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On a mission to obtain pupillage using every trick in the book dirty or otherwise. Let the games begin.

Updated: 2015-09-16T16:24:13.763+00:00


Its been a while but ....


Its been a while since I last posted on the blog, but I have had a number of emails asking about what I am doing, so without further ado, lets take it away.

I passed the QLTT and obtained a training contract with a large regional firm where I live, to commence 2009, If things work out for me then I will be more than happy to stay there for a while.

In the interim I decided to take the big IT consultant $$$ for the duration of the summer, so I am working in London during the day working for a Major retailer sorting out the mess that they call IT, however by night I am playing poker at the a number of London casinos. For those who enjoy a game of poker I play the 2-5 PLO and the 5-10 Texas Hold Em at the Vic, some of the people I played with last night include Neil Channing and Vicky Coren and I appear to be more than holding my own, without been specific I have managed to work my poker bank roll up to a five figure sum from a starting point of £4000. The best thing about poker is that the winnings are tax free :) Hopefully by the time I start the training contract my poker profits will go towards paying off most of my rather large mortgage.

On a personal front my little girl had a fifth birthday today, I just dont know where the time has gone, it seems like yesterday when she was a baby and i was juggling my time between the BVC and her needs.

The question that I am most often asked is "Should I become a Barrister?" and my answer is as follows "If you can accept the chance of sucess is slim and you feel you want to take a shot, go for it, but please take into account your personal circumstances, I risked my families financial security and on reflection, it was selfish and wrong, plus if you have 2:2 dont even bother harsh but true"

I dont know when I will update this blog again, so I just wanted to say thanks for reading and I hope you have all gained something from it.

Before I sign off can somebody ask LAWMINX to drop me a mail as she appears to have dropped off the face of the Earth.


The QLTT revisited.


I attended Call at Lincolns Inn last night, as a very good friend of mine was getting called. During the final speech by the Treasurer, he said "pupillages are hard to find and the situation is getting worse but if you think outside the box and have determination you will suceed, he then mentioned becoming a Solicitor first, as this will make you attractive to chambers"

My good friend is doing the QLTT, she was speaking to Richard in the Records office of the BSB to request her certificate of good standing and was told by him that he is getting between 80-100 similar requests each month. Perhaps when I detailed this method on Simons Blog I should have cut a deal with one of the BPP providers to get some commission.

If anyone is considering doing the QLTT and has not yet registered, get in touch and lets see if we can negotiate some discount with some of the providers.

If anyone who reads this blog is doing the QLTT at the moment, let me know, as it may be worth while starting a private blog which contains hints, tips and job offerings.

No you cant have a study guide


(image) I received a phone call from a very dear friend of mine ("Nice girl") who is doing her BVC course at the same place I did mine, although she is doing her course over two years part-time, as she is having to work to pay for the course.

Our conversation went as follows

NG "Hello Barrister2b"
B2B "Hello"
NG "Can I borrow your old advocacy study guides"
B2B "Why, have you left yours down the pub?"

NG "No - we have been told that we are not getting them as they are not really much good"
B2B "So - how are they teaching you advocacy?"
NG "In a master class with barrister who practice locally"
B2B "So - whats the problem?"
NG "We have only had two master classes and our exams are round the corner?"
B2B "Have you spoke to the course director?"
NG "We have a meeting with him next week?"
B2B "I represented the provider in my capacity as student at the course validation meeting and it was minuted that the part-time course would be provided with at least the same materials as the full time course"
NG - "Thanks B2B"
NG - "By the way the provider is providing yoga lessons free of charge to de-stress part time students"
B2B - "I am lost for words, so you cant have a study guide, but get a yoga lesson"
B2B - "You can have my old study guide if you want it"
NG - "Thanks B2B - Dinner on me then"

All good things come to end


Today has not been the best of days, as it appears my nice little earner at the Government quango where I have been working for the past nine months is finally coming to an end in just four weeks, this was expected but it always comes as a bit of a shock when you hear it from the horses mouth. I am not complaining it was the easiest ninety grand I have ever made plus it got me out of the financial ruin that was caused due to events that occurred on the BVC. The only reason that I mention the money is that the Government seems to have no problem in paying "Consultants" silly amounts of money for very little work but yet when it comes to important issues, such as legal aid there is no money.

