Monday, 30 June 2008

Longer arms required

Barmaid has got a headache.

She has been foolishly kidding herself that legal text is getting smaller, but the final straw came today when, having faffed about with her printer for half an hour, she realised that the blurred pages weren't the printers fault, but were due to her failing eyesight. To add insult to injury, the continual squinting has given her one hell of a headache.

On a brighter note, Barmaid has been reading up on one of her favourite subjects - director's duties and (directors) breach of fiduciary duty. When explaining to Barman why it was such an interesting area of law, he looked at her and said that she really does need to get out more.

Saturday, 28 June 2008


Second visit to the Inn yesterday and Barmaid was a little more relaxed about it all. People watching was a greater success than the legal research which Barmaid had originally set out to do.

Barmaid's hairdresser is having a spot of bother with his landlord, so Barmaid thought that she'd have a look (in the Inn library) at some landlord and tenant stuff to see if she could help. Somehow or another, Barmaid finished up reading a very good book about The Companies Act 2006 and then went onto an employment law book written by an eminent Q.C., that focused mainly on restrictive covenants in employment contracts - the hours just sailed by....

If you see Barmaid sporting a bubble perm in the near future, please don't ask if her hairdresser got his landlord problem sorted.

She also got chatting to a very well educated, baby barrister, who said that his legal speciality was "creme". Barmaid didn't know that dairy produce was such a hotbed of litigation and may look into doing "creme" herself when it comes to choosing electives.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Swooshing Gowns

I finished my law degree last Autumn, but graduation ceremonies weren't until this Spring. Much to my disappointment (not), the ceremony was to take place at a cathedral some 100 miles away from where I live, so I decided not to bother graduating 'proper', but just to make do with receiving my bit of paper in the post. However, Barman and various other allies of his had other ideas, and it was with much bullying and cajoling that I eventually agreed to attend the graduation 'proper'.

The day came and the weather was beautiful. Now, you may be thinking that this would have cheered me up, but oh no, it made me even more annoyed that I'd got to get dressed up, put on some slap (renovating plaster) and trundle my way across country to prance around in a glorified smock, I'd much rather have spent a few hours in the garden pretending to weed the borders.

I'd ordered my graduation gown online, so when we got there I went to the robing tent to get kitted up and I kid you not, there was a 'Mr Ben' moment when that gown went on - Barmaid was resplendent, sophisticated and nothing short of a pure genius and what's more, the gown just went to prove it. Barman was smiling (well ok, laughing) as Barmaid sashayed out of the tent, a sight to behold in sacred robes of academia. Tell you what though, my swooshing was nothing compared to the hundreds of men prancing around the cathedral grounds, they clearly enjoyed the feeling of soft, ruched, fabric falling against their ankles (yes, they'd all lied about their height, hence the gowns were 6 inches too long on them), and what's more they'd mastered the hip swivelling to perfection - boy, did those gowns swoosh!

Two (or so) glasses of champagne later, Barmaid proudly, but rather unsteadily walked across the stage to receive her degree 'proper' and in hindsight wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Did she swoosh? - you bet ya she did!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

RCJ and my Inn

Decided to have a day in London yesterday. First stop was my BVC provider to drop off some registration paperwork. Next on the agenda was my first visit to my Inn. Don't know what I expected, but perhaps I will grow to love the place in time!

Took myself off to the the Royal Courts of Justice - what a lovely place, with a fab atmosphere. Sat in the little cafe watching the lawyers going about their business, all looking elegant and relaxed. One elderly barrister had a young pupil with him and was talking to her in such a kindly way, taking time to carefully ask her opinion on this and that. Oh, how I hope that I get someone just as nice if and when I get pupillage.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Charon Q.C's Freudian Slip

Charon Q.C has most kindly included Barmaid's blog in his blogroll. I think he has unintentionally let slip exactly what he thinks to this blog, for it is listed as Bar-maid bogspot.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Cash for Qualifications

Having spent the last 6 years studying part-time for my LLB (Hons), it really p*****s me off to discover that if you do a one year conversion course (GDL) with a certain provider and then sign up for their LPC, you will automatically be awarded an LLB on completion of LPC - no additional studies are required. The provider argues that the 'add-on' LLB isn't a qualifying law degree, so there's no harm done. My question is, if it isn't a qualifying law degree, what is the point of it? It looks to me like nothing more than a 'bribe' to entice students onto their expensive courses - cash for qualification me thinks.

