Friday, 5 February 2010

Back in the land of Blighty, after being out of the UK for 13 days.

A lovely break it was too, save the lack of internet access. (Another year or so and a "dongle" will be a popular accessory. I await the person who decides to import them there. Once there, they will fly. Currently, the local term for internet access is "dial and wait" Therefore I was unable to write a post boasting about the amount of glorious sunshine I subjected myself to on a daily basis. Sitting on a veranda watching the world go by was utter bliss. Utter bliss, I say.

At the same time, I dragged my laptop halfway across the world, to only open it to download pictures of this beautiful place and unbelievable sights. Typical!

I have yet to complete the written exams that are part of the BVC. I have to write an "Opinion" on a contractual matter as well as a Drafting exercise.

I have an idea who's side I will fall down on, but I still feel as if there is something missing. This is a common problem on the BVC. It could be because the law is so wide, or perhaps, I simply need to trust my instincts with regards to the BVC.

In the country that I visited, I asked about practicing there in a Criminal capacity. I was advised that I would be welcome, but I would have to do the BVC again in that country. There goes my idea of working somewhere where there is continual sunshine! The law in this country runs on the same principles of that in England and Wales, however, following the law is oftentimes the exception, rather than the rule.

To top it off, I have received an offer to apply for an internship in the Hague, in the area of Criminal Defence, working with one of my favourite QC's.

I will have to adjust my personality to that of Egghead this week, to complete all the tasks I have assigned to myself.

No rest for the wicked!


Sunday, 17 January 2010


Well, there we have it. Another load gone, shot, offloaded, but why do I still feel like I have the weight of my college on my shoulders?!

The MCT (Multiple Choice Test) is the exam that will have most BVC students tearing their hair out. I nearly went bald this morning, but I digress..

The MCT is the Criminal and Civil Litigation and Evidence Paper that each budding barrister must sit, irrespective of what area of law they want to specialise in.

The MCT always cause my heart to almost stop, but when I realise I am still actually alive, I take a breath and read, I am OK.

The paper was a 3hr paper, no break, no water, no nothing, just you, your paper and the big muscle in your head that is called a brain. I did wonder where mine went at times today. I believe I have finally located it....Hmmmm (What -is- my- name? Where- am -I?)

I wonder which sad, depraved individual obviously in need of good hard shag, writes these papers? They must be seriously frustrated, or I am simply a fool? Can you believe it took me about 8 minutes to READ one question today (Q66) that made my brain fizzle. Apart from trying to stay awake, having revised for half of my life, travelled over 200miles to attend, fought my way through the breakfast squash at 07.30 this am, at 9am, I found myself in a room with a pencil, the exam Q paper, answer paper and a sharpener. I felt good, until...I opened the trucker! In all honesty, compared to the mock, the question paper for me was far too long winded. Plenty of double negatives, and at the best of times this is quite difficult, added to the fact that all the parties in the various scenarios had similar names, like Dee and Deidre and Priya and another one beginning with "P" This just makes it all that little bit harder to make a quick judgement on an answer. I suppose my college expects its students to take this all in their stride, along with the £12K they have conned out of me.

Instead of getting some beauty sleep, and trust me I need it, I am preparing for my Negotiation Mock exam, tomorrow. We also have to prepare an Advocacy Brief for tomorrow afternoon. The only saving grace, apart from it being the last SGS of the day, it is also a brief we have worked on before, so those that did the work the last time, will know it, those that did not, will have to get to reading.

Our last SGS of the day was with a lecturer I have never ever seen or heard of before. Apart from a slightly crossed eye, the lecturer is really good at bringing out the good points in a student's submission. Said lecturer also found the time to give me some advice re the path I am hoping to take.

Initially, I wanted to work in the area of Crime, not really to become Rumpole's sister, but because I love Crime. My LA job revolves around other people committing crimes and I enjoy that. Coupled with my weekly subscription to "Serial Killers" when I was about 13yrs (yes, the parents allowed it!) Crime has always been my passion....BUT...................................