However this time round I have saved up enough money to cover at least six months worth of living expenses including mortgage payments, school fees, etc, etc.

What next? Update the C.V and get myself a proper job :)

Its been a good week


(image) On Wednesday night I won $8000 dollars playing poker, although I blew $350 dollars of this when in a later game when one of the players went all in with (6)(7) so I went all in with (J) (A), I hit my (A) but he hit (7)(7) so this was a really bad beat. The best part is I checked my bank balance today and my winnings have been credited. My other half drives a little C3, so we are going to part exchange it tomorrow for a Golf Plus, the best bit is that I can tell people that my poker paid for the car :)

It also transpires that a chambers where I know one of the tenants are offering pupillage, so without further ado I made sure that my application and covering letter were sent pronto and duly received a call from the senior clerk to confirm that they had been received.

This time last year I felt really ground down, but so far I feel in pretty good shape and am ready for the battles that lay ahead.

My first steps of a new year


This week I am going back to basis and am going to perform the following:

1. Create a spreadsheet of all chambers that interest me.

2. Find out if any one who I studied with is at those chambers and get a heads up on the interview process etc.

3. Find out who looks after the I.T systems in those chambers. Is it a national company such as meridian law or a small local outfit? If its a small local outfit then I am going to find out who it is and see if chambers are happy with the service they are providing?

4. Send a CV to Meridian law offering my IT services on a imformal basis. Meridian law supply systems to a large number of chambers - I have Microsoft and Cisco Qualifications, if I can get a foot in here , this could be to my advantage.

5. Sign up with the Lincolns Inn Sponsership Scheme.
6. Arrange some marshalling at the TCC
One last thing before I sign off, as some of you may or may not be aware I adopted my daughter from China four years ago, she did not have a great start in life but she is now doing fine. However there are still lots of children who for various health reasons will never be adopted. I have decided to do a 10k run in April in order to raise some funds for Half the Sky (, which is a charity devoted to educating and giving care to these children. I am in the process of setting up a page on and it would be most appricated if you could spare a couple of pounds for what is a really worthwhile cause.

I am back


(image) I did say that my last post was going to be my last, but after my recent holidays. I have decided to fight another day. I am going to do everything I can to obtain pupillage, I will use every trick dirty or otherwise to reach this goal and will update this blog with my progress on a weekly basis. The road will be hard but I am going to give it another crack, finances withstanding.

During my last round of pupillage applications I was applying for criminal / family pupillages this time it’s going to be different. I am going to focus on computer and communication law, this is an area that I have a practical working knowledge of and I am going to use this to my advantage. I have also enrolled on a Masters degree at UCL to build on my legal knowledge in these areas.

However in life you do need a "plan b" and as you all know my plan b is the QLTT, which I am continuing.

I was offered a training contract at a Large London firm of solicitors (subject to passing the QLTT in March), I turned the offer down last Monday, as I just did not feel committed enough to relocate.

Upon reflection, I want to be a barrister and would rather not have to use by plan B unless all else fails.

