bar it self, has really put me off. I’m looking for another job. I’m sick of bieng a wannabe.

  9. Forgive me, but I rather thought this was practical help.

    What you actually seem to want is a fairy godmother. No one here (including me) can give you a pupillage.

    Moreover, since you have posted anonymously and said very little about yourself, no one knows if you are an example of a genuine case of idiocy/discrimination or a genuine case of someone refused because they aren’t good enough. Both sorts of rejected applicant exist.

    Two degrees and a Masters plus a VC do not particularly stand out. That is the bottom line. Extensive life experience can be useful, but it depends what it is – and what you have learned from it.

    Still, if you can overcome your nausea then email me and we will see if something can be done by way of practical advice. If on the other hand, all you want to do is rant, carry on.

  10. … I can assure you that I am far from an idiot and that I am more than good enough. As to ranting that is pretty much all that’s left since I am approaching the end of the viability of my BVC qualification, and I am not prepared to shell out even more money to bring it up to speed. I been applying for pupillage since university, and now I am truly fed up of repeated rejection; I know you will say that the problem has to be me and not the bar, but I don’t see it like that – not when some barristers find out where you went to university( ie not oxbridge) and then suddenly blot you out of conversations as if you didn’t exist, where there is a luidicrous pecking order, where tradition counts for more than wanting the profession to carry on through the 21st century and beyond. Seems to me if it carries on the way its doing, agonising about who should and shouldn’t do the BVC, who should and shouldn’t get pupillage given that the name of a quite possibly” undesireable” university appears on the members board outside chambers, it’s dead in the water; it refuses to change with the times and go with the flow’ it still treats solicitors as if it were something it scraped off the bottom of its shoe and still views itself as the senior branch of the profession despite the fact that it’s numbers are shrinking.
    If thats not outright snobbery, I dont know what is.
    Thanks for your offer of “help”, but no thanks. It will only be more empty rhetoric.

  11. I am quite shocked at the tone of “Angry Anonymous”‘s comment though I have met many people with a similar attitude – and this is what I was referring to in previous posts on here. This attitude that the system “is not fair” simply because you are not one of the minority chosen is so prevalent. Everyone knows the statistics – it is arrogance in the extreme to presume that you have a divine right to pupillage when you are aware that the great majority won’t get one. What is it about you that makes you so superior to all of the others without pupillage? EVERY applicant thinks he/she would make a great barrister. Otherwise why would applicants invest so much time and money? Perhaps your bad attitude came across in interviews.

  12. Anon 1

    To the rather annoyed anonymous, I totally understand your exasperation. I went through one year of applications and felt totally exhausted and demoralised. Constant rejection, however prepared you are for it, is a killer for your morale. Even more so when you face what you believe is unfair discrimination. I am not trying to preach to you – I have also been excluded from conversations on more than one occassion on having replied that I did not attend Oxbridge. I know that it happens often and those from Oxbridge seem to be entirely unaware of it and a little scathing of those that bring it up.

    You asked for some practical advice and although I am hardly experienced, I will gladly share with you things that I felt helped me in my quest.

    1. It’s a fact in all things in life that it is easy to reject someone on paper, harder on telephone and very difficult in person – especially if you’ve met them previously. So try and meet the barristers at the Chambers – go to dinner at an Inn and ask barristers about their chambers, get thier names and quote them when you apply for a mini or real pupillage. Call and check if they got your application – pop in person – hand deliver a letter – go in and ask to speak to someone about pupillage – what have you got to lose? Make sure you have had contact with someone in the Chambers you are applying to. Ask your Inn for a Sponsor, do marshalling. If work is an issue ask for a 2/3 day pupillage – Chambers can be accomodating if you ask nicely.

    2. Save your anger about the discrimination for hopefully when you have tenancy and can do something to make the path easier for those who will follow you. Play the game – make the exhausting effort to fit in – the prize is great. Never give up until it is no longer a factual possibility – what does not kill you should make you stronger.

