futurewhatfuture
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#1
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#1
Basically

Male in my mid 30s, in public sector job paying around 60k a year. In the job for 14 years. Bored now, little job satisfaction.

Educational background
A levels - ABB (english lit, history, pe)
3rd level - Uni of Glasgow ordinary degree in History.

Basically accepted a job offer in 3rd year instead of doing my honours year.

Would like more flexibility and more money essentially.

Idea is to study LLB (hons) graduate scheme full time while working full time at Open University.
Father of two young kids.

Hopefully get a good grade and get onto BTC, specialise in cyber law and basically make a career for myself by 40.

Am I totally unrealistic?
If it helps, I am NI based.
Last edited by futurewhatfuture; 1 day ago
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JVM2020
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#2
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#2
You can achieve anything you set your mind too.
ake sure they are S.M.A.R.T goals.

This stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.

This sounds like you figured out what you want in Life. I wish you all the best
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cleveranimal56
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#3
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#3
I wish I can get to the point in life where I am bored with a 60k job. Sounds like you have a good plan though - just be careful with it, since you have 2 kids.
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Reality Check
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#4
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#4
(Original post by futurewhatfuture)
Basically

Male in my mid 30s, in public sector job paying around 60k a year. In the job for 14 years. Bored now, little job satisfaction.

Educational background
A levels - ABB (english lit, history, pe)
3rd level - Uni of Glasgow ordinary degree in History.

Basically accepted a job offer in 3rd year instead of doing my honours year.

Would like more flexibility and more money essentially.

Idea is to study LLB (hons) graduate scheme full time while working full time at Open University.
Father of two young kids.

Hopefully get a good grade and get onto BTC, specialise in cyber law and basically make a career for myself by 40.

Am I totally unrealistic?
If it helps, I am NI based.
I liked the straightforwardness and lack of dicking about with this. No crap about emotions or struggles or any of that. To answer in the same vein:

1. Not sure you'd be making much more money for quite a while. Law is not necessarily a path to riches.
2. Working full-time whilst trying to do a law degree is a complete non-starter. You'll just end up with a crap degree due to not having enough time to do it properly, plus feeling burnt out. Result - £27,000+ completely wasted. If you want to do a law degree, then you've got to commit to it and the privations which it will bring. Part-time work do-able. Leads to:
3. What sort of work-life balance do you want - you say you've got two kids. Is there a wifey who'll be happy to take on more childcare whilst you retrain. What about the significant dip in your income - can you afford to do this?
4. What's your back-up plan? Go back to what you're doing?
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futurewhatfuture
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Reality Check)
I liked the straightforwardness and lack of dicking about with this. No crap about emotions or struggles or any of that. To answer in the same vein:

1. Not sure you'd be making much more money for quite a while. Law is not necessarily a path to riches.
2. Working full-time whilst trying to do a law degree is a complete non-starter. You'll just end up with a crap degree due to not having enough time to do it properly, plus feeling burnt out. Result - £27,000+ completely wasted. If you want to do a law degree, then you've got to commit to it and the privations which it will bring. Part-time work do-able. Leads to:
3. What sort of work-life balance do you want - you say you've got two kids. Is there a wifey who'll be happy to take on more childcare whilst you retrain. What about the significant dip in your income - can you afford to do this?
4. What's your back-up plan? Go back to what you're doing?
1. That is my overriding concern, the salary whilst starting out at the bar can be quite paltry and obviously I've built a lifestyle based upon my current salary.
I have some savings to fall back on but not the type that could absorb a 50% wage cut for +3 years.
However I would hope that the public sector experience I will have built over 20 years will give me a headstart on bright but perhaps naive 24 year olds.

2. I understand it may be a risk studying full time whilst working full time, however my work will provide me with time to study and I can probably use spare time in my own life to study also.
If it is too much, I can slow down my studies but I understand I may be a bit overly ambitious studying full time with a 50 hour a week job.

4. I can take a career break which I would initially plan for three years, if successful, resign. If unsuccessful, resume at the same level I am at now.

I was never an amazing student, I always got by with the minimum, although I recall scoring highly in general at uni with essay based questions being my strong point and research methods being my weakness.

