My attention has been drawn to a competitor site to this one which attempts to provide career advice for aspiring barristers. Law Careers.Net provides a pretty comprehensive guide to the basics, complete with a message from the Chairman of the Bar – so it must be respectable.
I want to be honest about this: the way in which my attention was drawn to the site was by an email from them saying they were reviewing the blog and it might be nice if I sent a little puff the other way. Nothing like saying it like it is. That would have been the end of it, save that when I sent my usual response saying that I will only say what I really think, they replied ‘ok’, which distinguishes them from 99% of people making the same request (also why there are no ads on this site). I think that completes my Nolan disclosure.
The information provided is helpful, but uncritical. The BVC, for example, is covered but there is no hint that the course content and value is debated. I am sure that the providers would argue that this isn’t their remit, and they do say that becoming a barrister is ‘an expensive, high risk project’. The page entitled ‘Bar Practice Areas’ is helpful in terms of what to expect and what to do to make yourself an attractive candidate. It is, of course, far too London-centric with only 3 non-London barristers making an appearance (and one of them belongs to a London based set with a provincial annexe). But that is par for the course. The site is also linked to the BPP law school but doesn’t seem to push it.
Their review of the legal blogging scene is interesting. I’m not sure I do permit my personal life to ‘bleed’ into the blog, although the image is striking. But one of the great things about a blog is that no one has to read it, so you can write what you want to write. When, ocassionally, some of the more conservatively minded of my acquaintances have expressed doubts about content and tone, I have rather taken the view that they can try their own approach and we can measure relative success. No one has yet done so, but the possibility is always there.
My own view is that demonstrating that barristers have a life outside the sub-fusc suit is probably useful as far as the public’s view of the profession is concerned, and that mature, sensible people are capable of disregarding anything which jars on them if the information provided is helpful. To try and please everyone all of the time is dull, and would render the blog so anodyne that reading an Opinion on a bog-standard road traffic accident in which you were not involved would be preferrable. I hope that my pleasure in the job, my dedication to its basic principles and the reputation of the profession and the quite genuine desire to help those whose father was not (as mine was) in a position to assist is obvious to anyone who doesn’t actually want to find fault for some bizarre purpose of their own. If not, then I’m not much of an advocate – in which case I shall wait for the deluge of Very High Cost Cases to come my way.
As far as Law Careers is concerned, the information seems to be reliable and the articles are decently written. You can, I think, use it with confidence. It is not, obviously, remotely as exciting and immediate as this site. That’s enough plug for now.