Future Lawyer Blog

Applications for the Access to the Bar Scheme now open…read about Isabella’s experience last year

Last year we chose Isabella Hibbert-Robinson as our shortlisted candidate to be considered by Middle Temple for their Access to the Bar Award. The Middle Temple Access to the Bar Awards aim to reach able students from backgrounds which do not traditionally encourage aspirations for a career at the Bar and help them to make an informed choice about their opportunities.

The scheme provides two funded weeks (£350 per week) of work experience every summer to both undergraduates and postgraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds. One week is spent shadowing a judge in court (this is called marshalling) and the other week in Chambers with a barrister. Candidates will also receive invitations to networking events. Here, Isabella answers some questions on her experience and we detail more about the application process at the bottom of the article.

The City Law School is seeking applications for the 2022/23 Access to the Bar Award.  Simply read the guidance note, complete the application form and send it to Romilly.Edge.1@city.ac.uk by 5pm on 21st November 2022 to be considered.

What is the current stage of your career?

Isabella

I am currently on the Bar Course (BVS) at City, University of London.

Why did you choose to apply for the award?

When I began my GDL, I had not completed a single mini pupillage. I found it difficult to find the time to slot in these vital experiences alongside working, university and general life commitments.

The award offered me the opportunity to gain an insight into what life was like at the Bar, and I knew instantly that I would be interested.

What was the application process like?

I applied for the award in December*, City put you through an internal process first. All you need to do is fill out the application form. Then I was shortlisted for an interview; you are given constructive feedback by the interviewers who analyse your performance and help you improve. I spent January rewriting my application.

After a lot of editing, I eventually submitted my form in February. Your form then goes through another selection process by Middle Temple, who will let you know if you’ve been chosen for an interview. In April, I was lucky enough to be informed that I would be interviewed in May. After that, I waited a week before finding out that I had been successful.

*Note – we are running our shortlisting procedure earlier this year. The deadline to be considered is 21st November.  

How did you make the most of the mini pupillage and marshalling experience?

  • Write everything down! It will help you remember what you have watched and will be useful for future pupillage interviews.
  • Don’t be scared to ask questions. Judges and barristers know that students do not have a complete grasp of the law.
  • If time permits, try to find common ground outside of the law. This could be your love of rugby, dogs, or where you went to university. It will make you more memorable.
  • Lastly, always arrive 15 minutes early and drink lots of coffee!

What did it mean to you to be chosen by City?

It was a massive confidence boost.

Romilly and Jane took the time to get to know me and were the first people (other than my friends and family) who told me I had the potential for a career at the Bar. It sounds relatively trivial but hearing someone tell me that I could do it helped me to decide that I wanted to pursue a career as a barrister.

What practice area are you keen to go into?

Ideally Family law, but I am also interested in a mixed practice with a focus on Court of Protection and Education law.

Quick-fire q’s to finish

Halloween or Bonfire Night?

Twitter or IG? 

Twitter

Halloween or Bonfire Night?

I can’t choose!

Is it too early to put Christmas decorations in November?

Yes!

Here’s what Middle Temple say about eligibility:

The scheme is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students who;

  • Are available to participate from the final week of June to the end of the first week of July. are in the second, third or fourth year of a qualifying law degree, or taking the Graduate Diploma in Law or an equivalent conversion course. Postgraduates with a qualifying law degree may also apply.
  • have little or no family history of higher or professional education.
  • completed secondary education in a state school. (In exceptional circumstances, students who attended secondary education in a fee-paying school may be considered.)
  • are not a member of the Honourable Society of Inner Temple, The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn or the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. Please Note: Recipients of the Inner Temple Pegasus Access and Support Scheme will not be eligible to receive an Access to the Bar Award. Criteria for the making of an award

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