    3. Do something slightly off beat to put on your CV – Chambers seem to like it. Go for a trek somewhere, climb a great mountain, orgainse a local charity event, give talks at school about your experiences.

    Yes, I do not think it is a level playing field but to change it you have to be far better than those you are competing against. Those that make it hopefully will be able to level out the playing field. Don’t give up – you could make sure that those with sufficient merit do not have to struggle as you have. Surely, that would be worth it.

  13. .. so says Anya, who already has pupillage.How nice it must be to make such pronouncements on someone like me from on high. Matey you are part of the problem not the solution.

  14. That’s a yellow card. No one has ‘pronounced’ on you. And,as you are anonymous no one knows who ‘someone like me’ is. Get over yourself and stop abusing people.

    After yellow comes red – and I press the little dustbin icon…

  15. Do it then. I am sure you’d much prefer a sanitised blawg where everyone tells eveyone else what they want to hear and not what they are actually thinking.Always with the double standards.

  16. Wow. Anon 1 wrote a sympathetic post, offering practical (and very good) advice (especially in the case of point 1 – which has made a big difference in the case of at least one person I can think of), and it is replied to dismissively without a word of thanks even for the sentiment.

    A QC offers personalised help, which some people would beg for and many feel seriously in need of but don’t know where to find, and the offer is rejected.

    What can you say?…

    A thought: Mr Myerson, you say that “Two degrees and a Masters plus a VC do not particularly stand out.” This is a rather striking statement, particularly for the many of us who only have one degree (or one degree plus the GDL) and no masters. And not many people score above a VC either. I don’t doubt that the statement is true though. I often wonder exactly what really does stand out. What does one have to do to grab pupillage committees’ attention?! FRU work is so widespread that it is taken for granted (esp if you are applying to employment or social security related fields). And, to quote someone I can’t remember, “Everyone seems to have built a well in Uganda these days”!

    Perhaps you could give us, somewhere on your site, some examples of things people could do to ‘stand out’. I know that this would be self-defeating – as if everyone went off and did them, they would no longer be outstanding (!). But it might help a few people for a couple of years at least!

    Thanks for what you do, anyway,

    Peter

  17. Anon,

    You should feel ashamed of yourself. SMQC of course doesnt need anyone to stick up for him but I shall. This is a silk with a large family, who writes this blog not for his own benefit but to help in particular those on the quest for pupillage. When I have publically disagreed with him on a few things on his blog he never tried to “sanitise” anything I had to say, in fact quite the opposite.

    SMQC may not say anything about you and certainly nobody has yet made any “pronouncements” on you, I will. You exhibit all the characteristics of a person finding pupillage I loath; willing to blame everything else but yourself for failing to find pupillage. Perhaps just perhaps you might have contributed in some way towards you not getting pupillage, ever thought of that? Here you have a silk willing to help you, what an opportunity. It is certainly far more help than I ever got. He is not offering to help you for his benefit but yours. If it was me when I was applying for pupillage I would have jumped at the chance, I would of even travelled all the way to Leeds to see him for advice (if he was willing to see me). The very fact you reply to him in such a way shows for a start you probably lack the judgement to be a barrister.

    Your attitude demeans all the people who have struggled really hard to secure pupillage and tenancy. Life isnt a just a bed of roses where you snap your little finger and pupillage magically appears.

  18. Have to agree…. Simon offers advice on this blog – FREE – it takes time to write and then offers an opportunity to email him for advice.

    Not many lawyers, let alone Silks, offering advice /guidance / ideas…

  19. oh, make up your mind troubled barrister -from what I’ve read of your posts here, you think all BVC students believe they are owed pupillage.
    As to advice, if I had a pound for all the advice I’d been given over the years about finding pupillage – which I followed – I wouldnt need to win the lottery.Somehow I dont think I need any more of the same, because, after five years of trying, I will have heard it all before.