Let the games begin

Happy holidays - my final post


Its the end of the year and time for reflection and my final posting on this blog.When I started this blog it was my intention to blog about my route to becoming a working barrister but as time has passed I have decided that I no longer want to pursue this route. Why is this? its simple - the rejections have taken their toll plus I really don't want to be bothered with the financial uncertainty of aged debt and having to keep everybody happy (clerks, solicitors and clients)Having fought off bankruptcy (having to appear before the Master from hell at the RCJ was not a happy occasion) and repossession during my BVC year is enough to focus your mind on your finances, I have done poverty and its not a place I will visit again.If somebody could say I would earn approx £xx in year one and £xx in year two, this would be enough but nobody can say with any certainty how much I would be able to earn, I know of two pupils one is in a criminal set and is not making much money and the other is in a leading set and has guaranteed earnings of £100000 for the next 24 months, this is a wide deviation.The profession is also changing, the are numerous barristers at the bottom of the pile all trying to take a slice of a very small pie, plus all the people working for peanuts on behalf of LPC, who seem happy to get £27 for a hearing and are under the misapprehension that selling yourself short is going to get you pupillage. The profession will contract and if anything I think there will be a number of Barristers who will seek admission as Solicitors as their work dissipates.In my humble view the profession is very close to becoming an endangered species, the CPS is performing more advocacy in house, this was in the past where the young Barrister got to cut his teeth, there are far more students who want to enter the profession than the profession can clearly support, the competition for pupillage's has increased as the numbers of available pupillage's have reached an all time low. This is not a popular view but I am now of the opinion that the number of BVC places offered should be cut by 50% and the course condensed into a shorter time frame, as opposed to restricting BVC places to those who have pupillage or a certain classification of degree.I am currently revising for my QLTT exam which I take in March and will then do my required 24 months of legal work (with a bit of luck the Law Society may give me some discount for the work I have performed for the EHRC) and from thereon I will obtain higher rights, after that who knows :)In life sometimes you have to compromise and its not something that comes easy, some of you will no doubt say that my goals were unrealistic, the story that follows is why I changed my mind about becoming a working Barrister (obviously the pupillage rejections were also a major contributing factor)Two years ago I spent a week marshaling for a District Judge, I just so happened to bump into him again at a garage in Cheshire (this was not your typical Ford Garage) a couple of months ago, I was picking up my new car and he said "you must be doing well" I was in a hurry as I had to pick up my little one from school but he said give him a call, so I thought nothing more of it but out of courtesy did give him a call and we went out and got some lunch. I told him about my failing to get pupillage and the devastating effect my BVC year had on my finances and the resulting depression etc, etc. He just turned to me and said "you are 37 years old, I am in my sixty's - You must be doing something right" pointing at my car on the pavement, -we got talking and I told him my plans to transfer back to the bar once I had become a Solicitor and he just said "Don't waste your time, I have been in this game a lot longer than you if you want to be on your feet, just qualify and just go for higher rights, the Junior bar is not a place t[...]

Becoming a solicitor fist


I was asked to attend the Lincolns Inn introductory weekend for out of London students. What may be of interest to readers of this blog was the events that took place during the question and answer session.

In effect all the students were seated in the great hall and the students had the opportunity to put questions to the panel. One of the students was asking about the problems that he would face when attempting to obtain pupillage due to the fact he had a desmond.

Mr William Stevenson Q.C responded, that a number of students are now attempting to qualify by the back door and qualify as a solicitor first and then transfer over to the bar once they have been admitted to the Solicitors roll, he then went on to say, that although he thinks this is wrong, it does have a number of advantages to Chambers, namely that such positions don’t have to be advertised, chambers is not under any obligation to make a pupillage award and the advantage to the student who has a lower academic attainment than his peers, is that it will give him a shot at becoming a barrister, which he may not get via the olpas / pupillage path.

Mr Stevenson Q.C then commented that he sits on the committee that considers applications from Solicitors who wish to be called to the Bar and that in the majority of cases; as long as an applicant can produce a certificate of good standing they will be allowed entry to the profession.

The house move is complete - onwards with blogging


Well its taken the best part of nearly two months but we are now in the new house. During this time I have thought about the direction of this blog and it is solely going to focus on my attempts at becoming a Barrister. I think the main problem with blogging is that it is very easy to lose direction.

So without further ado, welcome back.

Get me out of here


(image) What is this country coming to?

First of all we have ID cards thrust upon us, on the basis that they will thwart terrorism and then to cap it off, not only does the United Kingdom have the largest DNA database in the world, but now it appears that the police want the power to take DNA samples for non recordable offences, i.e those in which you cant be sent to prison. Did you know that more than 100 children under the age of ten and a futher 883,888 records of children between the ages of 10 and 17 are on the DNA database. This country feels more like a banana republic every day and worst of all nobody can see it, they just take at face value all the shit that this Government (Sic) brainwashes them with.

The small business mans friend..... NOT


This week the Government lost a landmark tax related case. The case in question has dragged on for the past couple of years and finally reached the House of Lords last week. Rather than admit defeat and respect the decision of the Court, the Government in its infinite wisdom has decided to change the law in respect of the issues raised. Why does this not surprise me?

