FRU time commitment Watch

Evil_Genius
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Hello,

Thought I'd ask this FRU-related question here, seeing as the ranks of TSR seem to be bloated with wannabe barristers such as myself. I just graduated university and am taking a gap year to work in the legal sector (in Newcastle) so as to fund my BVC next year. The job is very flexible, so I can take days/a week off when necessary. In light of this, I wanted to get involved in FRU--preferrably Employment cases, but also Social Security if I can't persuade them as to my elegibility for the former. I'm certain I can get away so as to attend inductions/training and I have plenty of free time to dedicate to case preparation--the issue is, however, that the site indicates that one needs to be able to visit the Holborn office 'regularly'--which may prove troublesome (not to mention costly). So, I was hoping one of you might have the FRU experience to tell me how often, in practice, one needs to visit the office--is this only absolutely vital around the time your client's case is being heard (and if so, how long it usually takes) or throughout the year? How many visits/month are necessary? I have no desire to compromise the quality of my representation for the sake of convenience, but I'm hoping to reach a balance of some sort..

Thanks for the help--I'd rather not email FRU myself as that might jeopardise my future application...
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Lewisy-boy
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I think it has been said on here at least once that you have to visit theoffice in London at least once a week to check your post or something. I have no experience, but something is ringing in my mind that that is the case.
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Evil_Genius
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Thanks for the attempt

Seems a bit...inefficient, though, doesn't it, if it's just to pick up the mail? I wonder if they'd mind if I were to arrange for someone else to pick it up and forward it to me?
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TommehR
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(Original post by Evil_Genius)
Thanks for the help--I'd rather not email FRU myself as that might jeopardise my future application...
1. Go to www.hotmail.com
2. Set up an account with an anonymous name (e.g. [email protected])
3. Send email to FRU, making sure that you keep the exact details vague and that you sign it anonymously (e.g. Kind Regards, FRU Hopeful)
4. Receive email answering all your questions

:p:

Apart from that, I can't help you with any of your specific concerns.
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FMQ
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Hi Evil

Email fru. They are so busy they won't remember who you are. There is 1 social security rep, 1 employment rep and a couple of office staff - and they have hundreds of enquiries/ folk going throught the induction process. There is no "application" as such anyone with a law degree/ on CPE can register for Employment (or on final year LLB for Social Secuity) and so long as you pass the exam, can do a case.

Re attendance at office - it depends how busy you are. If you sign out a simple wages claim due to be heard in 3 months then you prob won't have much post etc, but if you do a few more complicated matters then you will be more tied down. It also takes quite a while to become accreddited. You spend a whole Sat at the induction then sit an exam a few weeks later (this is a new process, previously you wrote 2 opinions) then if you pass they invite people in stages to take out cases (during this time you sould have visited Tribunal a couple of times to observe etc) so if you went to the October induction it may be after christmas before you even got a sniff of a tribunal. Therefore if your able to take odd days off work it doesn't sound like it will be a problem for you and you could fit it in!
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FCDjorkaeff
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So once you're a qualified rep, do you attend tribunals in your local area or London?
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house badger
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All of their cases are in the London area. If you were to try to work from Newcastle it could be very difficult to get to London or Stratford ET for a 10am hearing. Considering you usually need to arrive around 9am. You also have the commitment of conferences with your client, and you'll probably need the fax, photocopying, phone etc at the FRU office.

If you're looking for experience in the North East you could try qualifying as a CAB caseworker. They seem to do the vast majority of referrals to FRU.
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Evil_Genius
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I thought I'd revive this thread as FRU season seems to be commencing. Rather stupidly, despite checking the FRU site each week, it seems that I missed the rush to book the Employment induction as it is now full. I'll see if I can plead with the FRU to allow me in anyhow (I bet they could use the fee...). If not, do you think it may be worthwhile coming along on the day to see if someone fails to register so that I can pay and take their place (the site does mention slots will be given up if the person fails to register/show up).

I have also been looking into the elegibility for the Employment route--it seems that there is a rather paradoxical position where those who have just began the BVC/LPC/LLM can do it, but not LLB graduates who haven't yet continued on to the next stage. Do you suppose this is an error on their part--particularly as GDL students (rather than graduates) are apparently permitted to take employment cases?

Also, if my charisma doesn't allow me to get into the Employment induction, how often do these inductions take place (i.e. when approximately can I do the next one?)
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legalworld
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(Original post by Evil_Genius)
I thought I'd revive this thread as FRU season seems to be commencing. Rather stupidly, despite checking the FRU site each week, it seems that I missed the rush to book the Employment induction as it is now full. I'll see if I can plead with the FRU to allow me in anyhow (I bet they could use the fee...). If not, do you think it may be worthwhile coming along on the day to see if someone fails to register so that I can pay and take their place (the site does mention slots will be given up if the person fails to register/show up).

