Monday, 25 January 2010

The Circle Line

It is always nice to see a picture emerging from the gloomy waters of legal research, alas, this month I am disappointed that no such crystal clear image has yet emerged. Instead the further I delve, the muddier the waters become. This in itself, and at any other time, wouldn't be too bad, except that this time the said legal research is for my written exams.

It's all very well asking me for my opinion, but I can't make my mind up, the facts and law aren't helping me at all, in fact they are making matters worse. In reality my written analysis could be succinctly put as 'I don't know; it depends'. Somehow I doubt that provider would be satisfied by this carefully thought out conclusion. I mean the title of the work (an Opinion) is a bit of a giveaway really. So I have another 4,995 words to write and somewhere along the line I need to make THE decision; which party is most likely to succeed. At the moment, it could be decided by the toss of a coin. I sincerely hope that after a little more research a clearer picture WILL emerge. There is a niggle at the back of my mind, that somewhere along the line, I have missed an important piece of legislation, there must be something that points me in the right direction, something to help me along my way. Perhaps this exam is really a test of bravery and no matter how much we look, there will be no firm favourite, but we nevertheless have to stick our necks out and make an 'educated' guess.

Next month sees the last of the Advocacy classes. The brief arrived by post a few days ago. This time we are to do dressing up too! Gowns are to be provided by provider. At last, my provider has bestowed upon me the most glorious accolade - that of the barristerial 'swoosh'. I fully intend to 'do aeroplanes' in the hallway in the run up to my grand entrance; at the very least, this is likely to disturb the opposition - they shall be but a microlite, whilst I shall be a jumbo jet no less:-) I am also to play a witness - a tarty married lady, out for a night on the town with the girls. Goodness knows why provider chose me to play this part?

Anyways, all of this chatter won't get baby a new bonnet.

I may be gone some time...

Monday, 18 January 2010


What a weekend!

The MCT exam was exhausting, but unlike last year's MCT (when I was in the nursery class and was allowed to go home after the exam), I had to pick myself up and do classes in the afternoon. I'd love to tell you what the afternoon classes were about, but my memory fails me. Yes, I know it was only 2 days ago, but I'm tired and emotional.

I hope to have done ok in the Criminal Litigation part of the MCT, but the Civil was a struggle. The pass mark is 60% for each subject - results are out in a month or so. I may just be tempted to join the Foreign Legion, in order to avoid that horrible feeling when scrolling down the exam results lists in search of a miracle hope.

We had feedback for our Drafting and Opinion Writing mocks. 75% of students failed the Drafting! Not a good start to the exam season.

The Negotiation mock was awful. I will reveal more at a later date.

We have been given the papers for the Drafting and Opinion Writing exams, which are to be handed in next month. The Opinion looks ok(ish), but the Drafting - well, we shall see!There's a lot of work to do in the next 4 weeks, I just hope that I don't mess up.

I suppose I'm suffering that awful feeling of anti-climax today. I did so much revision for the 3 hour exam and yet there were still questions that were a complete mystery to me?

Bye for now:-)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Last Minute Jitters

I have spent this week convincing myself that provider would cancel the MCT exam (due to the bad weather). However, it has not been cancelled and in but a few hours I have the unenviable task of facing a 3 hour exam, 80 multiple choice questions (79 guesses), followed by a review of my Opinion Writing mock. Oh and also a 2 hour advocacy class.

Mock Negotiation exam is on Sunday (in which I will have to negotiate with a 'proper' barrister, rather than a classmate), along with a review of my Drafting mock and another advocacy class.

Most importantly of all, I remembered to buy lots of sweeties to munch through during the MCT, so all I need to do now is remember which room to go to for the exam, my pencils, purse, I.D., oh and the small matter of hearsay, bad character, indictments, juries, youth sentencing, appeals, track allocation, part 36 payments, more appeals, enforcement of court orders, sanctions, disclosure, witness statements, depositions, privilege(s), more appeals, ADR...

I may be gone some time:-)

Friday, 8 January 2010

Would Madam like ice with that?

I'm getting a bit fed up with the cold weather now! No sooner does the snow melt, another lot lands and it's back to square one. Earlier this week I got stuck driving up a hill and had to coast/slide back down to the bottom and have a second run at it. The country lanes around here are dodgy at the best of times, but are particularly dangerous when the temperature drops.

Oh, and the grit/salt wars has started! We have a couple of salt/grit bins in the village, which are there for all to use, as and when. Well, an elderly gentleman in the village went to help himself to some salt for his driveway and one of the 'newcomers' to the village said that he had no right to help himself to 'their' salt as it was solely for 'their' use ('their' being the residents of a new cul-de-sac of 5 'executive' homes). Kindly old gentleman said "I've lived in this village over 50 years, you've been here 2, f*ck off". And there was me thinking that butter wouldn't melt in his elderly mouth. It is interesting to see how relationships develop or deteriorate in small villages and how the most petty matters can result in all out war.

