On Monday 25th November, the City University Law Society held a careers event, ‘a Career at the Bar’. The event involved a panel discussion with Barristers from Brick Court Chambers and 1 Gray’s Inn Square.
The two counsels that attended on behalf of 1 Gray’s Inn Square were Miss Elaine Skittrell (Year of call 1999) and Miss Karen Reid (Year of call 2010) who recently became a tenant within chambers upon successful completion of pupillage.
Brick Court Chambers was represented by Mr Kyle Lawson who was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 2012. After the panel discussion, a Q&A session took place and networking followed with snacks and wine served.
There was a lot of positive feedback from the attendees who were given an insight into the Bar, obtaining a pupillage and the social side of a barrister. All three Barristers agreed that academics are very crucial when applying for a pupillage and chambers look for a high 2.1 or first class degree classification. Furthermore, Ms. Skittrell mentioned that chambers do not only look at degree results but also A-Level grades and seek a minimum of AAB. As she explained, this shows an academically consistent performance. The Barristers also revealed that in an application for a pupillage, a strong personality and passion for law is required. A key difference between a solicitor and a barrister is advocacy and one must have excellent advocacy skills and this can be demonstrated through mooting which is another factor chambers look for in applications. Mini-pupillages provide work experience and an insight into the chamber and being a barrister but surprisingly it is the last factor that chambers seek in applications. Even though Mr Lawson, for instance, completed 8 mini-pupillages, Ms. Reid stated that she actually completed only 1 mini-pupillage before obtaining a pupillage and that networking events are more important.
Halsbury’s Laws of England is over 100 years old – we celebrated its centenary in 2007 – but if you think it’s a dusty old has-been, then think again.
As well as an effortlessly stylish addition to any high-flyers boardroom, law library or courtroom drama in its classic black livery, it is a veritable smash hit on LexisLibrary as the second most used source. Every day, Halsbury’s Laws online attracts thousands of views, so if you’re not taking advantage of the expertly-crafted, painstakingly-scrutinised content we have to offer, you need to catch up with the curve.
What is Halsbury’s Laws?
Halsbury’s Laws of England provides the only complete narrative statement of the law in England and Wales. It has been said that in the absence of a written constitution in the UK, we are it. We classify the sum total of the law into subject areas that we present as titles, bookended by Agency and Welfare Benefits (if you think of a Z subject we could use, let us know). We give you the primary and secondary legislation, bundle up the key cases, throw in some EU law, and as truly as your Uncle Bob, you have The Law. You will find no conjecture, no discursive debate and no prediction or extrapolation. Just the law in black and white, which is why we are so often cited in court.
How can Halsbury’s Laws help you?
Halsbury’s Laws can help you answer day to day legal questions, legal issues in the news and answer any research questions set by your tutors.
You can access Halsbury in two ways: print and online with a LexisLibrary subscription. You can also access some Halsbury’s Laws content without subscription on LexisWeb.
Michael Edmonds, Barrister, 4 Breams Buildings and Sumeer Chaudhry, Solicitor, BAC Solicitors will be at City to talk about their career paths as well as their day-to-day work. They will speak on selecting a set, mini-pupillages, training contracts, alternatives to traditional pupillage and advocacy opportunities within solicitors' firms.
You'll get insight into life as a pupil barrister and trainee solicitor.
The second half of the talk will cover how instructing counsel and solicitor work together:
- What role each lawyer performs
- How the interaction works best/worst
- How the relationship works in an example case - from police station to the Court of Appeal
- What do solicitors look for in counsel?
- What do counsel appreciate from solicitors?
- Direct access
There will be the opportunity to ask questions of Michael and Sumeer.
This event is organised jointly by Emily and The City University Bar Society - sign up for your place!
Wednesday 4th December - 5.30pm - C304 - Tait Building, Northampton Square.
On the 5th November, Silvia Van den Bruel came to speak to our students about “Being in the Business of Becoming a Successful Barrister”.