  20. Interesting discussion – refreshing to read such frank exchanges. As someone in a similar position to Anonymous, I know how frustrating it can be not to be able to get a pupillage. And I can see how the abuse-a-QC-possibilities associated with this blog could – after a bad day at work and several strong drinks late on a Thursday night – become embarrassing reality. But Anonymous, why are so hung up on the Oxbridge thing? Lots of barristers went to ex-polys. Enjoy the blog.

  21. Alex: obviously that’s why I’m here.

    Anon: I am delighted that you have had so much advice from the Bar. Did you take any of it?

  22. Anon 1

    Peter, you thought there may be problem for the international students if the pass mark was raised to a VC for the BVC because of their English. I don’t agree that this should prevent the bar being raised : ).

    1. Most international BVC students have been willing to live half way across the world and pay huge fees to become a barrister. I believe that if the BVC was made harder then they would try harder. If English was the problem then an extra year at a language school; if intellect is the problem then, like the native English speakers, they shouldn’t be able to call themselves barristers.

    2. It sounds like you think the title barrister is virtually sold to international students so they can practise in their home countries. This seems an awful state of affairs – they rely on the reputation of a course in this country which actually shows little sign of competence and are unleashed on those needing a lawyer in their own country. If someone is not good enough for a VC, I would think they’re unlikely to be good enough anywhere else either.

    3. By raising the level of the qualification it should filter down that it actually means more to people and those from abroad that seek it will work harder and make the whole experience better for everyone. I’m sure the Inns will cope – I don’t think they get that much money from the students – they often subsidise us.

    On the Inns Scholarships:

    1. I’ve heard Middle Temple take means into account as a major factor. I do not believe any of the other Inns do. The most prestigious scholarships are for the most money and tend to be given to those with great Oxbridge credentials who are normally from well off families. Whilst I think those people should receive top scholarships I think the amounts should be means tested – I have not heard of this being done at the Inns. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Simon – I think competencies are a brilliant idea. I really think all candidates should receive a basic score which they can be informed of so they can see where different Chambers think their weaknesses are. This would lessen the likelihood, not only of people being discriminated against, but of people who are not good enough being able to blame their failure on other factors and subsequently become bitter about that and the Bar in general.

    Applicants are generally desperate for feedback from Chambers.

  23. Fair enough Anon 1. I suppose less international BVC students who can’t speak English well enough wouldn’t be the end of the world. As I said though, if the pass mark is raised to a VC, then the whole structure will need to be re-jigged. It’s not just splitting VC into 2 categories. It would also be unfair to expect a VC to be scored in every paper, I think. That would just make it too hard. I know some people who scored Os overall, who got competents in a couple of papers. It would be very harsh to fail them.

    Not being a scholar myself, I’m not 100% sure on how the system work, but I do think that Lincoln’s take means into account when deciding how much they award (for some scholarships – I couldn’t tell you which ones)…

    Peter

  24. Hi,

    Simon- I am really confused and would appreciate some advice from you please!

    I have posted on the student room forum but haven’t had any help.

    Please let me know where you would like me to post my problem. Basically I’m in a bit of a dilemma as to how to proceed with a career at the bar.

    I look forward to hearing from you. sorry if I’ve posted this in the wrong place.

    Regards,
    Anisah

    p.s. I have been catching up on this blog as I’ve been away concentrating on my exams. I have found a lot of useful information on here. Thank you Simon.

  25. Anisah,

    Hope the exams went ok. Post your question on this thread and we will take it form there.

    TB: you owe me an email…

  26. Hi Simon,

    Thanks. My exams went very well. I passed all the units, just got one more result to come!

    Here’s my question.

    Well, Basically, I have been studying ILEX at college. I understand that the ILEX route will take me to the qualifying route of becoming a solicitor. However, Ideally I really want to go for the bar as I have faith and trust in myself and my ability. Although I appreciate it is very difficult, I still want to give it a go.

    The problem I currently face is that I am unsure of which option to follow, i.e. which route will make me a better candidate during the pupillage process.

