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    (Original post by Tia111)
    I think overall it's more difficult for ethnic minorities to enter the profession but it's not impossible. Therefore, I'm sure if you try your hardest you will make it. I wish you all the best Shalina! .

    Tia xx
    How can it be harder? There is more than a 200% per capita of ethinic minority candidates practising in recent years. Yes the older end is dominated by white males, but these things need time to change.

    People should not be put off because they are not from traditional backgrounds as it is not true they will struggle any more than anyone else.
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    (Original post by Tia111)
    I think overall it's more difficult for ethnic minorities to enter the profession but it's not impossible. Therefore, I'm sure if you try your hardest you will make it. I wish you all the best Shalina! .

    Tia xx
    I don't think this is true at all, apart from maybe the last assumption..

    there is no racial discrimination in the Bar, fact.
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    Hi - i am not a student but a criminal barrister, recently gone in-house. I feel compelled to reply to the initial comments made by a poster about being asian and female and getting into the bar.

    I got called to the bar in 2000. I come from a working class background in the north west of England. I did a vacation placement and several minipupillages in the north and London during my 2nd year undergrad. I made my mind up i never wanted to be a solicitor as i enjoyed advocacy and the meeting of people every day and each day being different.

    So, i had pupillage interviews before starting bar school in London, and got several interviews lined up which was positive. I got told in one interview where i came 2nd that i would make a great barrister and to come back the following year (i messed up 2nd time around). This of course gave me confidence to continue, however, i never got pupillage until 2005. That's FIVE years later and a lot of disillusionment and health problems in the interim. You may ask why i put pressure on myself, but i felt i had something to prove and i was as good as others, however, within those 5 years i stopped applying after the first two. I got my pupillage just weeks before my BVC "expired" as my colleagues in my last post told me i'd be stupid not to apply given my experience to date (you have 5 years in which to get pupillage post BVC).

    In those 5 years what did i do? Well, like the girl in the barristers programme said, i went off abroad to work for the UN abroad, did my Masters at an Oxbridge Uni, worked in Research in International Law here and abroad, and worked at one of the top Chambers in London in Research. None of this could i have done without my parents support and their financial help so i am utterly grateful.

    Of course i left the bar after a couple of years as it's VERY hard to survive in London doing Criminal Work which is undergoing cut backs. So i went in house and now work as an employed barrister still doing crime day in day out, which i always wanted to do.

    This journey has been tough and i have encountered issues with barristers in interview asking me questions about my background, stupid questions in interview such as which one do you like: harry potter or lord of the rings...i say stupid because it's an assumption everyone likes your tastes or have even read/watched these books / movies. I've been offered alcohol repeatedly (i am muslim but i dont expect everyone to know that) when members of the interview have been very tipsy when interviewing me. I've had someone on an interview panel ask me whether i will be commuting from Manchester to London daily if i got pupillage and whether i live with my parents - she was an asian barrister so i found her comments doubly amusing. What relevance do her comments have anyhow?

    Once i had my Oxbridge masters on my CV i had 3 barristers on a panel confirm to me they all went to the same uni, and asked me if i was personally taught by a certain criminal professor cos they had been! During a mini-pupillage at a commercial set i was asked whether i had a 1st class, to which i said "no, a 2:1!". The QC didnt seem impressed. He then asked me is it oxford or cambridge? To which i reply "no, more like Leeds". He then said "i suppose that has a good law school" and walked off. Needless to say i never spoke to him for the entire week i was there.

    So, my answer is that YES it is damned hard if you are an ethnic minority female coming from a non-prestigious background. I never fitted in and never would have even i stayed long enough. I do not believe in changing the core of my self to fit in, which is something i saw a few friends at bar school do (and yes they are doing pretty well financially!).

    Indeed once i had left the world of self employment and Chambers, a prominent barrister told me "yes well you are working class".

    At least the government positions in house are diverse and have lawyers from all places far and wide who also come from prestigious backgrounds but somehow dont carry it as an air of arrogance. I've worked in two different areas of Law and i know there are secondment oppportunities within government here and abroad which is my aim in the next few years.

    I dont regret my experiences. At least i can say i've been there and done that, but i wouldn't ever encourage anyone to join the Criminal Bar unless they didnt have debt and were happy to break even in the first couple of years. I would advise anyone wanting a career at the bar to go off and get some real life work experience and then to come back to it after 25.