I am not Stooopid! I really, really, really, really (x100, or to infinity, as me Sis would say) want to practice crime and run around various Crown Courts (Mag's don't pay enough @ £50 per appearance) High Courts and dare I say it, Appeal Courts, but the monies paid to Junior Counsel are DIRE. Apart from the added problem that pupillages are so few and far between, one has to be realistic and this is where said lecturer comes in. Today he advised me that many people come to the BVC expecting to leave, get a pupillage and then run around courts for loadsamoney. Said lecturer advises strongly that this is not the case and that legally aided practice areas will come under more funding cuts. With this in mind, what does one do? Advice from lecturer, open your mind and think about other ways that the BVC can be utilised. In-House is the way forward and with the impending merge of both professions (Barristers and Solicitors), it makes sense to be paid to work, be paid to be sick and be paid to have mini-me's!

With that in mind, I have just completed a search and have found a pupillage provider who is willing to entertain me.

Failing that, I will have to ensure my boss sees the merits of having In-house Counsel at the LA. Who knows, that is the fun part of this, in a sick twisted way, it’s a bit Forest Gumpish, "you never know what you are going to get"

Over and out,

Knackered, bewildered, knackered, bewildered and knackered some more.


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas, Exams and Life!

Apologies, once again. Can you believe two whole months have passed since I last made an entry?

I can!

BVC-thus far.

Well, it has been a hard long slog, one in which only the strong survive. (and even then I feel f@cked)

This month I have to ensure I have revised Criminal and Civil Litigation, in time for the MCT's in mid Jan. Also have to make sure I am prepared for my Negotiation Mock assessment where I will be paired with a real barrister as opposed to an actor as in previous assessments. I am more confident with applications and hope that I get through this next set with some of my brain cells still in tact.

After January, comes February, then March, then April, and finally in May, THE END!

I still have major prep for the MCT's, and have to pick my Options. Thus far, I am settled on Advanced Criminal Litigation and PI. There are other modules I would like to do, but one has to be realistic, given I am what one might term a "mature student" who neither went to Oxford or Cambridge, is 1ft tall, with three arms and 4 feet! The elusive pupillage may evade me for 2010 entry. This, I am prepared for, but if pupillage is not forthcoming within 2-3 years, off to the nearest solicitors office, for me.

I wonder how many of the BVC students, within a 3 year period, actually make it to the Bar? Anyone know?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Getting back into the swing of things on the BVC

Well I feel like I’m back on the BVC, proper. We had a longish summer, over which I enjoyed my life again and slightly forgot the uphill struggle that is the BVC.

The first weekend back on the BVC, last month went by in a blur. I managed to complete the study group sessions and felt like I was getting back. The third month looms in three weeks and in addition to ensuring I have completed all study groups, I have to complete a formative Opinion Writing Assignment. I really have to get my arse into gear with this one. In addition, my favourite subject Advocacy is getting better. I really enjoy Advocacy. Last month we focussed on Examination in Chief and Cross Examination of Witnesses. This was really interesting. It isn't quite what you'd expect, but once you understand the reasoning behind XIC and XX, you can really put a Witness in a corner.

This coming month, we have Negotiation Skills, Civil and Criminal Litigation, Opinion Writing and Drafting as well as double Advocacy. For Criminal, I have to look at Indictments and what goes on them, who has the responsibility for preparing them, and others. I am looking forward to making sure that my submission leaves my marks in the Very Competent section. My exam last year put me there and I want to stay there.

Paralegal jobie- Well I have now worked at the firm since the end of July. It really is hard effing work. Working at the LA, ensures you are responsible to an extent, but working at the firm, it is clear that criminal law is not for everyone. It is fast paced, time barred, precise, thankless for the most part, responsible and plays havoc with your sense of morals. I love it. I wish I were paid a lot of money to do it. Alas, I am not.

Boss One and Boss Two still cannot stand each other and they are soon due to part ways. This should make the experience for my Boss and his team a lot more pleasant! I look forward to that time.

Promises, promises that I will add entries more frequently, once again, I promise!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Defending suspects

I know, its late and I must be mad, posting at this time. I am a night owl, as much as I would like to deny this fact, I cannot.

I have just got home, having decided to give my free time to the Criminal practice where I am working as a Paralegal. Apart from the case I mentioned that is in the press, I am working on other cases that are equally as interesting, if not infamous.
Having just completed a comparison of evidence schedule for a massive 23 count offence, I am worn out. My client has so much evidence against him that I simply have to be in court on the day of sentence to see what "Bird" this geeza has ends up doing. He will end up doing time, no matter who represents him. The weight of the evidence is simply, outstanding. The case is of a nature that makes you sad that our society has come to this and of course the defendant denies all allegations, backed up by his doting wife.