    I have the following two options open to me:

    Options 1) Attend Oxford Brookes University to study the LLB programme.(to gain entry I will have to wait one more year)
    Options 2) continue studying the ILEX next level i.e. level 6 programme (higher diploma in law) and begin working in a legal firm.
    Options 3) Study the LLB programme at Buckingham University in two years (can begin in sep 2007)

    I really don’t know what to do next, whether I should go straight onto a degree programme at university and then decide go on and study the BVC or if I should follow the ILEX route and qualify as a solicitor and then transfer to the bar.

    I don’t mind going away from Oxford and studying the LLB programme at Buckingham University but whatever I do I want to ensure I am making the right option and following the right path to my desired goal.

    I think I had raised a similar question some time ago but I am really confused and unsure of what to do, so any advice would be much appreciated.

    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated, Thank you very much!

    P.s. Simon- I have read your thread in relation to Oxbridge students and understand the points you raise but I shall be grateful for any suggestions or advice you have in this case.

  27. Sorry this is continuing from the above post. I know I can manage a fast track programme because I have studied the ILEX programme in one year, fast track but my main concern is studying at Buckingham University and later discover it’s highly recognised. Buckingham University is an independent university and it has many overseas students. I haven’t been able to find a barrister practicing in the UK that has graduated from Buckingham University. Do you know anyone that has studies at Buckingham?

    I can’t make my decision and I’m hoping you can help me.

    I look forward to hearing form you.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Anisah

  28. Anisah,

    If you think you can do it and particularly if your current employer would suport you at the Bar then go for it. If in doubt mail me your cv and we can deal with this by email.

    I would go for Oxford Brookes. I don’t know what push Buckingham have but Brookes is pretty well regarded (top of ex Poly league or thereabouts). Better safe than sorry.

    If anyone else has views, please post here…

  29. Angry Anonymous, that I have pupillage does not mean that I am unable to make an objective assessment of your attitude problem. As I have previously said, I did not get pupillage first time. Furthermore I do not fit into the “old boys’ network” any better than you, being 1. state school educated 2. non-white 3. female. I have experienced sexual harassment from drunk benchers at my Inn, as well as witnessing evident discomfort in conversation with a few white barristers on the subject of my ethnic origin. However this is in my view inevitable in a profession that is dominated IN ITS UPPER ECHELONS by upper crust white men. The point is that the Bar IS from my experience doing its best to change, and it is going to take decades to filter through to the upper echelons. Pupillage selection committees are so very aware of the Bar’s previous prejudices. Anecdotal evidence is pretty inconclusive, and the attitude of aged benchers divorced from the reality of selection for pupillage in 2007 means nothing. Why not view the statistics on pupillage for 2004? It shows that there are many more ex-poly students than Oxbridge students going into pupillage: http://thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=51827

    I could have told myself that I didn’t get pupillage first go because of racism/sexism/classism (ignoring the fact that others of my race/sex/class had somehow managed to gain pupillage) and become bitter and twisted but instead I looked at what I needed to make myself a better candidate. I suggest you do the same rather than throwing your toys out of the pram.

  30. Simon. :

    Some eminently sensible suggestions. I also agree that “Distance Travelled” should be borne in mind by Chambers since it can show evidence not only of natural intellectual ability but also of drive, motivation and determination to succeed against the odds.

    Anon 1:

    You are right in that the BVC needs to be made more difficult. The standard required to pass is risible. At one point, we were invited to “mark” genuine scripts from last year’s candidates so that we could get a feel for the level required of us. The paper which achieved a grade of Competent would have embarrassed a GCSE student. Not only does this devalue the course, but it compels the BVC to be taught at the level of the “lowest common denominator” meaning that stronger candidates (i.e. the ones who will actually enter the profession) learn little or nothing that they could not have taught themselves in the library. That this farce of a year is accompanied by a £12,000 price tag is positively offensive.