Thanks for your input.
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futurewhatfuture
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#6
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#6
(Original post by cleveranimal56)
I wish I can get to the point in life where I am bored with a 60k job. Sounds like you have a good plan though - just be careful with it, since you have 2 kids.
You just build a lifestyle based on salary, I don't have a load of excess money at the end of the month, drive a seven year old car and I spend a 300k worth of mortgage on various means of childcare each month 🤣
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futurewhatfuture
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Reality Check)
I liked the straightforwardness and lack of dicking about with this. No crap about emotions or struggles or any of that. To answer in the same vein:

1. Not sure you'd be making much more money for quite a while. Law is not necessarily a path to riches.
2. Working full-time whilst trying to do a law degree is a complete non-starter. You'll just end up with a crap degree due to not having enough time to do it properly, plus feeling burnt out. Result - £27,000+ completely wasted. If you want to do a law degree, then you've got to commit to it and the privations which it will bring. Part-time work do-able. Leads to:
3. What sort of work-life balance do you want - you say you've got two kids. Is there a wifey who'll be happy to take on more childcare whilst you retrain. What about the significant dip in your income - can you afford to do this?
4. What's your back-up plan? Go back to what you're doing?
Oh, OU fees are nowhere near what of traditional universities charge. The fees for NI&Scottish students is lesser again.
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threeportdrift
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#8
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#8
(Original post by futurewhatfuture)
1. That is my overriding concern, the salary whilst starting out at the bar can be quite paltry and obviously I've built a lifestyle based upon my current salary.
I have some savings to fall back on but not the type that could absorb a 50% wage cut for +3 years.
However I would hope that the public sector experience I will have built over 20 years will give me a headstart on bright but perhaps naive 24 year olds.

2. I understand it may be a risk studying full time whilst working full time, however my work will provide me with time to study and I can probably use spare time in my own life to study also.
If it is too much, I can slow down my studies but I understand I may be a bit overly ambitious studying full time with a 50 hour a week job.

4. I can take a career break which I would initially plan for three years, if successful, resign. If unsuccessful, resume at the same level I am at now.

I was never an amazing student, I always got by with the minimum, although I recall scoring highly in general at uni with essay based questions being my strong point and research methods being my weakness.

Thanks for your input.
I'd contact Crazy Jamie on TSR, plus contact a few barristers working in chambers/sectors you are interested in, and gather as much advice as you can. You can plan for pretty much anything if your family is behind you, but the value in the change seems to rely on you achieving your goal - you need to make sure what the likely reality of that is.

Just cracking on with an OU module might be a good first step, if you can manage one module and get decent grades, you will have more data to calculate your likely success.
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skylark2
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#9
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#9
Are you going to need to spend more on childcare? I don't think it's possible to study full time outside of work (i.e. school) hours and expect small children to amuse themselves for the whole period. I also don't think it's reasonable to ask a partner to effectively be a single parent for however long simply because you are bored with your well-paid job.

I think the first thing you need to do is a trial run of living on what your salary will be when you are newly qualified - and not a rose coloured glasses version, what it will be if you don't get the dream high-paid job straight away.

I agree with threeportdrift - do the first OU module and see how it goes.
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futurewhatfuture
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#10
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#10
(Original post by skylark2)
Are you going to need to spend more on childcare? I don't think it's possible to study full time outside of work (i.e. school) hours and expect small children to amuse themselves for the whole period. I also don't think it's reasonable to ask a partner to effectively be a single parent for however long simply because you are bored with your well-paid job.

I think the first thing you need to do is a trial run of living on what your salary will be when you are newly qualified - and not a rose coloured glasses version, what it will be if you don't get the dream high-paid job straight away.

I agree with threeportdrift - do the first OU module and see how it goes.
No, not really thinking I would be spending more on childcare, divorced and have plenty of spare time when I have the kids (half the time). I would envisage once they are asleep in the evenings I could put in 3ish hours of work aswell as putting in a minimum of an hour a day at work.
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Crazy Jamie
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#11
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#11
(Original post by futurewhatfuture)
Hopefully get a good grade and get onto BTC, specialise in cyber law and basically make a career for myself by 40.
What do you think this means? As in, what type of cases do you think you will be dealing with? I think that may be considerably more niche than you expect it to be.

You've certainly made a clear assessment of your own circumstances, have a fall back plan, and have clear goals. The one area where you'll need to put more work in is how realistic it is for you to actually become a barrister. I actually can't help with that as much as I'd like to. I'm a barrister in England & Wales. The Northern Ireland Bar is a distinct jurisdiction, albeit a closely related one. But the difficulty is that I don't know what the pupillage environment is like in Northern Ireland, nor can I safely predict where your strengths and weaknesses might be on your application. If you were applying in my jurisdiction I would tell you that whilst your experience may well give you an advantage, and your historic academic grades would likely not be as important as the ones you get from this point on, the real key to this is transferable skills. Life experience is valuable, but you need more than that. You need to identify the skills that you use in your work now, and presumably have done for quite some time, that you can also use at the Bar. That's not something you can blag either. You need to understand the role of a barrister and how your skills can help you with that. I've had plenty of older applicants for pupillage who have tried to claim that they have key transferable skills when they quite clearly don't. You need to make sure you can do that.