Now I can't sleep and I have to be at the LA in the am, bright and sparky. Thinking of the LA, I was invited to  the home of my ex-boss who was run out of her position for some food and drink along with the rest of the department last week. Those who I thought were going to attend did, and I, who was unsure due to the nature of the criminal firm's working hours, made it.. Glad I did too. Was a nice affair, save one person inparticular who is a rattle snake in the grass and I believe only a few people have realised that this person really is a naughty one, a really really naughty one. The person will eventually cock-up. Even the best ones do. I shall smile when I see it. I think the person who was bitten knows who took a bite out of their arse! I digress....

Criminal defence is a lot of hard work, for very little pay or thanks, but it appears to be the field that I excel in and am comfortable.

Study time is looming and I need to get my arse into gear. I have at least arranged the practical elements of a study session, all I have to do is attend. First classes back are this weekend and I aim to have prepared all my study group sessions in full before Friday! This is going to be another busy week! Aren't they flippin all?!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

I feel like a lawyer

Before I forget, I Passed the Written Exam and did not feel like twat delivering this information to Boss. I was well proud actually as I thought I would pass it. Ye hah! Next, observe two cases at a police station where the supervising solicitor gives advice and two where I give advice and Boss observes.

My life feels really good right now. I haven't won the lottery, I am still broke, but life feels good. A few changes have occurred in the last month and I believe them to be good. My work as a paralegal is great. I did not realise the real workings of a high street firm. In general they are located on a high street, near a high street, in an area where there is a need for a legally aided lawyer. This firm is BUSY. The firm has clients all over the gaff. I am impressed with the differences in the types of clients and the types of cases undertaken by Boss. Boss and Boss1 get on, but don't really get on. They tolerate each other. Boss1 never talks straight, he leans, goes around the houses, gets on the bus, takes the tube, then has the audacity to tell you that he is lost! He is a most untruthful type of chap and if I had a problem that required a solicitor, I would represent myself. If the client were illiterate, I would still tell them to represent themselves. In comparison to Boss. Boss is overworked, but not underpaid, but his attitude to the Law is the same as mine. A client comes in, gives instructions and Boss does his best to ensure the client gets the best representation. He is fair, strikingly honest and good at what he does. I like him. He reminds me of me. I didn't realise there were others out there. I am glad.

Late last week, I was at work, reading and considering some evidence for a case. I was engaged and interested in what I was doing. Boss was at a Magistrates' Court and I was told to get to Court in 20mins. I had to hand him some papers. Papers handed over and it was conference with client time. Client gave his instructions and Boss advised that client should not go down for his crime. We are in a Magistrates' Court. He did not go down for his crime, but he was punished. Suitable and adequate? Perhaps. Will he do it again? I think so, M''lud. From the Magistrates', I went back to the office. In two years time, that is going to be me, advocating on behalf of the client instead of Boss.

Back at the office, I got back to paperwork . Boss man told me that I was going to observe my first Police Station case tonight. I had to meet him at the police station. The case is a very interesting one. One that is currently in the press. There I said it. I really want to tell you, but I can't. It is sooooo interesting. I am like a kid in the candy store. So I meet Boss at the station and we are shown in by Tired Eyes Copper from the Flying Squad. Tired Eyes tells us to come through and we sit in the fishbowl. Custody Sarg is a big bloke. Bald, nice eyes, friendly but observant. Makes eye contact. Tired Eyes gives less eye contact. This may be because he is going to be in the Interview on the case that is in the papers right now. We see the client and he says little, gives his instructions and we then go for the interview. Tired Eyes has hooked up with AngryCop. AngryCop and Tired Eyes proceed with the interview. Client says nowt and this angers AngryCop and makes Tired Eyes, more tired, dare I say. After interview where nowt was said, I leave the police station knowing I have to get up in a few hours time to attend the Magistrates' Court so that Client can make a first appearance. Client remained in Custody and will make a second appearance at a Crown Court on the next available working day.

Local Authority has had a few changes. If you remember, Manager person was "run out" of her job and has not been seen since, save a stint on a TV programme. The TV appearance was recorded whilst she was still in post. The TV programme only looks at what other people call the "sexy" part of my job. I don't think it is sexy. It doesn't give me goose pimples, leave a big fat grin on my face, or if done propa, leave me tired! I like what I do, but I do not want to do it for that much longer. I want to be a Criminal Barrister and I will be. I have to be. What else would I do? I am too opinionated and my vicarious love of Criminals, will always leave me wanting for a Courthouse. I love being in Court. I feel alive when I am in Court.