    As to your other suggestions, I know that Middle currently operates a system whereby the “prestige” of the award is determined by merit but the monetary value is means-tested. I believe that the other Inns should follow suit, if they do not do so already. More first-round interviews might be nice in theory, but we must appreciate that barristers are very busy self-employed practitioners and cannot afford to interview as many candidates as we might like.

    Angry Anon:

    As a matter of interest, were you rejected at interview or on paper?

    Anya’s statistics are interesting and worth reading.

    You mention that your BVC is about to go stale. Presumably you’ve applied over four or five cycles to c. 100+ sets? Did any give you any feedback?

    Also, I think Simon is right in that a 2:1 from a good Uni is pretty commonplace and a VC is nothing special as a majority of BVC students will get one. With some exceptions (notably the BCL) I’ve noticed that people with Masters aren’t necessarily brighter than those with only an undergraduate degree but simply stayed for Uni at longer. I don’t see how a second degree would add much value. Sorry for not being of much “practical help”!

    Recent BVC Graduate

  31. … What on earth is the point of looking at elderly statistics concerning pupillage??To make yourself feel better? I think not. Statistics merely make for useful spin, and in the case of the 2004 figures freakish reading. The trend is still heavily biased toward oxbridge; your assessment is far from objective – you have made the assupmtion that I am from an ex poly; I am not. Further you had only one cycle of application, so please dont patronise me with sob stories about harrassment from the upper echelons of your inn/ the bar. You are not unique in this respect. The fact that you have pupillage means that you believe that you are indeed best placed to make an”objective assessment of my situation”. You are not, so please dont even try.Its my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.
    Angry? Damn right. Chambers feedback is nothing short of appaulling ” excellent standard of applicant this year” is a bog standard phrase trotted out even after interview and means absolutely nothing.
    Want to sort the situation out? Only people who have pupillage should undertake the BVC; pupillage should be secured through an assessment weekend/day; the bar should set the assessment criteria with chambers bieng allowed to tweak the criteria to suit their specialities.This would ultimately mean some of the smaller and lets face it shittier providers would have to close and people like me, where two first degrees and a very competent grade plus a major scholarship from my Inn apparently count for absolutely nothing, would not have wasted 6 years of their lives. Its obvious that its not what you know, but who you know in this game.

  32. Apart from your inability to express yourself in a way that wins people over (which may provide you with a clue as to why things have not gone the way you wanted) I do not think we are so far apart on the proposals – although I don’t agree with pupillage before the BVC.

    But your last comment is a non sequitur. Your failure to get pupillage condemns no one and makes nothing obvious. Nor has anyone assumed anything about you – although you have made some fairly personal attacks behind a veil of anonymity which is hardly behaviour which comes particularly impressively from a barrister – is it?

    So let me assist with some feedback. You are too prone to let your anger talk. You don’t recognise and seem emotionally unable to accept help when offered. If you see the ‘Pause for Thought’ post you will see why I think this is relevant to being a Barrister. You are far too ready to be unpleasant to people who have given you no reason to be – and this in a profession where it is unacceptable to be unpleasant to people who have given you every reason to be. All in all the impression conveyed is of someone who believes that they have an entitlement to pupillage and is incapable of seeing why that might not be so.

    You are clearly fairly bright and I have no reason to believe you could not do the job. But to me you lack the willingness to learn and assimilate new information that characterises those who have a bright future ahead of them. You also lack the ability to examine your own conduct and behaviour in order to learn what is required. That, too, is a characteristic of those bound for the top.

    It is important to make this clear for two reasons. First, you are an adult and the freedom to be rude and abusive is not unlimited. You should be able to take it if you are dishing it out. Your comments to those who have succeeded where you have failed and based on a need to make yourself feel better. That is an act best performed in private – with the lights out…

    Secondly, I want people to understand that debate means just that. I see no reason why I should allow you to rudely make bad points. There is a risk that you might persuade someone who would otherwise go on to a fulfilled career as a Barrister. I would be upset were that to happen.

    I repeat, if you want to email me and talk sensibly then I am willing to try and help. But if you can’t put your anger and ‘all about me’ attitude to bed it will be a waste of time. It is up to you.

