HopefulBarR
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As with many people lockdown has given me a lot of time to reflect on what's important and where I want to be headed in life. For around 2 months I've been quite seriously researching studying a GDL (p/t Sept '21 intake) with a view to becoming a barrister. I know that Law in all guises is insanely competitive and I think at 31 I'm resilient enough with this aspect, but I'm looking for some gentle 'stranger on the internet' commentary on whether its a fool's errand.

For context I studied French and History (Hons) at Hull Uni coming out with a 2:2 (in 2011). Currently I work for a FTSE 100 business managing a tech support team, but have prof qualifications in PRINCE 2 and ITIL Foundation and due to be promoted to a head of ops position soon enough. I've planned out exactly what I need to do, as much as I can at this point - anticipating a side step in to a Legal Project management role within the next 18 months, and then proceeding with my part time GDL at a London based law school (as I live here) and basically devoting my life to as much EC (pro bono, mooting, work experience) as possible to make up for my academics.

In terms of what's driving me, as a teen I always imagined a career in law but was put off by my school/sixth form careers service by the competitive nature of the beast and the need at 18 to just experience life and see what would happen. These days I have an overwhelming need to derive value from what it is that I'm doing, a thirst for knowledge and a desire to make some sort of difference by combining the two.

Am I mad?

(I have already posted this similar q in a post grad thread too but wanted some legal sector advice)
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flatlined
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Hope this is a wind up
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HopefulBarR
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(Original post by flatlined)
Hope this is a wind up
It isn't. Honesty is always appreciated, a simple 'yes you are foolish' would have sufficed though.

(Original post by ITGUY19)
.
Thanks for your input but you seem to have missed quite a few points from what I had originally posted. I'm not looking to leave my current role, I would be undertaking part time study next year (2021) whilst still working full time initially with my current business and then potentially move in to a legal PM role for exposure. Also I went to Hull not Huddersfield - appreciate that they are probably viewed on a par by some but they are different places and universities.
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Johnny ~
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Yes
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Crazy Jamie
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Trying to add a bit more depth to the blunt responses so far, what makes you think that this career would suit you? Do you know what skills are required to become a barrister? If so, do you have them and how can you prove that you have them?

There are a number of problems with your current position in terms of how it would look on a pupillage application. The 2:2 in your undergraduate degree is an issue. It's not the most recent qualification, but it also isn't exactly ancient. Anyone reading your application would need some serious evidence that your actual level of academic ability is higher than that. The statement that you're going to make up for that with extra curricular activities concerns me, because you can't do that. You need to make it up with stellar results in your GDL and Bar Course. Anything other than that is likely to give the person reading your application the impression that you simply don't have the academic ability for this role.

Beyond that, there are certain benefits to having a previous career when you're applying to be a barrister, but there needs to be at least some element of transferable skills. I don't want to dismiss the role out of hand, but I am really struggling with how managing a tech support team would prepare you for a career as a barrister. I just don't see the link. That's something that you're going to have to be able to clearly explain on an application.

As a final point, there's nothing in your post that makes me think you have an adequate understanding either of what being a barrister actually entails, or how competitive it is to secure a pupillage. This may be unfair, but your post comes across as someone who has been in a middle management role for a little while, has grown bored of it, and wants something more glamorous, but in reality it's just not something that you seem to be even close to properly informed about, nor do you seem to be making realistic and well informed decisions either about your own skills or your prospects.

That may come across as harsh, but it is something that you need to hear, because if it comes across like this on here, there's a big risk that it comes across the same way in a pupillage application. If it does, you will stand literally no chance of becoming a barrister.

EDIT: For anyone reading this thread at some point in the future who is looking to move to the Bar as a career change, some of the responses following this post are high on optimism and low on realism in my view. I only mention that because some of them have been upvoted, but I'm going to post now (probably reply 54 or so) to explain why I'd approach them with caution.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
As a final point, there's nothing in your post that makes me think you have an adequate understanding either of what being a barrister actually entails, or how competitive it is to secure a pupillage. This may be unfair, but your post comes across as someone who has been in a middle management role for a little while, has grown bored of it, and wants something more glamorous, but in reality it's just not something that you seem to be even close to properly informed about, nor do you seem to be making realistic and well informed decisions either about your own skills or your prospects.
I like to call that 'clear, unequivocal and to the point'. :laugh:
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RealsAreHated
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I think
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RealsAreHated
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(Original post by RealsAreHated)
This is the truth and I know this is not the most pleasant responce...(apologies for the grammer,I was typing this quick lol)

I think you are not a fool but you are a little delusional,any career in the legal industry is very hard and you really need to be clever.They will most likely start laughing if some guy with a 2:2 from a low-tier university in a language applies and at your age of 31, you really need to know that studying in Law is a full time gig and you will struggle to study for exams while working.

