Thursday, 30 April 2009

How was it for you?

Dear PP,

I fear that it has all been a waste of time somehow and nothing will come of it.

I've given it my best shot, tried to say meaningful things and be to honest and interesting, but alas, I fear that we have no future together.

When we first got together I was number 5 on your list, but within the space of a few weeks I'm now number 10'772, this makes me feel quite insignificant.

To make matters worse, I tried to open up a dialogue with you this morning for a last ditch attempt and you refused to let me in and pretended not to know me. You are a cad and a bounder. You entice people in with your pretty facade, demand considerable time and effort from them, but offer little in return. You know you were my first - you took my innocence and popped my portal, but it seems to mean nothing to you.

Anyway, all my mates think you have a stupid name and most of them say that you have changed since last year.

I will leave you to ponder on all that I have said in the past and hope that you will realise in time, that I'm not such a bad old stick after all.

Barmaid xxx

Friday, 24 April 2009

Love's (not so) Young Dream

Always wanted to 'do' criminal law, no discussion, no doubt, criminal law all the way, from year 1 of law studies.

I still have a yearning for criminal law, there's something about it, for me that is. I realise that many despise it with a vengeance. It's a tricky module too, caught quite a few out in the MCT's recently. Unlike civil litigation, which (at this stage) is all neatly contained in the White Book, criminal litigation is a bit of a tart and puts itself about all over the place. Ok, so Mr Blackstone's and Mr Archbold do attempt to cover it all, but a lot of the time, one has to seek further guidance from caselaw and sentencing guidelines etc., so all in all criminal is a weighty subject - so much for the myth that the thickos opt for criminal law because 'it's easy'. It isn't. It changes very rapidly too, particularly on the sentencing, so there is constant need to check databases and update any recent amendments.

My respect for criminal lawyers has grown, they are up against it much of the time, late evenings spent preparing for a case because the trial bundle has only just arrived, last minute change of pleas from defendants, who no doubt are oblivious to the fact that their barrister has been up until 3am preparing their case, ungrateful and obnoxious clients - actually forget that last one, that comes with the territory no matter which area of law we choose.

But despite my fondness of all things criminal, I am having a bit of a turnaround. A reality check if you like. Legal aid is an ever tightening purse and it's a worry, combine this with the notion that there seems to be some sort of mission to oust lawyers from certain aspects of the criminal justice system and replace them with paralegals, I envisage that before too long, the bread and butter of criminal litigation will be taken over by quasi-professionals, who will be appearing in the lower courts representing clients for minor offences and pre-trial hearings etc. Although this may not impact too severely on those already established at the bar, I believe that the fledgling barristers, who cut their teeth in the lower courts and earn their keep by doing those pre-trial hearings and minor offences etc. will be hard hit. And of course the knock on effect will be that if a baby barrister doesn't get the necessary experience in the lower courts, he or she will be ill prepared when they suddenly appear in the Crown Court, overwhelmed by the occasion or simply too inexperienced to do their job competently. Ok, so there is an argument that a pupil will have spent time with their colleagues in the Crown Court, watching and learning, but watching and doing are two different things, I know this for sure, Barman watches loads of football, but I've seen him try to play:-)

I've always had an interest in the quasi-criminal law anyway, regulatory crime, environmental law etc. and I'm now thinking that this is where my future lies, if I have a future in law that is...

Monday, 20 April 2009

I've got an illness

ust when I need to be on top form, it seems that I have been struck down with an ailment that has side effects of such severity, only time will tell whether or not I will make a full recovery.

The disease is called Olpasiformia Nervosa and I'm told it is quite infectious. Please be extra vigilant and immediately consult a medical practitioner or your local hopi ear candle specialist if you or anyone you know shows the following symptoms:

a) Incoherence - inability to talk calmly or sensibly about anything much at all;

b) Intolerance of other people's success, particularly in relation to barristerial matters;

c) Increased desire to drink coffee, eat chocolate and make funny noises (particularly *arghhhh buuuuuggger*);

d) Excessive typing at speed, only to be followed by the above funny noise and rapid deletion of typing;

e) General apathy and irritability followed by a desire to immediately switch the pc off at the wall (muttering "that'll teach you") and behave in a manner similar to that of a small child.