This government has done everything in its powers to decimate small Information Technology companies, firstly we had IR35, the banning of managed service companies and now they plan to make changes to S660A in light of the Artic systems case. This Government does not target its rich chums with tax reforms, because they know all the loans that fund the parties will dry up (and please don’t even get me started on that topic, and lets face it the CPS in this instance can clearly be compared to a limp dick) but instead it targets its reforms at the average working person. If the Government really wants to look at an issue that is manifestly unfair it should investigate how to end the loop hole relating to the tax free payment of image rights for sports players. What has really pissed me off this week is that I have had to pay stamp duty which came to £22000 and then to cap it off, I was reading about the Manchester Metrolink extension - funds of which were promised last year by the Government and then withdrawn at the last minute, it appears that the proposed extention is back on the cards, the price of which is a £5 congestion charge and a debt of £1.8billon pounds, so if you live in Manchester then I guess you can look forward to massive rises in the amount of Council tax you are paying, thankfully I dont live in Manchester.

On the Move


My old house has finally sold and I move into my new house (see picture on the left) on the 9th August. At present everything is in two containers in a storage depot somewhere near the local airport, so I have been told by the storage company. My only problem is I got hit with a mortgage redemption fee which means I am going to have to work 100 hour weeks until I move in, so you wont see much blogging until the 3rd week of August.

I miss my broadband and home comforts. My daughter is asking why she cant go back to the house with the blue door near tesco's. My sister is putting us up at present in her spare room on a camp bed.

The new job is going really well at the moment, so no complaints.

Good News


(image) I had some good news today.

I have been offered another I.T contract which not only pays me more than my current one, is twenty minutes from home and a standard 35 hour week. This means I will have more time time to deal with issues related to the QLTT / Pupillage.

Common sense prevails at the GMC


(image) Dr Micheal Munro has been cleared of misconduct. Dr Munro admitted hastening the deaths of two dying babies by injecting them with a paralysing drug during their final moments of life. Dr Michael Munro found himself in a difficult situation when two terminally ill babies in his care were showing signs of pain and suffering. The GMC accepted that, in administering a drug to ease their pain, his intention was not to hasten death. Yesterday, the British Medical Association (BMA) said the GMC had followed what is already set out in law, which allows for a double effect of alleviating suffering but with the consequence of bringing forward death. I think the doctrine of double effect is nothing but a falsehood and perhaps its time that the Law Commission look at the issues surrounding this case, as the law clearly does need reform.

The sad facts of this case can be found here

If it was my child who was dying and suffering violent agonal gasping then I would ask the doctor who was caring for her, to send her on her way quickly.

In respect of end of life issues I think as a country we treat our animals better than our fellow man, this needs to change. I think what needs to be done in relation to this is take ethics and religion out of the equation and let the people on the ground make the decisions in consultation with the relatives of the patient, we are a supposed civilised society but yet we dont allow our sick to die with dignity. I have seen this first hand with my father who lay in a diabetic coma for six months and then had his feeding withdrawn and as a result starved to death over a prolonged period of time.

Night Shi(f)t


(image) I am on my 3rd day at work this week and my 1st night shift. If all goes to plan I am going to:

1. Complete my two non olpas applications
2. Complete my mini pupillage application
3. Check the lease for my new house purchase
4. Try to slink off and get at least 3 hours kip.

Today has been a good day on the whole; I went into University to pick up my BVC transcript, for those of you who have not read all of my musings I had to wait a year to resit criminal litigation due to personal circumstances. It felt good walking out of the BVC office knowing that I had passed. I also collected my daughter from school today (like i do most days when I am working nights) and her end of term report was really good, considering she had severe developmental delays due to her residing in an orphanage for the first 14 months of her life, I felt really proud of her as she has really come out of her shell this year. I could not resist posting her picture in this post.

Guns and Coke


Here is a course of action that I would not recommend if your pupillage applications are not getting you the interviews that you would have hoped for.

I am rested and feel slightly better.


After what has been a pretty crap 24 hours, I am rested and feel slightly better than I did during my last post. On the whole most days bring their own bit of goodness, however yesterday was just too much, it was not the fact that nicegirl got her pupillage, she really is a lovely person who does not have a bad word so say about anyone. I think what got to me was the fact she was in her very early 20's and I just started to think that the sands of time are doing me no favors and I felt like I was some type of fake, trying to convince oneself that I will succeed in a profession when the odds are clearly stacked against me. It went down hill from that point onward and I just sunk.