And then we have the reality,Barristers are very smart people who have similar IQ to NeuroSurgeons and someone who wants to be a barrister would get laughed at if they showed up with a 2:2 from a bottom 50 university, at any Chamber.

Mainly because your going to be competing with Oxbridge and UCL Grads who will make you feel stupid.

Sorry to burst your bubble and I can tell from the other responses that we all can agree that at age 31, with a 2:2 from a average university,with no legal experiance and you want to be a barrister? sorry but I actually think this is hilarious and amusing DON'T get me wrong it's not impossible but you would have to be the biggest under-achiever in history to become a barrister at this place.
I also forgot to add , If you told me you were 21 then I would say it's a long shot but at 31 then you are dreaming mate , the fact you think you can casually work full time while studying to be a barrister makes me think you are taking the royal p1ss
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HopefulBarR
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(Original post by RealsAreHated)
I also forgot to add , If you told me you were 21 then I would say it's a long shot but at 31 then you are dreaming mate , the fact you think you can casually work full time while studying to be a barrister makes me think you are taking the royal p1ss
Thanks for the candour. I can objectively see that the version of me who exists on paper isn't the expected candidate (the main reason for my initial post), so it really is a long shot on my part. While my grades might not indicate this I do consider myself clever and do tend to score highly on IQ tests (whether this means anything is a discussion for another time, we all like to think we're much brighter than we are). Thanks for assuming my gender also - I'm actually female which of course adds in an extra layer of complexity, even though we can all dream it doesn't we know that it does.

I wasn't expecting to work full time if undertaking the BPC, just while I was doing the GDL. However I can see your point as to the sheer amount of effort and resource that does need to be put in, and hence why I am not pondering this decision lightly.
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laurenlodge
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Can I ask why a barrister rather than a solicitor?
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Catherine1973
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Why not do a 2 year graduate law degree and see if it interests you? I am doing that and still working at old professional 1 day a week. You could also work holidays and all summer at good contract rates. Still need to do more exams after but it may help overcome the low previous degree. And get all the access to careers advice and mooting competitions etc.
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HopefulBarR
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(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
Trying to add a bit more depth to the blunt responses so far, what makes you think that this career would suit you? Do you know what skills are required to become a barrister? If so, do you have them and how can you prove that you have them?

There are a number of problems with your current position in terms of how it would look on a pupillage application. The 2:2 in your undergraduate degree is an issue. It's not the most recent qualification, but it also isn't exactly ancient. Anyone reading your application would need some serious evidence that your actual level of academic ability is higher than that. The statement that you're going to make up for that with extra curricular activities concerns me, because you can't do that. You need to make it up with stellar results in your GDL and Bar Course. Anything other than that is likely to give the person reading your application the impression that you simply don't have the academic ability for this role.

Beyond that, there are certain benefits to having a previous career when you're applying to be a barrister, but there needs to be at least some element of transferable skills. I don't want to dismiss the role out of hand, but I am really struggling with how managing a tech support team would prepare you for a career as a barrister. I just don't see the link. That's something that you're going to have to be able to clearly explain on an application.

As a final point, there's nothing in your post that makes me think you have an adequate understanding either of what being a barrister actually entails, or how competitive it is to secure a pupillage. This may be unfair, but your post comes across as someone who has been in a middle management role for a little while, has grown bored of it, and wants something more glamorous, but in reality it's just not something that you seem to be even close to properly informed about, nor do you seem to be making realistic and well informed decisions either about your own skills or your prospects.

That may come across as harsh, but it is something that you need to hear, because if it comes across like this on here, there's a big risk that it comes across the same way in a pupillage application. If it does, you will stand literally no chance of becoming a barrister.
Thank you for this comprehensive answer - I must admit have been reading through the threads on here and was hoping you might weigh in, based on your responses to previous posts.