    If people disagree with my viewpoints, do remember these are my experiences. Yes i have at friends in top London sets who are asian and female but they stand out because, like me, they have done other stuff which has opened the pupillage doors and they were prepared to stick out their tenancies, which is fair do's....whatever makes you happy
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    (Original post by ѕнαℓiηα)
    Yeah very true. Like that guy on the programme, he got a "competent" for his BVC results...looks like its gonna be a lot tougher for him to get a pupillage. And I also met a Cambridge graduate who was at Middle Temple, she was struggling to get a pupillage too 'cause she got a 2:2.
    Yes but a 2.2 is fatal where as a competent is not. This is because your degree results (as well as of course the institution) are decisive. Your BVC results are not. I was only asked once at interview about the BVC and every barrister I ever met as a mini pupil said the BVC was rubbish and I should do it at a cheap place and get it over with. I fully agree with this after having done it.

    Chambers require generally that you pass the BVC although you may need a reason if you get just a competent.
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    My reasons for mentioning the comments and old-school comments in interviews was to say i do not think the myth of the "old boys network" has been dispelled. It comes out when it needs to...just like the 3 male barristers telling me they got taught by the same professor and "see, we all went to Oxbridge uni and were at colleges X,Y,Z". What relevance such comments had on my ability were beyond me.
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    >>Yes but a 2.2 is fatal where as a competent is not.

    I got a 2:1 and passed all my Bar exams first time around. Two friends who got 2:2's and went to a non-red brick uni AND who failed at least 2 exams first time around got pupillages in decent Criminal Chambers within 2 years of completing the BVC. Oh, and one friend got it before he'd finished the BVC.

    I really dont think having average grades is so fatal if it can be backed up with life experience.
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    (Original post by SadieZ)
    Hi - i am not a student but a criminal barrister, recently gone in-house. I feel compelled to reply to the initial comments made by a poster about being asian and female and getting into the bar.

    I got called to the bar in 2000. I come from a working class background in the north west of England. I did a vacation placement and several minipupillages in the north and London during my 2nd year undergrad. I made my mind up i never wanted to be a solicitor as i enjoyed advocacy and the meeting of people every day and each day being different.

    So, i had pupillage interviews before starting bar school in London, and got several interviews lined up which was positive. I got told in one interview where i came 2nd that i would make a great barrister and to come back the following year (i messed up 2nd time around). This of course gave me confidence to continue, however, i never got pupillage until 2005. That's FIVE years later and a lot of disillusionment and health problems in the interim. You may ask why i put pressure on myself, but i felt i had something to prove and i was as good as others, however, within those 5 years i stopped applying after the first two. I got my pupillage just weeks before my BVC "expired" as my colleagues in my last post told me i'd be stupid not to apply given my experience to date (you have 5 years in which to get pupillage post BVC).

    In those 5 years what did i do? Well, like the girl in the barristers programme said, i went off abroad to work for the UN abroad, did my Masters at an Oxbridge Uni, worked in Research in International Law here and abroad, and worked at one of the top Chambers in London in Research. None of this could i have done without my parents support and their financial help so i am utterly grateful.

    Of course i left the bar after a couple of years as it's VERY hard to survive in London doing Criminal Work which is undergoing cut backs. So i went in house and now work as an employed barrister still doing crime day in day out, which i always wanted to do.

    This journey has been tough and i have encountered issues with barristers in interview asking me questions about my background, stupid questions in interview such as which one do you like: harry potter or lord of the rings...i say stupid because it's an assumption everyone likes your tastes or have even read/watched these books / movies. I've been offered alcohol repeatedly (i am muslim but i dont expect everyone to know that) when members of the interview have been very tipsy when interviewing me. I've had someone on an interview panel ask me whether i will be commuting from Manchester to London daily if i got pupillage and whether i live with my parents - she was an asian barrister so i found her comments doubly amusing. What relevance do her comments have anyhow?

    Once i had my Oxbridge masters on my CV i had 3 barristers on a panel confirm to me they all went to the same uni, and asked me if i was personally taught by a certain criminal professor cos they had been! During a mini-pupillage at a commercial set i was asked whether i had a 1st class, to which i said "no, a 2:1!". The QC didnt seem impressed. He then asked me is it oxford or cambridge? To which i reply "no, more like Leeds". He then said "i suppose that has a good law school" and walked off. Needless to say i never spoke to him for the entire week i was there.

    So, my answer is that YES it is damned hard if you are an ethnic minority female coming from a non-prestigious background. I never fitted in and never would have even i stayed long enough. I do not believe in changing the core of my self to fit in, which is something i saw a few friends at bar school do (and yes they are doing pretty well financially!).

    Indeed once i had left the world of self employment and Chambers, a prominent barrister told me "yes well you are working class".

