At a recent work function, I was fortunate enough to be sat next to an eminent Barrister who has been working in his field for many years, and in fact writes a blog himself, which I have linked to at the end of this blog post.
He was very honest and open with me about the challenges ahead, and so I thought I would share some of his wisdom. A lot of what he was saying, rang true with many of the things that I have been hearing. At his chambers, they can get anything up to 150 applications a year for placement. From this, they narrow it down to just 30 people, and from there, only 2 are picked, and often only 1 is kept on.
His advice was to make sure your CV stands out above the rest, make sure you do lots of volunteer work, get involved with your university representative body, sign up to help at legal clinics and get involved with mooting competitions. And he said, no one with less than a 2.1 in their grades even gets a look in. It is a cut throat industry, and you have to be prepared long in advance for that one chance at a placement. This of course is purely if you are thinking of becoming a barrister. I hope at some stage to have a chat with a solicitor and give you some insight into that world.
It’s some great advice, but of course with us Birkbeck students, filling up our CV with volunteer work is a little difficult, as most of us are working full time, and this degree is something we do in the evening and on weekends, which does not leave much time for much else. I spoke to him about this, and he said that it shows determination and a great skill set to juggle it all at once, and work experience is a plus. So don’t be too down if you cannot find all the time in the world. Just the odd mooting competition on the weekend, or a few hours at a legal clinic over the years will build up, and you will at the end of it all have a very impressive CV.
As always, comments welcome.
Till next time…
The Barrister’s blog can be found here: www.ladat.co.uk