Today I will try to pick up the pieces and try to achieve my goals.

Thanks for all your kind words.

Today has not been a good day


Today has not been one of my better days. After finished a 12 hour shift in a job that I loath - I was on my regular train journey home and I bumped into a Nicegirl on the train, who then proceeded to tell me that she had just finished her pupillage and had been given tenancy at a leading set. I had to listen to this for over an hour and sit there smiling.

Dont get me wrong I was pleased for her but it just made me think about all the shit that I am having to endure to reach the same goal. I have always kept myself composed but today I just lost the plot and got emotional. I am just at the point where i am fed up with saying "give me a chance and let me prove myself"

Maybe its time to accept that I wont make it and the past seven years have been for nothing and everyone can see this apart from me. During my BVC year I put my family through hell, I nearly lost my house and was one hour away from bankruptcy.

I have had enough, game over.

Can a BVC tutor spot success at an early stage


(image) I met one of my old BVC tutors last week and had a coffee and a chat. I asked her something that had been on my mind for a while "When you meet a new cohort of BVC students for the first time, can you tell at an early stage which students are going to make it and which will fail?" The reply I received was interesting "Its hard to tell at first, but you do see some students who remind me of certain barristers who are in practice, by this I mean have similar traits, these are the students who do well"

Hey buddy can you spare a dime


"Tony Blair and his family suffered the indignity of having to sleep on the floor and eat an Indian takeaway out of foil cartons on their last night in Downing Street, insiders have revealed. Removal men had packed up their furniture and crockery and left the family with just a mattress for Blair and his wife to sleep on, while their four children were reduced to having to make do with sleeping bags on the carpet of the flat over No11 that has been their home since 1997. The family are said to have made light of it all. "I wonder if Mr. Blair and his family spared a thought for the vast increase in the United Kingdoms homeless population whilst he was eating his curry contemplating having to sleep on the carpet. Oh the indignity of it.

Interviews for pupillage


If you have managed to get an interview for pupillage I think you should read troubled barristers excellent post regarding how to get the best out of your interview. The posting can be found here.

Please dont take this approach.

To masters or not to masters


A friend of mine who also has a Desmond like me, has decided to undertake a Masters Degree by distance learning at a well regarded university in the hope that it will boost her chances of Pupillage. I would be interested to hear your views on this, in particular anybody of has been involved with a pupillage committee.

Her game plan is to work for LPC (see previous post) and gain some experience whilst doing the Masters at the weekends. She asked me what I thought of her plan and I told her that if she is comfortable with it, then she should go for it. I told her that I would ask the readers of this blog for their views, comments welcome.

Clean Shoes and P.I


I have just had confirmation that I am going to be spending a day observing a leading Q.C start a multi-million pound personal injury claim in the high court next month. In my email from him he requested that I meet him in chambers with "A suit, clean shoes and pen and notebook" I did not know how to address the shoe issue with him :) as I always wear clean shoes.

He advised me to read the following cases

1. Waseem Sarwar v MIB 2007 EWHC 275 (QB)
2. [2007] EWCH 1255 (admin)

Upon reading the cases it transpired that when looking at issues of Quantum, the barrister needs to possess the talents of both a fortune teller and a bookmaker. The main issue that struck me in relation to the above case was the assumption that the claimant would obtain professional qualifications in accountancy when it was clear it was a total slacker and in my humble opinion he would be lucky to hold down a job at McDonalds. In addition I could not believe some of costs that the claimant was seeking and some of the costs that the judge allowed. It would be interesting to hear your views on some of the costs that the judge allowed in this case.

Sunday Roast


This is not directly related to the main topic of this blog, but I do like a Sunday Roast once in a while, the problem is I am a bit fussy about where I eat as I like my food fresh and not boiled in a bag or cooked in a microwave.

Today I found Sunday Roast heaven. My discovery is going to cause me major weight and health issues, as it is a five minute drive from my new house. I am going to post a couple of pictures next Sunday, after my return visit and you can see for yourself.