  33. Glad you are both having a laugh at my expense – how truly professional of you both.
    Thanks but no thanks for the platitudes and the offer of worn conventional conservative ( big and small C)and frankly rather tired advice.
    After all this time, it is all about me, because I’m fed up. And I’ve wasted 6 years of my life as it is.
    And as to the risk of putting people off coming to the bar if they read this comment then I would urge them not to do it; the vast majority will end up having their hopes repeatedly dashed by some faceless, mysterious committee who think your A levels just dont cut the mustard ( if thats the case whats the point of a degree) who then refuse to give an explanation for their selections.
    I’d suggest you take a troll, randomly through any sets listed in OLPAS, survey the last 20 people to join chambers and count the numbers of non oxbridge graduates therein; you’ll be lucky if you see more than one.This reinforces the point about a lack of diversity.
    Doubtless you will be relieved that this is my last post. I’ve given up on the Bar for the rotten profession that it is.

  34. Hello again. This may not be the right place to post this, but at least people reading this thread and the previous BVC debate thread should have some idea who I am, and they may therefore have some context to my post. I apologise yet again for its length.

    At the time of writing my previous posts on these threads, I had not secured a pupillage. I am happy to report that this has now changed.

    I draw three lessons from my own case. These are points that Simon is more than welcome to make / recycle elsewhere on his excellent site, if he deems them worthy. I am happy to be used as an example of someone who got lucky!

    1) When they say that you only need one chambers, they are not wrong!
    I suffered my fair share of rejections. Over two years, I applied to 22 different chambers (5 of them twice). The first year, I did not get a single interview. This year, only 1 out of 15 sets offered me a 1st-round interview. This was one of the sets to which I applied twice, and which had therefore given me a straight rejection the previous year. This single 1st-round interview led to a 2nd-round, which led to an offer. So don’t lose hope too soon!

    2) Mini-pupillages matter!
    Presumably, the other 14 chambers to which I applied this year didn’t think my CV was good enough even to merit a 1st-round interview. So what happened with number 15? It was one of the places where I had done a mini. Obviously, they must have been impressed by me at that mini. This got me that 1st interview, even if my CV was no more than adequate.

    So, boys and girls, go wild: apply for lots of minis. Especially those at sets which take them seriously (the one that did it for me was not formally assessed, but nor was it one that was dished out randomly…). I know that applying for lots of minis is more time-consuming than the OLPAS form itself, but it’s probably worth it! Oh yeah, and the experience might be useful and/or interesting too, you never know. The barristers you meet might even turn out to be nice people!

    3) Troubled Barrister is right: “merit”, as far as pupillage is concerned, is largely subjective. Views DO differ on what is a “good enough” CV.
    This doesn’t mean that you’re ok if your CV is no good at all. Nor does this mean that you shouldn’t try to stand out, as difficult as that is. Of course practical experience, FRU work etc, is invaluable too. But it does mean that if you think you might well be good enough, there is a chance that you might be able to persuade a panel somewhere…

    I hope that my platitudes help someone out there. Best of luck to you all. God knows we all need it. There’s no denying that it is tough, especially if you are non-oxbridge (though I still think that a non-oxbridge 1st generally trumps an oxbridge 2:1). But if you have a good degree, determination and belief in your own ability, then it’s worth a shot (or 5). Yes, rejection hurts. And the sceptics will call you (as I have been called by another poster on this blog) an “arrogant prima donna”. But don’t let any of that put you off. After all, how many successful barristers do you know who are not supremely confident in their own ability? If you don’t believe in yourself, how are you going to convince a pupillage committee (or a client / judge)?

    Peter

  35. Firstly, a rather belated response to Anonymous’s initial point:

    “The facts of the matter are if you are over 25 and have anything less than a 2:1 the odds are that you will not make it to the bar and you would be better off saving your money and doing the LPC”

    I am living proof that that is not the case. I have a non-Oxbridge 2.2, the additional detriment of turning 29 very shortly (I’m weeping as i type…) and yet I shall complete my pupillage later this month.