According to Silvia Van den Bruel, many pupillage applicants are unsure as to how a barrister goes about marketing himself or herself in practice. Silvia was keen to emphasise that the days that legal expertise was sufficient to achieve success at the Bar are gone. Below are a few of the tips which she shared:
Recognise that, as a barrister, you will be part of a unique business model. You, specifically your skills and expertise, are the product. Think of, and capitalise upon, the factors which differentiate you from your peers. To this end, don’t undersell the value of previous careers and other experience which sets you apart or has helped you to develop unique transferrable skills.
Think of yourself as an entrepreneur. Have a vision of where you want to be in 2 to 3 years and a strategic plan of how you will get there. Break this goal down into more manageable shorter term targets and communicate these to the set you are part of.
When you apply for pupillage, demonstrate to chambers that you have the drive and skills needed to succeed as a self-employed professional while also asking them how they will assist you with marketing and business development. However, ensure you still take personal responsibility for selling yourself and your “brand”. Balance the time spent working with the time you spend promoting your ability to do the work.
Don’t underestimate the importance of client care. The client, as Silvia puts it, is King and should be the centre of your universe. Build and maintain relationships: you never know when someone might be in a position to help you out.
Many thanks to Silvia for a fascinating presentation which shed some light on an oft-neglected aspect of life at the Bar.
Silvia Van den Bruel is the Marketing and Business Development Manager at 11 Stone Buildings and is also a mentor in City University London's Professional Mentoring Scheme for 2013/14 which offers students the opportunity to develop their personal development and employability.
Thanks to our author James Yapp who is currently studying at The City Law School on the BPTC course.
As part of a week-long visit to City University London, Ruthann Robson, Professor of Law at City University of New York will deliver a lecture based on her new book ‘Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality and Democracy…From Our Hairstyles to Our Shoes’(Cambridge University Press, 2013). Lawbore spoke to her on the eve of the event to find out more.
Thanks for speaking to us Ruthann. Tell us a little bit about your most recent publication ‘Dressing Constitutionally…’
The book looks at all different aspects of dressing and attire, including non-attire and things like grooming and hairstyles. It looks at it from the perspective of rights and specifically people’s rights to dress or not dress in a certain way. It also looks at how different kinds of structures of government and constitutionalism have been influenced by how people dress.
You are well known for your work in the area of Sexuality and the Law but this topic is an expansion on that. What was the most interesting or surprising thing you discovered as you embarked on the research for this book?
The book actually has a lot of sexuality in it and I had already written about constitutional structures and the power of the judiciary to review different aspects of law. However, the historical research turned out to be really fascinating and it led me to discover things I really didn’t know too much about. For example, when we think of sumptuary laws during the reign of Henry VIII - like which classes of people can wear which clothes - we think of them as aiming to maintain hierarchy and keep the classes separate. While there’s a lot of truth to that, the enforcement of laws relating to dress were actually also about maintaining the economics of England and ensuring that the wool trade was profitable.
At that time, there was also a lot of patrolling around sexuality, which was surprising for me. When I think of the control on sexuality during those times, it would usually be related to women but I found that there were proclamations about how long men’s tunics could be and what they could show and not show – that was very interesting.
Is the law still having a real impact of how people dress today?
I think there are fewer and fewer direct laws, although they do tend to come back, so in the States recently, we’ve had issues around saggy pants and trying to prohibit those for men. However, we see the impact in work dress codes, in terms of both positive laws and also people being terminated or not promoted for the way they do or don’t dress. In certain spaces, like the military or in prison, there are still lots of rules.
In some ways, dress becomes kind of a code for race and class and gender but then other times it is really interesting to look at people’s style and think that a certain style would be encoded with criminality. This is something which I think has not changed at all because in the 60s and 70s, if you wore blue jeans, then that must mean that you were smoking marijuana or doing some other type of drug.
For women and to some extent men too, there is another indirect way in which the law gets involved. That is the failure of the requirement to protect women from sexual assault - there’s a lot of women blaming that goes on if someone is dressed a certain way.
What do you hope the audience at your lecture and readers of the book take-away with them?
