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BPTC Application Questions Watch

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    (Original post by FMQ)
    I am sorry but this comment angers me. If only that were the reality. The reality is from my experience (and my academics which not the best exceed a lot of bar hopefuls) I had to WORK unpaid for a year. And I mean work - i did something every day - FRU, NCDV, 2 seperate legal advice organisations, another charity losely related to law, an non legal organisation not to mention the minis, free clerking, moots etc etc. At the end of this, after exceeding 300 applications I landed a paralegal role on £13k. Living in london if i hadn't had a previous career and a lot of savings to cover my london mortgage this would not have been an option and certainly isn't for a lot of kids. I am now in a pseudo TC earning the minimum of around 18k. I would not be here is i hadn't WORKED FOR FREE and now accept less of a salary than i would have even CONSIDERED when I graduated the first time nearly 20 years ago, so please don't make such comments about not being expected to work for free when you are not in that position!
    I'd go along with this up to a point. However I do know candidates with excellent academics and top notch written and verbal advocacy skills. They have got training contracts pre-GDL or in the third year of their legal studies.

    The following is informed speculation, at best:

    I would hazard that a candidate with a first from a good university or a 2.1 from Oxbridge with a good legal brain, a demonstrable commitment to the Bar and lots of bar related experience (mooting, fru, pro bono, minis, marshalling) should have an excellent chance at pupillage - greater than 25% I would imagine. The problem is if your academic qualifications fall below this high bar it becomes far more of a crapshoot no matter how polished both your cv and interview technique are.

    The profession is an academic one and it values academic success highly. Is this such a bad thing? I don't know whether your academic record is a good predictor of success at the Bar. I suspect it might be.
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    (Original post by Bar 2001)
    I don't think it's anything new that people aspiring to join a career of almost any description invest time and effort to gain experience of that world. Mini-pupillages are a necessary evil and have been for sometime now. I did them, as well as unpaid placements in solicitors' offices and the like, not to mention mooting and other worthy causes. I don't agree that this is working in the true sense of the word, it is gaining experience to get ahead and stand out in applications for training and work.
    Respectfully, I would agree that it's not 'work' per se to do mini-pups or mooting - but it is undoubtedly work to do FRU, McKenzie Friend work (NCDV springs to mind - I have done this and actually spent Christmas Eve and New's Year eve doing it - and one woman had the audacity to say to me 'how long is this going to take, I've got better things to do on Christmas eve' - well, quite frankly, so did I, but I also wanted to make sure that someone who felt in need of the protection of the law had it - just an aside to show that not only do you not get paid, you do not necessarily get any gratitude either!). I currently spend half my week doing pro bono and the other half working - I am fortunate, I have a previous career that brings in sufficient money for me to work two days and give my time free the rest of the week - most people trying to get into law do not have that luxury.

    The one size fits all argument simply doesn't work here. Sure other careers expect you to do some work experience for free, but law has got to be one of the only careers where people regularly give a huge amount of time for free (or for very low wages) when that work would normally be done by fully qualified lawyers - take, for example, paralegal work and the number of LPC/BVC students currently undertaking that type of work and carrying caseloads of their own, all for a fraction of the fees a fully qualified lawyer would make.

    I agree that there should be a dose of reality regarding numbers. It would be wrong to reduce too much, for example it would make no sense to recruit only 500 students annually. The buyers (chambers) will always require a wider pool of sellers from which to select. If 500 people are available for 450 pupillages, chambers will recruit fewer pupils and things will become worse overall.
    I wouldn't suggest such a huge reduction in students on the BPTC as you're bandying above - but I would suggest a more realistic application processes. I don't think the aptitude test is the way forward - for a start the plan is that it will be able to be taken multiple times which still leaves the no-hoper taking it until they pass - why allow this if it's supposed to be a filter? Make it a one shot chance. I doubt an aptitude test could be devised to adequately show aptitude for the job in any case. I also think the English language skills should be more stringent - reading reports for the providers, comments from students on some of the courses were that they were being held back in oral classes due to the poor language skills of some of the students.

    Cross-qualification is not as gloomy as it looked to be. Originally, the SRA were going to require BPTC graduates to complete the LPC. This was soon relaxed to just sitting the exams, and this is being whittled down further to hopefully only relate to exams that the BPTC did not suitably equip would be solicitors for e.g. some aspects of client interviewing etc. I don't envisage the position to be vastly different from now in years to come. It is worthy of note that it was the providers (along with the Inns) that took this fight to the BSB, prompting the negotiations with the SRA.
    This is at least some cold comfort for those who embark on the BPTC in future. I don't want to cross-qualify. I want to be a barrister and if I don't get pupillage, then I'll go back to my previous career - fortunately I have one. The vast majority of people who undertake legal training don't have that benefit, and their 15K plus is wasted.

    Fees - London will always be more expensive. Commercial providers (i.e. non universities) will always be the most expensive. Amongst the university providers, their overall structure and size will determine the fee level.
    Of course London is more expensive - but two law schools less than ten minutes apart do NOT have expenditure so vastly different as to account for the large differences in cost that are currently apparent.