I have also been looking into the elegibility for the Employment route--it seems that there is a rather paradoxical position where those who have just began the BVC/LPC/LLM can do it, but not LLB graduates who haven't yet continued on to the next stage. Do you suppose this is an error on their part--particularly as GDL students (rather than graduates) are apparently permitted to take employment cases?

Also, if my charisma doesn't allow me to get into the Employment induction, how often do these inductions take place (i.e. when approximately can I do the next one?)
I heard they arn't that flexible, did you not sign up to their email list to get an email from them telling when their application process was open? IMO i wouldn't waste the train fair in the hope that someone else might not turn up. For all you know other people may even have the idea of doing that as well. GDL students can do employment but they hint that it may not be a wise thing to do at the start of their legal education. For the last question you should just email them. Are you working as a paralegal?
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Evil_Genius
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I did sign up, but never got the email (despite also having clicked the verification link in the resulting email). I made it a habit to check a few times a week, but obviously wasn't quick enough. I guess I'll call them and ask whether they can fit one more person in/if I can replace someone--if not, well, I'll just have a pleasant day in London.

I work as a legal adviser/caseworker/analyst, having 'graduated' from paralegaling around 2 years ago (I started working during my first year of LLB). Actually, I've been offerred to do some pro-bono tribunal advocacy work (county court/credit disputes, maybe some employment tribunals) by the University legal centre, so if FRU doesn't work out, then I could perhaps concentrate on that, instead.
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legalworld
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(Original post by Evil_Genius)
I did sign up, but never got the email (despite also having clicked the verification link in the resulting email). I made it a habit to check a few times a week, but obviously wasn't quick enough. I guess I'll call them and ask whether they can fit one more person in/if I can replace someone--if not, well, I'll just have a pleasant day in London.

I work as a legal adviser/caseworker/analyst, having 'graduated' from paralegaling around 2 years ago (I started working during my first year of LLB). Actually, I've been offerred to do some pro-bono tribunal advocacy work (county court/credit disputes, maybe some employment tribunals) by the University legal centre, so if FRU doesn't work out, then I could perhaps concentrate on that, instead.
If you can do the advocacy for the legal centre I would just focus on that and drop the FRU if i was you. How are you going to visit their Holborn office 2-3 times per week?
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Evil_Genius
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It seems quite clear that, in practice, they won't care about your physical presence there provided you do your job properly--I don't see how being the one to pick up the mail 3 times a week (rather than it being forwarded etc.) would have an effect on the effectiveness of representation. I'm quite flexible with my work and so would have no problems taking a week off to attend tribunals or a few days each month for conferences etc. (see above).
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legalworld
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(Original post by Evil_Genius)
It seems quite clear that, in practice, they won't care about your physical presence there provided you do your job properly--I don't see how being the one to pick up the mail 3 times a week (rather than it being forwarded etc.) would have an effect on the effectiveness of representation. I'm quite flexible with my work and so would have no problems taking a week off to attend tribunals or a few days each month for conferences etc. (see above).
I think they like people to be close to the office as they think they will do a better job by having access to advice, the research library, their computers and something as simple as phoning up a cliient with their phones, they don't like reps to use their home phones or mobile. Also when you sign up you do agree to visit the office 2-3 times per week.
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Evil_Genius
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Do people actually visit 2-3 times a week?

In light of what you described (i.e. research library, computers, advice), I see no problem with visiting only when actually having an active case, as I have those resources where I work. The office-phone-number point seems frankly rather too minor to be a consideration. Some posters above suggested it should be fine, but perhaps you do have more practical experience--please do share it.
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Evil_Genius
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My training day is this Saturday. Could someone advise as to the appropriate attire, please?
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TommehR
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(Original post by Evil_Genius)
My training day is this Saturday. Could someone advise as to the appropriate attire, please?
A cravat and a cane with which to practise poking the commoners.
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Evil_Genius
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Hey--don't tempt me. I'm the type of fellow to try and pull that off.

Using my Sarcasm Scraper, I will now remove the thick, sticky layer of Irony. Aha--so you mean I probably needn't suit up!
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TommehR
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Well, for most of the pro-bono clinics I'd imagine you'd dress smartly, but without being overly formal. I'd imagine that a lot of the people using these services would be a bit put off if they turn up and find you dressed in a suit and tie. I'm not sure whether FRU has clinics like that, but I would imagine that a shirt (no tie) and smart trousers would be fine. Probably not a good idea to turn up in ripped jeans and your Black Sabbath t-shirt, but as it's just a training session on a Saturday I wouldn't bother with a suit.
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Evil_Genius
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I never could figure out what shirt/no tie looks like in practice. Does this look approximately right (minus the fact that Saddam would likely provide poor employment law advice):

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/interactive/w....suit.pool.jpg
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FMQ
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Jeans.
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