Thursday, 14 December 2006

Chelmsford 123

I'm feeling markedly downbeat. I'd like to be able to attribute this to just having finished updating all seven folders of Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law. I've already mentioned loose leaf filing, without describing it. For those of you uninitiated in this form of torture, it involves a loose leaf textbook made up of a sort of lever arch file type arrangement containing hole-punched, Bible-thin pages. The main six folders of Harvey contain about three to four inches of material each.

Every couple of months the publisher sends out an update. These vary in size but that last one was probably about two inches thick. Of very thin paper, remember. The update package also includes a set of instructions. The updater then has to insert each page into the loose leaf folder in the relevant place and remove the old page that is being substituted.

Sometimes several pages need substituting or inserting together, but quite often it is one or just two or three pages at a time. Annoyingly, I find I have to concentrate quite a lot to make sure I don't discard the wrong pages.

This is all bad enough at the best of times but the contrast with being in Jordan doesn't exactly help.

I'm being sent to Chelmsford tomorrow with The Master, which is another contributing factor. I've never been to Chelmsford and I find that I had subconsciously marked it as somewhere that I really never wanted to go to. This could be Rory McGrath's fault. Another early start and another dull journey.

It's all a bit of a rollercoaster, as I got some very good feedback from The Master yesterday about some mock grounds of appeal to the Court of Appeal I'd drafted for him. I cooked up a statutory construction argument he'll use in the hearing. The intellectual satisfaction I gained from the exercise, however, which involved some really badly drafted regulations (even by routinely abysmal Home Office standards), has to be balanced against my concern that if The Master wins his case, destitute and infirm, ill or pregnant failed asylum seekers will be entitled to less generous welfare support than is currently the case.

I now have bugger all to do today, so I've been doing a bit of internet trawling around 'pupillage'. Couple of links for anyone reading this who's thinking of applying for the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) and/or pupillage:

I certainly struggled to get pupillage when I applied the first time around, several years ago. I applied to a bunch of top public law chambers but, unsurprisingly, got nowhere. Since then, I've been working in civil publicly funded cases, which I've found very rewarding and enjoyable, despite the frustrations of the work itself and all the funding constraints imposed by the Legal Services Commission. When I applied again, perhaps 18 months ago, I got interviews at all the chambers in which I was interested, including some really good sets. The interviews were quite a humbling experience, though. I messed up a couple quite badly, in one the chambers and I really didn't match up -- I was actually asked whether it bothered me that they worked for the forces of darkness, and thankfully they saw through my unconvincing lie -- and at another I really wasn't clever enough for them. They were scary-clever. It was fun being interviewed by the Prime Minister's wife, though, who seemed lovely.

I got on very well with the panel for these chambers, but I still had to wait for several very nervous days after the pupillage invitations were sent out before I heard from them, presumably because I wasn't first choice and was somewhere down their hit list. Other preferred candidates had to reject their offers first.


Batgirl said...

In addition to the cut-throat world of getting your Pupillage in the first place, there's of course, now the added pressure in that from 2008 you will have to have completed a pupillage before you can be called to the bar.

pupilblogger said...

I didn't realise that, but it does make sense. I've never understood why I've been called to the Bar (two years after I finished the BVC through lack of appetite for Inn dinners) but am not a qualified barrister and have no practicing certificate or rights of audience. I don't imagine other professions have any similar half-way house, such as accountants-at-numbers, architects-at-bricks or similar.

Perhaps that's easy to say now that I do have a pupillage, but this was my thinking beforehand as well.