    The cost should reflect what is being offered, i.e. the course, not the size and structure of the institute!
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    I just joined TSR, and being a bit shy about opening a new thread, I thought I'd post in this old one as it's to the point. I have a few queries, and any advice is most welcome.

    A little background: I read law as a BA and graduated 5 and a half years ago. I had always intended eventually to train as a criminal barrister, but unfortunately i didn't have the luxury of family money and I pretty much had to go straight into paid work upon graduation to pay off my debts. I trained in management consultancy, and started my own business with a partner which, while not as lucrative as it may sound, nevertheless has given me a decent enough income to be in a position now to train.

    I just discovered my QLD has become 'stale' by a matter of months, and i'm anxious to start the BPTC as soon as possible. I was under the mistaken impression that it was 6 or 7 years, having looked a few years ago while it was still the BVC. It seems I have to fork out something like 250 quid to reactivate my QLD (which seems extortionate) and I have missed the deadline for first round applications.

    But I am willing to do all that. I am 100% committed to the career and yet, on account of my career choices, i'm having trouble demonstrating this. My CV is not littered with the relevant legal experience which appears to be a pre-requisite. I have a decent degree (a 2.1 from cambridge) and am currently sending my CV out to chambers in the hope of securing a few mini-pupillages. But as it stands I am finding it hard to present myself as committed to a career at the Bar in my application.

    I'm obviously not talking about pupillages yet, but for the BPTC would something like this count strongly against me? I actually think that I will make a much better barrister now, with some professional experience, than when I had just graduated.

    I've heard some people say the BPTC is easy to get onto, and others say it is intensely competitive! Given that I have missed the first round, do i still have a fair chance of being accepted? I can take free time where i want until september for any work experience, and i have dusted off my old notes and sought out recent developments with which i ought to be familiar. But at this very moment on paper it doesn't look like i am a strong candidate. I shadowed a QC in my summer holidays and volunteered for 6 months at a legal aid organisation in africa, but that was over 5 years ago now.

    If anyone can help answer my queries or offer their opinions I'd be most grateful. Mini-pupillages seem to take at least 6 months to materialise, and so any other relevant work experience suggestions which i could secure in the near future would be very welcome. Even so, I feel a bit pressed to submit my application, and while i'm sure i could be 'creative' with it, i'd prefer to be open and honest and argue my corner. I'm just worried that they may take one look at my application and think 'there is no evidence this guy wants to be a barrister.'

    Thanks for taking the time to read
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    (Original post by limparswand)
    I just joined TSR, and being a bit shy about opening a new thread, I thought I'd post in this old one as it's to the point. I have a few queries, and any advice is most welcome.

    A little background: I read law as a BA and graduated 5 and a half years ago. I had always intended eventually to train as a criminal barrister, but unfortunately i didn't have the luxury of family money and I pretty much had to go straight into paid work upon graduation to pay off my debts. I trained in management consultancy, and started my own business with a partner which, while not as lucrative as it may sound, nevertheless has given me a decent enough income to be in a position now to train.

    I just discovered my QLD has become 'stale' by a matter of months, and i'm anxious to start the BPTC as soon as possible. I was under the mistaken impression that it was 6 or 7 years, having looked a few years ago while it was still the BVC. It seems I have to fork out something like 250 quid to reactivate my QLD (which seems extortionate) and I have missed the deadline for first round applications.

    But I am willing to do all that. I am 100% committed to the career and yet, on account of my career choices, i'm having trouble demonstrating this. My CV is not littered with the relevant legal experience which appears to be a pre-requisite. I have a decent degree (a 2.1 from cambridge) and am currently sending my CV out to chambers in the hope of securing a few mini-pupillages. But as it stands I am finding it hard to present myself as committed to a career at the Bar in my application.

    I'm obviously not talking about pupillages yet, but for the BPTC would something like this count strongly against me? I actually think that I will make a much better barrister now, with some professional experience, than when I had just graduated.

    I've heard some people say the BPTC is easy to get onto, and others say it is intensely competitive! Given that I have missed the first round, do i still have a fair chance of being accepted? I can take free time where i want until september for any work experience, and i have dusted off my old notes and sought out recent developments with which i ought to be familiar. But at this very moment on paper it doesn't look like i am a strong candidate. I shadowed a QC in my summer holidays and volunteered for 6 months at a legal aid organisation in africa, but that was over 5 years ago now.

    If anyone can help answer my queries or offer their opinions I'd be most grateful. Mini-pupillages seem to take at least 6 months to materialise, and so any other relevant work experience suggestions which i could secure in the near future would be very welcome. Even so, I feel a bit pressed to submit my application, and while i'm sure i could be 'creative' with it, i'd prefer to be open and honest and argue my corner. I'm just worried that they may take one look at my application and think 'there is no evidence this guy wants to be a barrister.'

    Thanks for taking the time to read
    It depends on your degree classification and A-Level grades. A good 2.1/First and As should see you accepted onto the BPTC at most institutions. If you've got a 2.2 you're going to be in trouble. You do have some relevant experience and are also able to set out what you are intending to do. Further, you appear to be able to write concisely and coherently.
 
 
 
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