My village always has been snobby, but in recent years the snobbery has gotten much worse, mostly due to the fact that house prices have shot up and all the new houses in the village are large and expensive. At a local wedding, a villager who normally ignores me, was at pains to talk to me all evening when someone let slip that I was an aspirant of the Bar. The thing is, these snobby types are always really boring. On Christmas Day morning, I was leading Bar-Os through the village, concentrating on keeping myself and said Os upright, when same lady pulled alongside me in her Audi and proceeded to crawl along beside me (oblivious to the fact that Bar-Os was getting miffed), whilst telling me all about the text she had received from her son, who's doing really well in the RAF and is on holiday in Singapore and they were going to a very tasteful something or another and on and on....  Bloggers, I prefered it when she ignored me:-)

The MCT revision is going ok I suppose, but there are still some areas that I'm unhappy with, not least character evidence, which is a bugger to remember. Costs and Part 36 are still a complete mystery in need of further attention, as is 'things' to do with previous consistent/inconsistent statements. Wonder of wonders, hearsay has sunk in a bit!

The other homework has been completed, so I now have just the MCT revision to keep me entertained until next Saturday. Hopefully the weather will have improved, or I'm going to struggle to get to London on Saturday morning.

Bar-Os, who's diet usually consists of a generous portion of 'rocket fuel' twice daily, has been put on Lay-Off cubes, which as the name suggests, are a low energy, fibre based feed. He's not a happy bunny and flattens his ears back whenever I approach - the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, it would seem. The icy roads are too dangerous to ride on and he was becoming a bit of a handful to lead on the road to the paddock, so a lower energy diet was recommended. Last night the ice has compacted in his feet and I had to wait an hour before picking his feet out (a daily routine to ensure no mud and stones has got wedged in his soles).

Oh, I hope the weather improves a bit next week, I'm just not a Winter person.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Revision and other things to avoid

I'm supposed to be revising for the forthcoming MCT civil/criminal exam, but the 'few days off over Christmas' have somehow stretched into the New Year and I'm now suffering another bout of Cantbearseditus. Although not as serious as the Olpasiformia Nervosa which struck me down last Spring and lasted well into the Summer, Cantbearseditus does have similar symtoms, including lethargy, faffing about and general procrastination.

The next 6 weeks or so look to be pretty intense, there is the above mentioned MCT, followed by the Negotiation mock in mid January and then onto the Opinion Writing and Drafting exams for February, which I’ll be pleased to get out of the way. The mock Opinion Writing and Drafting exam results are given out at the next study weekend, and I’ve a feeling that I may not have faired quite as well as I’d like, particularly in the Drafting exam, but we shall see.

As for the Options, I’m still undecided and have little to go on to help me decide which ones to choose. Ok, so the Advanced Criminal Litigation is more or less (and always was) firm favourite, but as for the second option…

I’m not struck on this cold weather, but at least it should help me to focus a little more on the studying. The roads have been too icy to venture out riding, but I did manage a couple of nice hacks over Christmas when the weather conditions briefly relented.

Since starting back for the second year of BVC, the time has gone very quickly and I can’t quite believe that in but a few months time it will all be over. I will miss my group, but who knows, perhaps one day I shall be opposite one or two of them in court!

The prospect of securing a pupillage is forever on my mind, and I must try even harder this year to spruce up the old CV and make myself ‘attractive’ to Chambers. I hope to be doing some marshalling in the Spring and have another mini-pupillage lined up too. There is also an interview offer for a 3 month internship in the Spring, which I shall chase up once I’m nearer to the BVC finishing line. It is within an area of law that I am very interested in, but is London based, so I will have to pay an arm and a leg getting to and fro.

I don’t like to think too long and hard about what will happen once BVC is over, the statistics aren’t exactly encouraging, but I shall endeavour to remain optimistic and push onwards and upwards.

Given last year’s problems with OLPAS, I wonder if more Chambers will opt for non-OLPAS applications this year? I hope so, not least because of the number restrictions imposed by OLPAS. Twelve applications just isn’t enough – if Chambers interview say 10% of applicants, that only works out at 1 interview or so per aspirant, per season; mind you, maths was never my thing:-)

Barman has gone to watch some football with a friend, the house is peaceful, it is snowing quite heavily, my garden has become a refuge to several partridges and a pheasant, who are seeking shelter from the shooting parties. I think I really ought to get on with some work!

Happy New Year Bloggers!