    Anonymous, if you do choose to pursue pupillage, I wish you the very best of luck, I remember how incredibly disheartening the whole process is.

    Secondly: Simon, thank you for encouraging debate on these issues. I only recently discovered your blog, and have been recommending it to people I know who are looking for pupillage as well as those who care about the future of the Bar.

    As to the suggestions of improvements which can be made, I am a firm believer that there should be some greater form of selection for those applying for the BVC. It would be easy enough I’m sure for ICSL et al to set up an online aptitude test which could be administered with a few button clicks, and could prove invaluable.

    The current lack of any apparent filter (other than financial means, of course…) for those wishing to do the BVC means that there is a great variation in ability on the course, and I feel that this is unfair both to those with ability and those with less; those with ability are not challenged as much as they could be because the teaching will be to the lowest common denominator, and those with less ability are likely to be throwing their money into a big black hole.

    As for pupillage applications, OLPAS needs to go. I agree with the suggestion that a system whereby a covering letter and CV could be sent would be far fairer. Currently – and this is from the perspective of someone who was applying for pupillage after having worked for several years – the system seems geared very much towards new graduates and it is quite challenging to convey non-academic experiences. I accept that there are the ‘work’ boxes, but try summing up 5 years’ experience in 150 words or whatever the limit is.

    Simon, I share your dislike of competencies; for starters, they’d need to be agreed. In chambers, this would be one thing. If the BSB got involved (as perhaps they should if this route was followed), I can only imagine the discussions that would occur as to which competencies make a good barrister. And that’s without even starting to gauge different competencies for criminal, family, chancery, etc.

    If a set wishes to use a competency based selection system, that is entirely up to them. I think the BSB needs to try and ensure that ALL selection processes used are fair and transparent – I am not convinced that OLPAS does this.

    I also agree with one of the previos suggestions that in an ideal world candidates for pupillage would be selected on the basis of something akin to the recruitment processes used by big businesses and the public sector; i.e. a range of tasks over a morning, a whole day, or whatever. I say this as someone who has been involved in an awful lot of recruitment using these sorts of methods, and it is very very effective. However, it is also incredibly time-consuming – a full day of tests & interviews run by 4 people can only accommodate 6 candidates at a time – and therefore it seems highly unlikely that the Bar will be changing to that any time soon. In the meantime, we have to trust that the people doing the choosing are pretty bloody expert themselves and can spot a good ‘un when they see one.

    Congratulations to all of you who have been successful in getting pupillage this time round. For those who weren’t, persevere if you’re so minded, you just might get there…

    Amy.

  36. “”The facts of the matter are if you are over 25 and have anything less than a 2:1 the odds are that you will not make it to the bar and you would be better off saving your money and doing the LPC”

    I am living proof that that is not the case. I have a non-Oxbridge 2.2, the additional detriment of turning 29 very shortly (I’m weeping as i type…) and yet I shall complete my pupillage later this month.”

    Amy – Without wishing to be pernickety, you are not living proof that this is not the case – you are living proof that it is possible to succeed with a 2.2 when over the age of 25…the statement remains correct, though personally I wouldn’t see the age of the applicant as such an important factor, especially where an applicant is still in his/her twenties. The odds are against anyone, let alone somebody with a 2.2! Applicants with a non-Oxbridge 2.2 are statistically very unlikely to secure pupillage. However obviously there must be the possibility of success or it wouldn’t be a question of odds but rather of certainty…

    Congratulations Peter!

  37. Crikey Moses. Here am I, no degree, left school at 16 and joined the army, worked my butt off to get a professional qualification, (compare paralegal to barrister to see just how high up in my field I am), have 20 years experience being darn good at my job, and then at the tender age of 40, yes, read it and weep, decided that the law was for me.