My recommendation would be to contact some barrister who practise in Northern Ireland, either by contacting them on something like LinkedIn, or by contacting practitioners/sets in Northern Ireland. People are often very willing to help, and I think some guidance from people within the profession could really help you to assess your chances here.
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futurewhatfuture
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
What do you think this means? As in, what type of cases do you think you will be dealing with? I think that may be considerably more niche than you expect it to be.

You've certainly made a clear assessment of your own circumstances, have a fall back plan, and have clear goals. The one area where you'll need to put more work in is how realistic it is for you to actually become a barrister. I actually can't help with that as much as I'd like to. I'm a barrister in England & Wales. The Northern Ireland Bar is a distinct jurisdiction, albeit a closely related one. But the difficulty is that I don't know what the pupillage environment is like in Northern Ireland, nor can I safely predict where your strengths and weaknesses might be on your application. If you were applying in my jurisdiction I would tell you that whilst your experience may well give you an advantage, and your historic academic grades would likely not be as important as the ones you get from this point on, the real key to this is transferable skills. Life experience is valuable, but you need more than that. You need to identify the skills that you use in your work now, and presumably have done for quite some time, that you can also use at the Bar. That's not something you can blag either. You need to understand the role of a barrister and how your skills can help you with that. I've had plenty of older applicants for pupillage who have tried to claim that they have key transferable skills when they quite clearly don't. You need to make sure you can do that.

My recommendation would be to contact some barrister who practise in Northern Ireland, either by contacting them on something like LinkedIn, or by contacting practitioners/sets in Northern Ireland. People are often very willing to help, and I think some guidance from people within the profession could really help you to assess your chances here.
Thank you for your detailed response.
I agree that in this moment, especially in NI, cyber may be a small market, however as the world is now moving online in a way never seen before, I believe that the market will see exponential growth, mostly driven by the idea of the metaverse. Obviously, time will tell, however who would have thought that the courts would be filled with facebook and twitter cases 15 years ago.

I agree, I need to be able to show a very good academic ability, I believe (it may be ill founded) that showing the capability to maintain a busy working life, whilst also studying towards a good grade, some of the key competencies of a barrister will be highlighted by this alone.

Of course, I need to nail down my CV to really extrapolate the skills I have gained over the last 14 years and how transferable these may actually be to a career at the bar, whether it be in a self employed capacity, or that of in house legal.

I work around the court system, from judicial review, right through to magistrates as it is so hopefully the people I have met over the years can guide me a little bit.

I know that it won't be plain sailing, but I see it as pretty risk free, other than my time as I can return to my previous employment, but again, time will tell.

I could go running back to the civil service with my tail between my legs.
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Crazy Jamie
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#13
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#13
(Original post by futurewhatfuture)
Thank you for your detailed response.
I agree that in this moment, especially in NI, cyber may be a small market, however as the world is now moving online in a way never seen before, I believe that the market will see exponential growth, mostly driven by the idea of the metaverse. Obviously, time will tell, however who would have thought that the courts would be filled with facebook and twitter cases 15 years ago.
You haven't answered the question. When you say that they'll be filled with "facebook and twitter cases", what do you mean? What type of cases? I ask the question because "cyber law" can mean a lot of different things. If by the "facebook and twitter cases" example you mean cases that simply involve evidence from social media, you're talking about a lot of different areas of law, and you cannot specialise in all of them (or even more than one or two). If you don't know what you're aiming for, it may be more difficult to show someone reading your application that you have sufficient insight and skills to be offered pupillage.
I agree, I need to be able to show a very good academic ability, I believe (it may be ill founded) that showing the capability to maintain a busy working life, whilst also studying towards a good grade, some of the key competencies of a barrister will be highlighted by this alone.
Perhaps some, but not enough to get you over the line, otherwise almost everyone who tries to convert to the Bar after a previous career would be level pegging, and they're not.
Of course, I need to nail down my CV to really extrapolate the skills I have gained over the last 14 years and how transferable these may actually be to a career at the bar, whether it be in a self employed capacity, or that of in house legal.

I work around the court system, from judicial review, right through to magistrates as it is so hopefully the people I have met over the years can guide me a little bit.
This is good. Experience of legal systems is certainly relevant. That can help you in terms of knowledge and experience. Still need to work on the transferable skills, but you've got plenty of time for that.
I know that it won't be plain sailing, but I see it as pretty risk free, other than my time as I can return to my previous employment, but again, time will tell.

I could go running back to the civil service with my tail between my legs.
I agree with you. If you can take a career break and return it is something that ultimately has very limited risk. On that basis if it's something you have a desire to do, it may well be better in your position to do that to find out whether you can do it, rather than regret never trying.
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