I am still relatively early on in my research on this career path to get a real full understanding, but from what I have gleaned I do have a solid foundation of some of the key skills, like communications and interpersonal skills, advocacy (I do this a lot in my matrixed work environment) logic, attention to detail and problem solving. All of these amongst a few others are some of the transferable skills from my current role and experience. In terms of being determined and showing stamina, if I were to undertake a part time GDL, continue to work full time and carry out relevant EC then this can partly demonstrate my ambitiousness.

Of course my expectation is to put in the effort and commitment this time around to achieve stellar academic results to make up for my undergrad. I should have explicitly stated this before as I am aware that EC wouldn't necessarily make up for it, I was just more making a point that I would do what is required (and beyond) to demonstrate commitment to the vocation.

I can wholeheartedly appreciate how flighty my original post was - I didn't want to go in to a lengthy backstory initially so the purposes of brevity included some key factors I know would be sticking points and started the thread as a yard stick. In fact a considerable factor in my posting of this is because I came to a point in research where I had seen and read a lot around the competitive nature of the Bar and before diving in further wanted to confirm/deny whether my background is cause enough to abandon the idea. I am by no means under any illusion of the glamour of the career, I'm sensible enough to understand the consuming nature of this type of role, and that was partly what has drawn me back to considering this 10 years post grad.

Candour is the reason I came to this particular forum. My post in the post grad forum was very much of the 'follow your dreams' or 'you'll regret it' type of whimsical answers and i have already obtained that from friends and family (none of whom are lawyers in any sense of the word).It's not my nature to take risks without doing a critical analysis of what it is I'm going to do, and possible consequences of my decisions or actions. Plus who has a casual 40k to throw at something they haven't fully researched and committed to!

Appreciate you taking the time to give me a frank answer, and if you have any resources for further research I can do in to those elements you noted you felt were lacking then I would be very grateful. I have been through most of the regular top google search results including BSB, all of the Inns websites (not front to back yet), and case studies of practising barristers.
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RealsAreHated
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(Original post by HopefulBarR)
Thanks for the candour. I can objectively see that the version of me who exists on paper isn't the expected candidate (the main reason for my initial post), so it really is a long shot on my part. While my grades might not indicate this I do consider myself clever and do tend to score highly on IQ tests (whether this means anything is a discussion for another time, we all like to think we're much brighter than we are). Thanks for assuming my gender also - I'm actually female which of course adds in an extra layer of complexity, even though we can all dream it doesn't we know that it does.

I wasn't expecting to work full time if undertaking the BPC, just while I was doing the GDL. However I can see your point as to the sheer amount of effort and resource that does need to be put in, and hence why I am not pondering this decision lightly.
I didn't mean to violate you but I don't want you thinking it's hard because in your scenario its not hard but borderline I-want-to-imagine-that-i-can-be-a-barrister-with-a-2/2 in language -from-bad-uni, kind of hard

okay but jokes aside,barristers go to top universitys with top grades , you didn't nor did you get the grades and nor are you young enough to try and fail as you are 31 and even if you complete all the training then I bet big money that no chamber will accept you because there chambers only accpet tier 1 students not dreamers sorry,

I know I sound like a massive jerk but the truth is the reality and I would be lying to you if i thought you could do it,like nearly everyone on this thread
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RealsAreHated
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(Original post by flatlined)
Delusional, in denial, arrogant, bit thick and a shining example of the Peter Principle. A fool and his money are soon parted.
honestly the blatant truth,NO OFFENCE OP
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Catherine1973
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I don’t think it’s totally being foolish. If the plan was to become a solicitor specialising in tech, that may be doable.
I was considering maybe doing tax law as I did tax on the accounting side before. So using my existing skills as I would not be a normal 21 year old candidate( though my academics are all okay)
(But starting at bottom doesn’t appeal so much)
So find a niche that would play to your strengths.
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couerdelion
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I think a few of the replies are pretty harsh - results from your teens (2:2) aren't always indicitive of intellect - sometimes university is about growing and learning who you are and as long as you pass you really arent that bothered. Mature me, has a completely different attitude to study than school leaver me.