Monday, 27 July 2009


How to talk to a Judge? I can safely say I now know. This was no mean feat. The bf can't stand the traditional aspect of the Bar and sees no reason why we cannot speak in plain English. ....I digress......

In the advocacy assessment of last month, we had to prepare and give submissions on an interim payment. I left feeling happy and was quite shocked that I received a result that would have equalled the smile on my face after I left the assessment room. I passed the Advocacy assessment and can safely say that this is one of my favourite subjects and one I think I do my best in. Some people say that Advocacy is a bit like acting. There are merits in this, however, whenever I am "up" I feel like I am the mouthpiece for the client and that the points I have should be addressed, noted and agreed with. The is the stance I have in my head whenever I am "up" and I hope this assists me. I got a good grade, one of those ones that you feel proud telling your parents.... Dad has now resorted to advising me that when I start making "grands" not to forget him. He of great faith.

Life has been quite busy since the end of the BVC. The "restructure" prime facie ( I love this phrase!) sought to retain skills and knowledge within the department, save money, elect higher management, restructure and "streamline" the department, but if office gossip is to be believed, assist a particular individual to perhaps not take up the post offered upon restructure. One day, at work, expecting to see this person, and you would never believe it, they were not there. Sick, I say, Sick as...well individual didn't say what made them sick, individual called again and requested to take annual leave. One only take annual leave in an LA if they need to. That is what flexible working is all about.....individual took the annual leave owed to them and "puff, be gone" just like that genie in "I love Lucy" The rudest thing was that a leaving card appeared before the Whoosh. Some of the team took it quite well considering, others were none too impressed by the execution of the "restructure" To all intents and purposes, individual was a nice individual , perhaps not best suited to the chemical make up of the superiors that governed. So we fast- forward to working without individual, and where I thought it would be a bit weird, it hasn't been really. As they say, Life goes on. I think individual will be back, like a scorpion to sting someone. Work is busy, plenty of work to do, less politricks and I am easing myself into an organised phase. Feels good. Disorganised was good too. Chaos is good, it helps the mind filter out the chaff.

In this filtering mode, I decided I needed to focus on the money raising aspect of life. I applied for a Criminal Paralegal role, I am still waiting. They have advised "if you do not hear from us, due to the number of applications we receive we may not be able to respond. Please take it that you have been unsuccessful" Well how long a gap does one leave? I have not heard anything from them as yet.

ensuring that the application I sent off was a good move, I ran the idea by the supervisor who agreed to assist with PSRAS. He said "Wot, you need a job, you neva said. Come and see me" So I did. I went to see him last Friday. The following Thursday, I started work with him as a Criminal Paralegal. Well, I was ecstatic. The firm is a high street firm, extremely busy, full of politricks but small enough for me to obtain a hands on approach to Criminal Law. The Boss started me off with reading cases. The first case was a LA case, so this one was a doddle and I felt proud that I had told him something new about this particular aspect of law. The second was an individual who had 23 Counts against themselves. I read the Witness Statement of one individual and realised that the job I will eventually do, will always leave someone unhappy. I had the task of considering evidence. I have not done this before, so I hope the attempt I handed in to the Boss was good enough. If it wasn't I hope the Boss tells me what was wrong and how to fix it. The office space is tight, the stationary cupboard is bare, I feel sorry for them. But I have a good feeling about working for this firm and the opportunities it may lead to. At least they will instruct me!

So, I still work for the LA, I paralegal part time for a firm that seems to be clinging on but is vibrant, busy, and will afford me an opportunity to hone my craft. Boss seems to be genuine in his offer of assistance, this helps. I await the result of a written police station exam I took earlier this month. I have to pass this now, failing it will make me look like a big fat twit at the split between two partners firm. Partner does look a bit Ford Dodge though. It's in his eyes. Boss is charming and would have made for good TV, but you can also see he has a genuine desire to practice law, properly and justly. This is all I want and I am looking forward to this ride.

Oh, and the fact that the team haas been paid late on occasion has not made me want to run, so let's see how this pans out.

I have yet to save any extra money, nor read any of my materials for September, but this week will change that.

Until the next time..