    At least the government positions in house are diverse and have lawyers from all places far and wide who also come from prestigious backgrounds but somehow dont carry it as an air of arrogance. I've worked in two different areas of Law and i know there are secondment oppportunities within government here and abroad which is my aim in the next few years.

    I dont regret my experiences. At least i can say i've been there and done that, but i wouldn't ever encourage anyone to join the Criminal Bar unless they didnt have debt and were happy to break even in the first couple of years. I would advise anyone wanting a career at the bar to go off and get some real life work experience and then to come back to it after 25.

    If people disagree with my viewpoints, do remember these are my experiences. Yes i have at friends in top London sets who are asian and female but they stand out because, like me, they have done other stuff which has opened the pupillage doors and they were prepared to stick out their tenancies, which is fair do's....whatever makes you happy
    I really don't agree with this. With respect, 5 years of experience to make up for essentially poor academics will not do the trick. I assume there was something there in your undergraduate studies or A Levels that counted against you. Students that kid themselves by doing Masters to cover up 2.2s or poor A Levels are wasting valuable time and money. The bar is snobby about education, this is a fact, but it has to take the academically best candidates. Otherwise they will invest in training a pupil that just won't make it.

    I don't think you being an Asian woman had anything to do with it. I have met dozens of Asian women barristers at top sets, all with formidable backgrounds.

    There are many white and black, men and women, in your position. I assure you they are not in that position because of their race or gender.
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    >>although you may need a reason if you get just a competent.

    Without being too nit picky...see my comments above. When i did the BVC it was more a case of passing everything first time around, be it with a competent or a VC, than having a VC and having more attempts. I recall being asked that in interivew a couple of times.
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    I read that all and it doesn't really make sense, in what way were you discriminated against unfairly? You have a 2:1 from leeds and you had to resit a year at the bar, am I right?
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    (Original post by SadieZ)
    >>although you may need a reason if you get just a competent.

    Without being too nit picky...see my comments above. When i did the BVC it was more a case of passing everything first time around, be it with a competent or a VC, than having a VC and having more attempts. I recall being asked that in interview a couple of times.
    Olpas doesn't require you to disclose resits and most applications, in fact all but one I have completed, don't either.

    I have talked to pupillage committee members on several panels and they all said they attach no weight to the BVC. That is, they do not award a point for it (e.g. they may award 1 point for a 2.1 or 2 for a first class etcetera).

    If it was different when you did it, it has changed now.
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    (Original post by Nightseternal)
    I really don't agree with this. With respect, 5 years of experience to make up for essentially poor academics will not do the trick.

    From where have you inferred i have poor academics? I have AAB at A-levels and a 2:1 from a redbrick - how is that poor? A Masters is an academic stop gap as it starts when all pupillages do and completes in time for those who have got pupillage in the interim. In any event, my Masters was at Oxford, so again, from where can you say i am making up poor grades?

    >> I assume there was something there in your undergraduate studies or A Levels that counted against you.

    Your assumption is entirely incorrect - see above. Perhaps it is the case that competition is stiff. However, securing several pupillage interviews within weeks of embarking on the BVC is a result in itself as many i know dont even get interviews!

    >>I don't think you being an Asian woman had anything to do with it. I have met dozens of Asian women barristers at top sets, all with formidable backgrounds.

    As ive said in my initial post - feel free to disgaree as it is MY experience i am speaking of. I further state there ARE asian females at the Bar, but who will stick it out for various reasons. I couldnt because crime is poorly paid AND i dislike the attitudes in chambers.

    >>There are many white and black, men and women, in your position. I assure you they are not in that position because of their race or gender.
    In what position exactly?

    Do learn to read what someone has written rather than push your views accross. If you are a lawyer, the key is to listen before you respond. Or in this case, read.
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    >>I really don't agree with this. With respect, 5 years of experience to make up for essentially poor academics will not do the trick.

    From where have you inferred i have poor academics? I have AAB at A-levels and a 2:1 from a redbrick - how is that poor? A Masters is an academic stop gap as it starts when all pupillages do and completes in time for those who have got pupillage in the interim. In any event, my Masters was at Oxford, so again, from where can you say i am making up poor grades?

    >> I assume there was something there in your undergraduate studies or A Levels that counted against you.

    Your assumption is entirely incorrect - see above. Perhaps it is the case that competition is stiff. However, securing several pupillage interviews within weeks of embarking on the BVC is a result in itself as many i know dont even get interviews!

    >>I don't think you being an Asian woman had anything to do with it. I have met dozens of Asian women barristers at top sets, all with formidable backgrounds.

