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Bri’s Law Placement Experience

 

I’m Bri, a third year LLB Law student at the University of Chichester and I was lucky enough to have been an awardee of the Access to the scheme through Middle Temple this summer. The scheme is for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented at the Bar. One week is spent marshalling and the other week in Chambers with a barrister.

 

How did you find the application process?

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For me, the application process, the opportunities I have been offered, and the chance to experience work in “Legal London” have been nothing short of remarkable.

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The application process for the scholarship commenced with a straightforward questionnaire-type form and a personal statement about me, my academic journey and why I was applying. Once I submitted this to the head of department, Dr Amy Elkington, she submitted academic references from my lecturers to support my application. A few weeks passed, and I received the news that my application had been selected by the University and was being submitted to Middle Temple. I was fortunate enough to be selected for the next stage which was a zoom interview with a panel of Inn members. To prepare for this I asked every lecturer possible for their advice, particularly Charley Dugdale and Keith Sinclair, who were amazing as they either had first-hand experience with the Bar and Inns or had participated in similar schemes. Following the interview, there was another anxious waiting period of approximately four months before I was told that I would be receiving the award and being invited to join the scheme!

 

What were you looking to get out of the scholarship?

For me, the award was an opportunity for me to further my experience in areas of law that are harder to come by on the coast, such as Human Rights law and Environmental law. While my previous work experience and Mini Pupillage’s had been mostly around family and civil law, I wanted to get a taste of what city sets are like in the Capital.

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On a more personal level, I recognise that the emphasis placed on social mobility is key in enabling individuals like me, from less privileged backgrounds, to access opportunities that might otherwise seem out of reach…

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as there remains a belief in law that unless you come from a privileged background or attend a Russel Group University then you cannot make it as a legal professional. Whilst it is definitely more difficult for us, it is entirely possible- particularly through schemes such as this and more emphasis being placed on the importance of social mobility.

 

What did your typical day look like?

During the placement, my typical day in London was filled with thrilling and insightful experiences. For the first week, I was fortunate to be placed with Blackstone Chambers, where I assisted with research in Human Rights and explored Competition Law, which was entirely new to me. I additionally had the privilege of shadowing Ben Jaffey KC, who represented the Mayor of London and TFL during a two day judicial review of the ULEZ Expansion. In the second week, I was at the Royal Courts of Justice, shadowing Lady Justice Whipple on Criminal Appeals. This eye-opening experience provided me with an unfiltered view of the criminal appeals system.

 

What was the best part?

For me, the best part of the scholarship was also the most challenging—being in London. Having grown up in Gosport, adapting to the fast-paced environment was overwhelming. The long days and the intense work at the Inn provided me with a realistic view of the legal profession and although it was mentally and physically demanding – which I had prepared for to an extent,

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…knowing that my efforts were making an impact has made me even more determined to pursue a career at the Bar.

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What is next for you?

Going forward, my aspirations involve taking the next steps to qualify as a barrister. I plan to either pursue a master’s degree at the University of Chichester, or to undertake a combined Bar Practise Course (BPC) with a master’s program to enable me to secure pupillage.

 

Any tips or final comments?

To those considering applying for the Bar scholarship, I would encourage you to make the most of the opportunities around you. Never take any experience for granted, as each one helps you to grow and develop.

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Be open to new challenges and say yes to every opportunity…

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– even if it doesn’t immediately align with your interests, because you never know who you’ll meet or how it may shape your future career path.

My journey with the Access to the Bar Award through Middle Temple has been an amazing experience. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities it has provided, and for the encouragement and support I received from the University law department throughout and I eagerly look forward to my third and final year and an LLB student here!

 

Written by Bri, LLB Law student

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Date published

03 Nov 2023

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