We think that we have a lot of freedom in terms of how we dress, so one point would be that we actually have a lot less freedom than we think we do. The second is that we really need to carefully consider how we use the law. When I was reading people’s interviews about either dress codes in schools or even dress codes on the streets, they may be a quote included from the Mayor saying ‘I don’t like this or ‘I don’t think I have to look at that’. That may be true or not, but then there’s this question about whether the law should be the way that we control it, especially when we are talking about criminalising people. That is probably at the extreme end but then there are different kinds of judgements which become encoded in law, even for dress codes.
The lecture takes place on Tuesday 26th November at 6.30pm at City University London, EC1V 0HB, followed by a drinks reception. To attend, please register via the City Events website.
Ruthann Robson is a Professor of Law and University Distinguished Professor at City University of New York and the author of ‘Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality, and Democracy from Our Hairstyles to Our Shoes’ (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
If you've not yet got yourself on a moot team for this year then the rather excellent moot from the chambers of Francis Taylor Building is open to applicants. Hosted by FTB and sponsored by the Solicitors Journal, the competition is open to teams of undergraduate, GDL and BPTC students.
Topics covered include European, Environmental and Public law, the competition will take place over three rounds. If you are interested you need to submit a skeleton argument by the 6th December. Here's what the FTB have to say about the Kingsland Cup:
"The first round sees entrants judged on their skeleton arguments, with the top-scoring teams appearing at the semi-final in London before a distinguished high court judge in a full mock court in the New Year. Last year’s Grand Final was held in Courtroom 1 at the Supreme Court, and was judged by Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill. Comparable arrangements for this year’s final are to be confirmed in the very near future."
The City University London Law Society has organised a panel event for the evening of Monday 25th November - featuring barristers from Matrix, Brick Court and Doughty Street chambers amongst others.
The barristers will talk about their life at the bar as well as giving information about their path to pupillage.
Where? ELG19 (Drysdale Lecture Theatre)
When? Monday 25th November @ 6.15
Open to all - no need to register!
Don't forget 'My path to a commercial pupillage' on Tuesday 26th.
A leading legal magazine has listed the top ten young barristers in England and Wales after contacting more than 350 solicitors, barristers, QCs and senior clerks to ascertain their views on the rising stars of the profession. 325 barristers were recommended before the final ten were profiled by journalist Ben Rigby for the magazine's annual Stars at the Bar list.
Seven of this top ten are graduates of The City Law School:
Simon Atrill Fountain Court Chambers (BVC, 2005)
Siddharth Dhar Essex Court Chambers (BVC, 2005)
Charles Raffin Hardwicke Chambers (BVC, 2005)
Amy Sander Essex Court Chambers (BVC, 2006)
Luke Pearce 20 Essex Street (BVC, 2007)
Can Yeginsu 4 New Square (GDL, 2007)
Michael Watkins One Essex Court (Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Legal Skills, 2009)
Professor Carl Stychin, Dean of The City Law School, commented:
"It is tremendous to see our alumni achieving this level of recognition so early in their careers. Our rigorous professional programmes are well known for attracting some of the most able and hard-working students, so it is extremely gratifying to see them reaching their potential".
A pair of City Law School GDL students were thrilled to win the inaugural Westminster Law Review National Debating Competition on 7th November 2013.
The competition organised with the support of the Westminster International Law & Theory Centre featured 6 teams: University of Hertfordshire, Brunel, Lincoln's Inn, Kingston University, Birmingham University and City. Three rounds took place in one evening; the first, a debate entitled: Does deception as to gender negate sexual consent? This was based on the McNally case  EWCA Crim 1051.
The second round was based on the content of a Westminster Law Review podcast: What is the point of the UN Security Council following Syria? The third was based on an previously unseen statement.
Well done to Jonathan Lodwick and Eleni Dinenis - photographs from the event can be found on the Review's facebook page. The award was presented by Sherif Elgebeily, the Westminster Law Review Editor-in-Chief.
The Westminster Law Review are always keen to receive submissions.