I'm proud of my degree, I worked hard to get it and that is the way it should be. Some parts of my traditional LLB course I found interesting, some parts were tedious and complex and nothing short of a long, hard slog, hour upon hour of reading and note taking, waiting for that eureka moment, when the penny finally drops and that little bit of complicated case law is finally comprehended. Law is a difficult subject, law degrees should test the student's ability to understand complex legal theory. It is for this reason that I don't want LLB's to be dished out like sweeties at a kids birthday party.

I was thinking of doing LLM, but hey, I'm gonna hang on a bit, I've a heard on the grapevine that Tesco are going to be dishing them out for free if you buy £50 worth of groceries online before April 1st next year.

Rant over, the bar is calling me - The Five Bells to be precise.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Apprentice

Nothing to do with barrister stuff on the face of it, but I must say that this series of The Apprentice has been superb. Lee was a very worthy winner and I wish him every success working with Suralan, he's a wry old fox isn't he (Suralan that is) and very likeable in a Victor Meldrew sort of way. I had rooted for Lee all the way along, he seemed to be the one who was most trustworthy and genuine, but I really thought he'd blown it last week when it was revealed that he'd lied on his CV. Claire started out like a bulldozer, but really did improve as the weeks went by and my God, that girl has balls, she took severe criticism on the chin week after week, went away and grafted to try and pull herself up the slippery, Sugar corporate ladder. Alex and Helen were in my mind exposed as a pair of spineless whingers, always ready to do a bit of back stabbing to try and ricochet blame from their own lack of enterprise. Perhaps there is something to learn from all of this. Success in ones chosen career is not always down to pure academic ability, but is more to do with sticking at it, despite sometimes looking an idiot, or being made to feel an idiot by those who are always too ready to stick the knife in.

Ironic isn't it, that the person who had the least in terms of academic qualifications, can teach us all a trick or two about success.

Not nice to say, but I thought that the two candidates who were described as barristers did no favours to the legal profession. Nicholas came across as stuffy, arrogant and up his own backside, whilst Sara seemed to look afraid all the time and talked so very quickly that you couldn't imagine her being able to professionally and methodically spell out a legal argument in court, it would all be over so quickly that no one would have time to absorb what she had said.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Hello and Welcome

There are quite a few law blogs out there in cyber-space, but not so many that follow the bumpy and long career path the bar. I hope that you will remain interested enough to join me on my journey towards the bar and that we will together learn a little about what it takes to be a 'good' barrister. Perhaps the path will go straight there, but I doubt it, life's just not like that for me, perhaps the path will lead elsewhere, who knows, but I hope you enjoy this journey and journal and will stick by me whilst I try to make sense of it all.

So, where do I start? Perhaps a little bit about myself. I've recently finished the academic stage of legal studies - I did LLB part-time over 6 years and have recently been accepted onto BVC, which starts this Autumn. My mood about the forthcoming bar vocational course varies from week to week, from great anticipation and joy through to panic and anxiety.

I'm what the BVC providers kindly call 'commercially aware' (aka an old fart). I'm married - my long suffering hubby, who I shall call 'barman', has had to endure 6 years of essay recitals and legal ramblings and I'm not sure that he'd be quite so supportive of my vocational studies if he knew who was going to have to listen to my course homework on closing speeches!

My BVC application went in very late, just a few days before the deadline and I would like to say that I immediately forgot about it all and got on with my life, however, I did not forget and on that day at beginning of March when the offers went out, I was working away from home wondering how they (the providers) let you know if you've been accepted, was it by post, email, phone? When I finally got home, there was no mail, there were no answerphone messages, so I went to the computer to check my emails, and shouted something very original ("Oh my God"), to which my husband came rushing through to see what was wrong. I'd got 2 offers for BVC and was nearly as amazed as my husband. My sheer joy soon turned to horror when I realised how expensive the course is and just how much debt I am going to accrue over the next 2 years. The reason that I'm doing BVC over 2 years is that I also have a 'day job' and need to keep earning whilst learning.

Unlike many BVC students, I'm still undecided as to which area of law I'd like to specialise in. My original and long standing ambition was for a career at the Criminal bar, but I also am very interested in Environmental law, so as of yet have no firm favourite legal subject. My nemesis during LLB was Negligence, so I'm fairly sure that I won't pursue this area of law as a career. By far my best subject in terms of grades was European law, so there's another possibility to explore and the list goes on..................... I hope that an area of law will choose me instead of me having to try and decide where my future lies.

If you enjoyed reading my very first attempt at blogging, please stay tuned during the next few years and read about my trials and tribulations, I will endeavor to keep you informed and hopefully amused.