Two of last year’s BPTC cohort tell us what it feels like to become a Barrister.
After years of studying, numerous interviews and a challenging pupillage, you finally hear those magic words ‘You’ve got tenancy’. We spoke to two City Law School alumni who have just reached the light at the end of the tunnel.
Sophie Wellings studied History at University College London before joining The City Law School to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). She chose to continue her legal education at City, enrolling for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC ) in 2011 and securing the Lord Justice Holker Scholarship (Grays Inn).
She secured pupillage at top family set, Queen Elizabeth Buildings and has recently accepted an offer of tenancy there:
“I didn’t know I could be a barrister until I went to CLS and was really taught the founding skills necessary. Being able to think on your feet is one thing, but you have to have the goods to back it up. I felt really supported at CLS and have kept in touch with several tutors, who share in my success. I don’t need to say how incredibly happy I am that the uncertainty of whether or not I will get to the start line (tenancy) is over. To anyone who wants to be a barrister, it is a hard slog just to get into the race but the pay back is immeasurable. I’m a northern lass with a 2:1 degree and if I can get my top choice chambers to give me a pupillage and tenancy, then so can anyone else who puts in the graft”.
Sophie Weber achieved a first class degree in English and French Law before attending the University of Oxford to complete the BCL with distinction. After undertaking an MPhil at Magdalen College, Oxord, Miss Weber took up a place at The City Law School on the BPTC. She was classified as outstanding and secured a pupillage with the top commercial set, One Essex Court. Her success there has been rewarded with an offer of tenancy there.
“I have truly enjoyed my pupillage, despite it being a challenging and quite a stressful year, and have found all of my supervisors as well as the rest of Chambers to be extremely supportive. It turns out that there is nothing that can fully prepare you for pupillage. However, with hindsight, I am grateful that I learnt the basics of drafting statements of case and skeletons during the BPTC as this has helped me tackle those tasks (although they were much more difficult and complex than any of the exercises completed during the BPTC) during the course of the last ten months. The BPTC has also taught me to find my way around the White Book (a skill which has come in handy more than once) and has made me aware of potential ethical issues.”
“During pupillage I had at times wondered how it would feel to find out about Chambers’ vote on my tenancy, “the tenancy decision”: would I be thrilled, excited or even ecstatic and dancing on the ceiling? In reality, and to my surprise, the over-riding sensation was exhaustion and pure relief that the uncertainty was over and that many years of hard work had actually paid off. It was only a few days later, whilst celebrating with friends, that the good news finally sank in. I began to feel a sense of happiness in realising that I had achieved what I had been working towards for the last two years, a goal which some, given my background as a non-native English speaker who studied for part of her degree in France, had thought impossible.”
Lawbore would like to congratulate all new tenants. Keep sending us your stories!