At times it can feel like you are really swimming against the tide. You think “I have good grades, good experience, interesting employment, I moot, I debate, I have fascinating hobbies and I am easy to get on with- what more do they want?”.
Here some boxes to try and tick to keep your application in the hopeful pile:
Those who interview for the Inns are experienced practitioners and can tell potential a mile off.
This is a must, really. There are many sets that run a clinic on Saturdays and expect Pupils to be fully involved. There is a vast plethora of clinic opportunities and the skills developed are going to boost your application no end:
If you want to impress a common law set, FRU is a great opportunity. Yes, everyone does it. I thought it was so predictably dull that I avoided it. With regret! I had to catch up quickly this year, when some had already undertaken about 40 employment and social housing cases.
FRU, or to give it its full name, Free Representation Unit, is an office run off the Holborn Viaduct. You pay £30 to undertake an exam with them! Yes, more lovely exams! And they are not easy! However, there are many advantages:
I titled this section “You don’t Have to Be perfect” because you don’t! There are some smarmy fellows that tick very box. That is life. Some people can turn rocks to gold and the rest of have have to try and tick as many boxes as possible. You might not have the best A-Levels, or your GDL results might not have been that sparkling. You might not speak fluent Mandarin and you might not have sailed the world in a bin lid, surviving off dust. BUT, you can make up for any absent qualities by thriving in a law clinic or FRU.
I have worked with barristers that had thriving practices and each had different skills: some were the brains of Britain but had less than perceptive client care skills. Some could put clients at ease but struggled more than others with the legal analysis.
What a law clinic and FRU will do is train you in how to break down complex legal jargon into language the lay client will understand. They are stressed and they are emotional and therefore, no totally rational. If you start reading the CPR to them in verse, they will just dis-instruct you in frustration. Again, to detail on your Pupillage application that you appreciate how anxious clients need the law delivered in a uncomplicated manner will get you points. It shows a more holistic understanding to your role.
Thanks to George Harley for this excellent piece. George completed his GDL and BPTC at City.