Go talk to some barristers/chambers and see what they say. They'll give you a more honest assessment than some on here. Also what they look for in a 21 year old would be different to a 35 year old who is bringing different skills and real world knowledge into the business and not just book learnt skills.

The funny thing about regret is that we only really regret the things we don't do.
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HopefulBarR
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(Original post by Catherine1973)
Why not do a 2 year graduate law degree and see if it interests you? I am doing that and still working at old professional 1 day a week. You could also work holidays and all summer at good contract rates. Still need to do more exams after but it may help overcome the low previous degree. And get all the access to careers advice and mooting competitions etc.
Hi - the two year course is what I am looking to do from September 2021, i just wanted to be clear on what i wanted to do at the end of it.

(Original post by laurenlodge)
Can I ask why a barrister rather than a solicitor?
At this early point, the advocacy side of the role appeals to me more than some of the elements of being a solicitor. I'm sure there will be further comments around my delusion on this.
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RealsAreHated
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(Original post by Catherine1973)
I don’t think it’s totally being foolish. If the plan was to become a solicitor specialising in tech, that may be doable.
I was considering maybe doing tax law as I did tax on the accounting side before. So using my existing skills as I would not be a normal 21 year old candidate( though my academics are all okay)
(But starting at bottom doesn’t appeal so much)
So find a niche that would play to your strengths.
(Original post by couerdelion)
I think a few of the replies are pretty harsh - results from your teens (2:2) are always indicitive of intellect - sometimes university is about growing and learning who you are and as long as you pass you really arent that bothered. Mature me, has a completely different attitude to study than school leaver me.

Go talk to some barristers/chambers and see what they say. They'll give you a more honest assessment than some on here. Also what they look for in a 21 year old would be different to a 35 year old who is bringing different skills and real world knowledge into the business and not just book learnt skills.

The funny thing about regret is that we only really regret the things we don't do.
none of these replies are harsh except the guy who said shes a bit thick,she has no history in Law and she wants to do a job that you need to have a perfect ideology of how the law works? with a degree from a okay at best university? that isnt even a first? and she is 31?


John is a man who is a shift manager at mcdonalds , John one day thinks he will become a surgeon because he thinks he is smart enough as he is a manager despite his awful academics in the past.John then gets told that he should reach for his dreams and he decides to go into graduate medicine and he does not get in? John then realises that saying you are smart and hardworking while having bad academics makes you look like a complete first class ****** and then john returns to his job
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HopefulBarR
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(Original post by couerdelion)
I think a few of the replies are pretty harsh - results from your teens (2:2) are always indicitive of intellect - sometimes university is about growing and learning who you are and as long as you pass you really arent that bothered. Mature me, has a completely different attitude to study than school leaver me.

Go talk to some barristers/chambers and see what they say. They'll give you a more honest assessment than some on here. Also what they look for in a 21 year old would be different to a 35 year old who is bringing different skills and real world knowledge into the business and not just book learnt skills.

The funny thing about regret is that we only really regret the things we don't do.
Thanks - I agree on the difference between what I was prepared to do at 21 compared to now. Cliched as it is, hindsight is 20:20. The harsh responses are warranted, I think given the nature of the Bar and its reputation I was prepared for direct opinions - I would suggest that its some form of hazing to see if I could withstand the harsh realities but honestly I think these people are just forthcoming and don't see the point in sugarcoating a potentially disastrous decision.

That's my next step (re: talking to chambers etc) - I am being deliberately stalled in my research because of COVID19 (and all the challenges that poses businesses) and because I know that currently there are ongoing pupillage interviews and sifting at this time of the year.
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laurenlodge
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(Original post by HopefulBarR)
Hi - the two year course is what I am looking to do from September 2021, i just wanted to be clear on what i wanted to do at the end of it.


At this early point, the advocacy side of the role appeals to me more than some of the elements of being a solicitor. I'm sure there will be further comments around my delusion on this.
That's fair enough! It's just (in my opinion as someone who career changed at 26!) that there are a lot more opportunities to get into law via the solicitor route and qualifying into a litigation heavy area could give you options to practice some advocacy should that continue to be what interests you!

I know literally nothing about becoming a barrister so can't offer any advice on that, but would just warn that the GDL is no joke (especially alongside work and any other commitments).
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