    As ive said in my initial post - feel free to disgaree as it is MY experience i am speaking of. I further state there ARE asian females at the Bar, but who will stick it out for various reasons. I couldnt because crime is poorly paid AND i dislike the attitudes in chambers.

    >>There are many white and black, men and women, in your position. I assure you they are not in that position because of their race or gender.

    In what position exactly?

    Do learn to read what someone has written rather than push your views accross. If you are a lawyer, the key is to listen before you respond. Or in this case, read.
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    (Original post by SadieZ)
    In what position exactly?
    The position of getting pupillage five years later and then going in house anyway.
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    (Original post by SadieZ)
    >>
    As ive said in my initial post - feel free to disgaree as it is MY experience i am speaking of. I further state there ARE asian females at the Bar, but who will stick it out for various reasons. I couldnt because crime is poorly paid AND i dislike the attitudes in chambers.
    Don't get on your high horse with me. You said I was free to disagree and I do. I certainly don't need your permission to disagree. The fact that you did the BVC, spent five years in pursuit of pupillage AND then did pupillage in crime but left upon realising after SEVEN years in the profession that crime was badly paid says it all.
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    >>Olpas doesn't require you to disclose resits and most applications, in fact all but one I have completed, don't either.

    I never said they did anywyere. I simply pointed out that the key was to completing everything in one go when i did the BVC rather than re-sit, and it's pretty telling from the Call Date if one has done resits. Of course one may go to a later call Ceremony than the ones in July for whatever other reason, such as i did as i went abroad in the interim. Perhaps that is a reason why i got asked whether i had done any resits or were all exams passed first time around. Who knows?

    >>I have talked to pupillage committee members on several panels and they all said they attach no weight to the BVC. That is, they do not award a point for it (e.g. they may award 1 point for a 2.1 or 2 for a first class etcetera).

    Well that's a good point as i personally know of people getting VC and not getting pupillage, and many getting Competents and getting pupillage. I dont think there is an exact science here. Furthermore, as i did, i am sure many people will highlight what subjects they got outstandings and very competents in even if their overall grade was a competent. For example, doing crime and getting VC's in advocacy and crim lit might make an overall competent grade look "better".

    >>If it was different when you did it, it has changed now.

    No it wasnt. I was part of OLPAS in 2005.
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    (Original post by Nightseternal)
    Don't get on your high horse with me. You said I was free to disagree and I do. I certainly don't need your permission to disagree. The fact that you did the BVC, spent five years in pursuit of pupillage AND then did pupillage in crime but left upon realising after SEVEN years in the profession that crime was badly paid says it all.
    And the fact someone has done far more interesting things than self employment in between negates not staying at the self employed bar? lol. Deary me. Your tone says a lot. I cannot believe i came on here to offer my insight, and someone is lambasted for saying how they found it.

    You have also mis-read the fact after two years (99-01) of applying for pupillage i stopped and re-applied before the time clock started in summer of 05. So, what it says is "being realistic". Of course if you are still young and naive then i'll leave you to your assumptions and almightyness.
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    (Original post by Nightseternal)
    Don't get on your high horse with me. You said I was free to disagree and I do. I certainly don't need your permission to disagree. The fact that you did the BVC, spent five years in pursuit of pupillage AND then did pupillage in crime but left upon realising after SEVEN years in the profession that crime was badly paid says it all.
    i forgot to say, again, you cannot read by quoting someone said they spent SEVEN years in the profession. I havent said that anywhere, lol. Just doing the BVC and not pupillage shouldn't, imo, entitle anyone to call themselves a barrister.

    As i said, do read. It'd save you looking stupid.
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    If you want to bicker then you should use the Private Message function.
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    No one is being bicker - i've said my experiences and have told anyone they can disagree, and further added the caveat that yes there are asian females at the bar!

    In response ive been told in a crap tone that i am likely to have a poor academic record, i did the BCL to cover my ill academic record, and ive spent 5 years (which i didnt) in pursuit of something i left and that really Says it ALL!

    I'd really like to know if this person is an aspiring barrister, or is one because not reading and assuming is very dangerous indeed.
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    >>I read that all and it doesn't really make sense, in what way were you discriminated against unfairly? You have a 2:1 from leeds and you had to resit a year at the bar, am I right?

    The experiences during the mini-pupillage even before i had embarked on the BVC, and then having an upshot in interviews post oxbridge, and the comments about certain oxbridge professors teaching me and everyone on the panel having gone there and knowing them. Of course, this works to the advantage of the select few who go there but who make up a fair bit of many chambers, notably many commercial sets.

    No where have i said i had to re-sit a year at the bar, lol.
 
 
 
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