I know your thoughts are with me right now because I feel so much love in this room (or perhaps I just forgot to turn the heating down).


Friday, 17 April 2009

x is for xeric

xeric - adj - devoid of moisture.

Put the kettle on petal, I'm xeric.
I know, but there's not much to choose from when it comes to the letter x unless you fancied a chemistry lesson.

I have spent hours trying to formulate a decent OLPAS application, but it's not the easiest task and the questions make me feel awkward. Some of the questions require similar answers and I feel that I've more or less duplicated certain information in parts. To date I have completed just 4 applications and need to get cracking this weekend with a few more, but I'm far from pleased with my efforts to date. What worries me most is the lack of certain extra-curricular activities such as mooting. I'm at a distinct disadvantage in that I have to work to earn money to pay the mortgage etc. and as such I just don't have the spare time to do things that perhaps more privileged or younger students have time to do. And of course living in the back of beyond doesn't help because I can't just nip out for an hour or two to do some extra curricular stuff in the evening. I guess I'm my own worst critic in some ways and the OLPAS thing just tends to make me feel quite inadequate.

To make matters worse, Swiss Tony, greedy boy that he is, has swiped all the lemon, orange AND lime OLPAS fruits, so I'm just left with strawberry. He's just showing off because he's already done negotiation at his school and I have yet to do any at mine, so I ended up with a raw deal. Oh well, I shall just have to be content in the knowledge that his teeth will drop out before mine, can't wait to see the look on the pupillage panel's faces when he gives them his 'winning smile':-)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

W is for wonted

Wonted - adj - accustomed, usual.

This week I have been busy with my wonted job, so have been forced to neglect pursuance of my wanted job. In other words, work has gotten in the way of studying and OLPAS applications (not all bad then:-)).

Another study weekend has been and gone and with just 2 more study weekends remaining until Summer break, I'm counting down the weeks until my first year ends. There was a tangible change in atmosphere this last weekend at 'school', with everyone appearing much more amenable and relaxed. Not much was said about the exam results and it appears that everyone wanted to keep their grades to themselves (or perhaps I am considered the class thicko and no-one liked to ask)? I think just about everyone in my group did ok, but one student didn't show up all weekend and I'm thinking that maybe she has called it a day.

It seems that my group are bucking the trend in that we seem to all get along really well together, this is all the more surprising given that you couldn't have planned a more diverse combination of characters. Maybe this diversity is the secret to 'group harmony', ie. because we are all so different in terms of age, background, profession etc., we just accept each others differences and bump along regardless. It appears that some of the other groups aren't quite so together and tales of fierce arguments and backstabbing antics are starting to emerge. I thank my lucky stars that I am not in one of the warring groups as I cannot imagine anything more depressing than having to face a weekend of pointless bitching and quarrelling.

The studying is less intensive now that Legal Research, Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation have been put to bed (although we do pick up Civil and Criminal again next year). We have our Conference exam at the beginning of May, so this weekend I intend to make some preparatory notes on that and to also have a look at the Advocacy, which I seem to think is an application for an interim injunction. Drafting is proving to be a tricky subject to grasp, not least because my provider has their own preferred method of doing things, which doesn't correspond with the ICSL drafting manual. Opinion writing I enjoy, but it is a time consuming module that requires patience, planning and plenty of research.

My last Conference session before the exam raised a few problems and although I did well in the advice and legal analysis sections, my questioning wasn't thorough enough, so I need to be more diligent in that area. My mock Advocacy was decidedly average, but I can see where I need to improve and hopefully plenty of practice will help me to be more sassy. I'm having difficulty in putting together a decent skeleton argument and this is causing me to lose precious marks, but skellies just don't come easy to me and I can't quite figure out why I'm struggling so much with them, maybe I try too hard and lose the natural flow of the argument?

The dates for next years study weekends have been released and it looks to be an intense year particularly around Springtime when there are 3 study weekends very close together, so plenty more burning of the midnight oil to come and of course plenty more assessments, but not to worry about that for the moment.

I hope everyone has a nice Easter and by way of a subtle hint, I like the eggs with Flakes, Creme Eggs, Buttons...

Thursday, 2 April 2009


The dreaded results came out today and I didn't fail.

Just off to re-check, they must have made a mistake...