Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Badgers can't talk...

    But now that you're here, I would really appreciate some advice on my career options please.

    Background: I have a high 2:1 undergrad degree in English Literature from Sheffield Uni, brill A levels and I've got around 8 years experience (support roles) working in law firms as well as oodles of voluntary work at the CAB and Women's Aid.
    I will soon be starting a Law MA at Sheffield Uni and my current firm has offered me a training contract upon completion of this and the LPC.

    Problem: I want to be a barrister, always have, always will. I'm now having a mini meltdown thinking I won't be good enough for this route though, and, if this is the case, I may as well not do a two year Law MA and go straight for the GDL & LPC as I already have a TC in place. I thought if I did well in the MA it would give me a better chance of succeeding at the Bar, however, a current BPTC student recently told me I would be stupid to give up a TC and that 'no one will give the tiniest **** about the MA'.

    So, I would very much appreciate any input and in the words of City High (circa 2001) What Would You Do?
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    You should be wary about taking advice from BPTC students. By definition they are only looking at things from one side of the fence, and it's not the side that the people who offer the pupillages are looking from. That said, on this occasion that student is broadly right. I obviously can't speak for every barrister who has ever read a pupillage application, but personally I wouldn't draw a distinction between the GDL and the MA when assessing the strength of an application. It might momentarily raise an eyebrow as to why someone would do the MA rather than the GDL, and it is something that you may be asked in interview, but for me it certainly wouldn't make or break whether you actually get that interview. The fact is you need a qualifying law degree for this process irrespective. The classification of that degree is certainly relevant, but the nature of it isn't, or at least it isn't compared to other areas of your application.

    I cannot tell you whether or not you are good enough to be a barrister. From what you've said it certainly sounds like you tick the right boxes up to this point and have some other aspects to your application that may make you stand out from the crowd. If you continue to develop your application in the same vein through the GDL/MA and BPTC, it sounds like you may well be able to get interviews for pupillage. Of course whether or not you can impress in those interviews is another question.

    The problem you face is that there is a heavy element of risk in deciding to go down the pupillage route. Everyone faces that risk, but for most the alternatives are perhaps not particular enticing, which makes them more likely to take the risk. The difference in your case is that you have an alternative, and it sounds like a solid one. You will be aware that you can transfer to the Bar after being a solicitor, though how realistic that is may depend on the nature of the work that you will be doing as a trainee/solicitor.

    Ultimately though, the decision you have is a matter of balancing the risk you face. You have a safe option available that the majority do not, and that is clearly very relevant. Many would think that you would be foolish to give up that option, especially when you can play the long game and still become a barrister even if you take that option. But only you know how you feel about the respective options, so whilst the sensible option may be to go for the TC, that may not be the option that is right for you.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Thank you for taking the time to reply, Jamie. It is much appreciated!

    I should indeed be wary of a BPTC student's perspective, especially one who is currently going through the stress of coming to the end of his studies with no solid plans to follow it up with. And he is a misery at the best of times but full of great advice, nonetheless. My reasoning for doing the MA is so I can work alongside it, basically. I would have to do the GDL part-time in order to pay my mortgage/bills/blah, which would take two years anyway so I thought I may as well do the two year MA and get the postgraduate government funding on offer. Of course, the extra in depth study involved in the dissertation element is more what I would focus on in an interview setting.

    It is all just very risky. I have no excitement about pursuing the LPC & TC but it is certainly more secure than chasing a pupillage. (No offence meant to any solicitors or LPCers by the way.) I'm a mature student as it is so thinking about establishing myself as a solicitor for years first in order to then transfer to the Bar leaves me feeling uneasy. But, then again, so does picturing myself sitting in a rocking chair as a 90 year old paralegal telling the grandchildren for the 2000th time of how I had a TC but gave it up. (No offence meant to any paralegals).

    Humph! Expect me back here in a couple of years TC & pupillage free with a large pile of egg on my face.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I would probably do the MA in your situation. If it won't take longer than the GDL then it probably does put you in a slightly better position to show your academic aptitude in law. However you'll need to do well on it for it to make a difference so just make sure you do have enough time for it alongside your other work.

    You're possibly good enough to be a barrister. It is impossible to know without meeting you! People skills and confidence (not arrogance) count for a lot in mini pupillages and Pupillage interviews. Your degree is going to rule you out of some highly academically focused sets (which probably couldn't justify interviewing you given the raft of applicants who came near the top of their year and also have other excellent credentials) but with the right work experience and good interviews you have as good a chance as almost anybody else at others.

    The only advice I would give is not to start the BPTC without either a major scholarship or Pupillage. Subject to that, I would go for the bar because it is really quite different to being a solicitor in many ways.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by PowerStranger)
    Badgers can't talk...

    But now that you're here, I would really appreciate some advice on my career options please.

    Background: I have a high 2:1 undergrad degree in English Literature from Sheffield Uni, brill A levels and I've got around 8 years experience (support roles) working in law firms as well as oodles of voluntary work at the CAB and Women's Aid.
    I will soon be starting a Law MA at Sheffield Uni and my current firm has offered me a training contract upon completion of this and the LPC.

    Problem: I want to be a barrister, always have, always will. I'm now having a mini meltdown thinking I won't be good enough for this route though, and, if this is the case, I may as well not do a two year Law MA and go straight for the GDL & LPC as I already have a TC in place. I thought if I did well in the MA it would give me a better chance of succeeding at the Bar, however, a current BPTC student recently told me I would be stupid to give up a TC and that 'no one will give the tiniest **** about the MA'.

    So, I would very much appreciate any input and in the words of City High (circa 2001) What Would You Do?
    I have nearly completed the BPTC and I am looking for a pupillage. My advice to you is stick on the route you are on and then later down the line qualify as a barrister. Once you have experience under your belt you can convert.

    Don't give up that TC!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Thank you both for the replies.

    Interesting that the advice to stick with the TC and convert later down the line has so far only come from BPTC current students/recent grads.

    I am 100% decided on the MA now, hopefully I will be able to make any further decisions based on my performance. It is a tricky one in that if I am to stick with the TC I will have to continue working hard at the firm alongside the MA, perhaps then hindering the outcome of the MA. If I gave up the TC, though, I could probably drop a few hours at work to concentrate more on the MA. Hmmm I suppose I will just have to see how I go and try not to have too many meltdowns.

    Great advice to not start the BPTC without scholarship or pupillage. I am certainly not in a position to lose 18k.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Would you like to hibernate through the winter months?
    Useful resources
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.