    Have taken ILEX courses and passed (only passed mind) had a wealth of court experience voluntarily, and then have now passed the first year of the GDL. (Only passed mind, because its not easy juggling a full time job and distance learning a new subject)

    Now I am determined to be a barrister and head down and charging forward. I have secured 4 mini pupillages, probably based on my experiences rather than my O level pass in woodwork, and am still surging ahead oblivious to the difficulties, because nothing in life worth having is easy, and brute force and determination will get me there. Never been to Oxford but have been on a day trip to Cambridge. I must add that to my cv.

    My only slight concern is, am i one of the students on the course that obviously will never make it and should give up now, or shall I invest my £12,000 wisely on the bvc and keep going?

    By the discussions I have nothing going for me at all. My dad was a policeman, I have no degree, I am old at 45, and I have only ever ‘passed’ exams.

    But 4 mini-pupillages? Have they seen something in me that this discussion ignores, or are they having a laugh at my expense?

    Brilliant site by the way. Discouraged? No. Still up for the challenge? Yes. Deluded? I don’t think so, but maybe thats because I am stupid anyway and can’t see it.

  38. Thanks! I don’t think you should give up and I certainly agree that determination can get you a very long way. Some mini-pupillages are easier to obtain than others and it’s a bit difficult to know what your represent without more.

    You are wrong that you have nothing going for you – a previous career which brought success is hardly nothing. As to the exams – well if you are not bright enough it will find you out, but results (see previous posts) do not always reflect capability. Good luck.

  39. Hello,

    I understand my query might not be very relevant here but I could not find another place to put it down.

    I am a third year law undergraduate and I’m planning on doing the BVC next year starting Sep 2008. I am an international student on a 2.1 with alot of good mooting and debating experience but not much mini-pupillages. I understand that it might be difficult for me to get a pupillage after my bar but it’s worth a try. My main aim is (or was) to go back to my home country and practice as a Barrister although due to the political instability there i think it would be rather difficult to get off to a flying start. Yes I’m reconsidering my options.

    I am applying for vacation placements and training contracts to commence in September 2010 (as dates for a 2009 start have passed and I did not apply because I always wanted to goto the bar, don’t get me wrong I still want to and this is why I am in a complicated situation). I am certain that I will end up with a training contract hence LPC fees etc paid, but that LPC will begin in Sep 2009. I know i could fund the LPC myself and still be able to secure a contract for 2009 but I dont want to do that.

    Back home LPC’s don’t mean much and being a Barrister is everything. Basically you are not a good lawyer if you haven’t received a call from Lincoln’s Inn. So what i want to do is this ‘BE SAFE’.

    After graduation, I want to do a vacation placement. While already enrolled for the BVC i want to start the course in Sep 2008. If at this point i get an offer for a training contract I will still finish my Bar and start the LPC next year i.e. Sep 2009 and start working in 2010 as a solicitor.

    After gaining the 2 year experience if i decide to go back home I can always utilize my Bar at Law there. Otherwise I could stay here and work as a solicitor.

    I still want to attend interviews if i get any for pupillage and if I am able to secure one I shall not go ahead with the LPC.

    My query : Is there any technicality which stops me from finishing the BVC by 2009 and starting the LPC in 2009?

    My point : I want to stay safe, be able to get some legal experience in the UK and be able to go back home and practice as a Barrister if I want to ( which I doubt at the moment as I can not see my self as a member of a Bar Council whose website has this section http://www.sindhbarcouncil.com/joke.php…And may i refer your attention to joke number 3)

    Thankyou!

  40. In response to the above post:

    Last year a fellow BVC student, decided to pursue a career as a solicitor and after obtaining a training contract, starting in late 2007/ early 2008- I’m not sure which, was told that if he completed the QLTT (which is around £300-£400 I think) he would be eligible to undertake his training contract- subject to approval and some additional training from the firm.

    Unfortunately I do not know how this turned out as he then obtained a pupillage and cancelled the training contract. I hope this may provide some assistance.

    P.S. Thanks to Simon Myerson for the time and effort he takes in producing the very helpful website and blog.

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