Last year we chose Andre Barrett-Moore (then GDL student and now on our BVS programme) 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, Andre answers some questions on his experience and we detail more about the application process at the bottom of the article.
The City Law School is seeking applications for the 2023/24 Access to the Bar Award. Simply read the guidance note, complete the application form (both found via the Middle Temple website), and send it to Romilly.Edge.firstname.lastname@example.org by 1pm on 22nd November 2023 to be considered.
What is the current stage of your career?
I am a BVS Student at City, University of London.
Why did you choose to apply for the award?
Before the project I had some experience watching trials. On one occasion, a judge ruled in a way which baffled me. I knew I had to speak to a judge about a case just to see how they think. This award provided that opportunity.
What was the application process like?
There’s an internal stage and an external one. At the internal stage, I submitted a paper application in November, was shortlisted to be interviewed two weeks later and was informed of the decision a week after that. Advancing to the external stage, I applied the feedback from the interviewers to complete the same paper application to be submitted to Middle Temple in early February.
I was then shortlisted for an interview the Inn which took place in March (perfectly-timed for the Bar Course Scholarship interview later in April both in terms of practice and an extra achievement to mention). Roughly three weeks later, I was informed that I was successful.
How did you make the most of the mini pupillage and marshalling experience?
I asked questions. I’m sure I asked a silly question at one point, but it didn’t matter because I then learned it was a silly question.
I tried not to be a perfectionist with my understanding. I accepted there would be arguments I wouldn’t fully understand. I wrote them down and came back to think about them later.
If I truly thought I understood an argument and concluded it just didn’t make sense, I mentioned my reason why to the judge/barrister and asked if I’d missed something. Again, I accepted that I will look like I lack knowledge as a means of gaining it.
What did it mean to you to be chosen by City?
Approval of my aptitude for the Bar for my CV.
What practice area are you keen to go into?
Quick-fire q’s to finish
Favourite subject on the BVS?
Recommended shop/café near the City campus?
Triple Two Coffee, Farringdon.
Is it too early to put up Christmas decorations in November?
No. And let the mince pie addiction begin.
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