Sian's blog posts for November 2014

Confessions of a wannabe QC part 7



My head is most definitely not in the game at the moment! For starters, I miscalculated the dates so dramatically this week that I actually forgot to start an essay that is due on Monday. My normal routine would be to have the bloody thing written by now, so this late starting feels distinctly out of character. Add that to the fact that, now I have actually started, I think pretty much every word I am writing is utter piffle! I'm bored reading it back to myself so, heaven help the poor bloke charged with marking it.

   Most of this week has been taken up with something far more unusual... If last week's theme was carving up the country into a new federal order for a public essay (which incidently was considered a sensible idea last night on the BBC news) this week has been all about Billy Shakespeare! Ok, context... After a very stressful blur that was Saturday morning, by the skin of my teeth I crawled into the Finals of the Criminal Advocacy competition. This was a major deal as, when I started out I didn't expect to last past 'boot-camp,' and now I've gotten all the way through the live shows and the numerous evictions and I'm standing at the end, ready to go to real court at Lewes. This feels pretty mental for someone who's been studying law a mere 3 months! Anyway, part of the deal for the last workshop is to perform a monologue, in my case The Quality of Mercy from the Merchant of Venice! As someone who ditched English after GCSE due to its over emphasis on terrible poetry anthologies, I have not read, let alone performed any Shakespeare since I was fifteen. My greatest knowledge of this speech is either an episode of the detective drama Lewis, set around a performance of The Merchant at an Oxford college, or its use by one of the most talented advocates I have ever seen in a closing speech in a rape trial. He ad-libbed like a pro and was one of the most warm and charismatic people I have ever seen in the profession... I am a long way from emanating him! So, not to be deterred in my quest for reaching warmth and charisma akin to my advocate-idol, I enlisted expert help- that's right: thesps! My friend is an actor turned drama teacher and decided to help out given that he considered it infinitely more fun than marking any of his student's work. Apparently the whole 'enlist an actor' thing is pretty common, he's had to assist in humanising doctors when dealing with their patients and so I'm hoping he's been able to do the same with me and juries. I know it's not a popularity contest but, as I have witnessed, likeability helps! Judgement day is Monday, and I sure hope it works because I think everyone in my course reckons I've cracked, as I seem to be muttering this speech under my breath everywhere I go. Maybe I have... but I would like it known, for the record, that I held up under GDL torture conditions longer than most! Haha!

   After around 3 months of knowing one another, the GDL-ers are taking our relationship to the next level and partaking in an actual social, that's right... we're getting a table at Law Ball. Oddly enough, the first we heard about this was actually from Mary in a seminar, not sure if I've ever had a tutor that actively encouraged going out and partying before so, this was new territory. I mean, for people that want to be lawyers, our ability to collectively make a decision is shocking... it took nearly a week to decide that we wanted a table and to purchase tickets. This does not bode too well for our futures! Haha. But, as I see it, it is an excuse to put on a too tight ball gown, a pair of shoes I can hardly walk in and have someone try to tame my hair into submission, and those are always great days!

Confessions of a wannabe QC part 6



I feel as though I'm going up in the world. It's Monday evening, I'm staying late for Criminal Advocacy and, rather than a slightly sorry sounding tin of soup, this evening I got left over curry! Of course, I was worried about reheating it incase I poisoned myself, so it was cold leftover curry but still... I am taking this as a culinery victory! It is not even 5pm and I am shattered. Much as it was needed, my weekend trip back to my former home in the North has almost killed me. My liver is no longer equipped for drinking on that level ( I was introduced to the art of a 'straw-pedo' by a qualified barrister this weekend) but I was also accutely aware of feeling like the 'old bird' about town. I suppose being November and, pretty heavy on the deadlines, it makes sense that only the freshers were really out, but I felt really quite mumsy for a minute there as me and my 3 former housemates stood in the middle of the ocean dancefloor lamenting where the time had gone.

    The real reason I was up there was somewhere between networking, socialising and proving to the lot I left behind from our Bar Society that, contrary to popular belief, I hadn't died. I think they have a bet going on how many weeks it'll take for me to succumb to GDL induced death... or at least a nervous breakdown (that one's the runner up prize.) So, I proved myself... and quite smug I felt too. I was the only former committee member to attend, which, excusing those presently abroad, means I am not the most over-worked under-funned person from our generation of wannabes! I even managed to stand up rather convincingly to Nottingham's equivalent of Ant and Dec (only in legal Barrister world... not showbiz world) and was not mercilessly mocked by their smutty jokes and terrible innuendos all evening as I was at this event last year! But then, then people had to chat business didn't they? So, rule number one: I have to stop referring to anything remotely Bar-related as "scary" (eventhough it is more terrifying than an audition in front of Simon Cowell) it gives off the wrong vibe apparently. Coupled with this, I need to acquire more arrogance, but not on the level a man can get away with. Several young men that I have known through my work on the committee were mentioned in, less than complimentary terms so, I know the type to avoid. Rule three: apply for pupillage this year. That was the one I was most frightened of. I'm not putting it off deliberately, it's just... time is somewhat stretched to capacity at the moment and I'm not sure if there is space in this overloaded wardrobe for another outfit- however stunning or appealing. Pupillage applications are like the kind of dress that is incredible and you love it but, you know you're gonna have to go on atkins and stick to a rigid gym schedule just to squeeze your fat self into it. Worth it in the end but, you're gonna suffer hugely in the process. And, in the unlikely event you actually secure an interview well... that'll be like bootcamp. Not sure if I have the mental capability to process all that right now. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara: "I'll think about that tomorrow... tomorrow is another day."

Confessions of a wannabe QC part 5



Can anyone get the light switches in Freeman to work? It seems to me they only display the light all the while you're pressing down on the button and this results in me, sitting in darkened rooms, looking like something from a horror show, or someone about to top themselves. Seriously, legitimate question, if anyone has mastered this, I could use a hand! This week saw the second official deadline of the GDL and, by some fresh level of hell I am on the cusp of the first exam. Seriously, where is time going? It's always difficult with a multiple choice-r as, you don't want to underestimate the enemy, bring no ammuntion (in the form of revision) and get your arse well and truly kicked by something everyone deemed as "so simple." Yet, with a schedule as tight as mine, I have no desire to waste copius hours on something that turns out to be, precisely that simple. Decisions, decisions...

   Deadlines for scholarships and a Bar school viewing are also on the horizon which is frankly terrifying. At the moment my answer to 'the quality that make me a good candidate for the bar...' is resillience. If a cockroach can live for something like 9 days without a head, I reckon a bar student can do the same. Living off of stolen sleep and far too many microwave meals in the GDL room proves this fact, I have now been without a functioning brain for approximately 7 weeks. Nevertheless, I don't think the cockroach analogy is really what the Inner Temple was going for so, I will have to reconsider that one.

   The other worry is the speedy approach of Christmas. Now, I always knew Christmas in the conventional sense was well and truly cancelled this year due to exams and dissertation and the like, however, it is now more cancelled than ever given the fact that I've been given an (albeit awesome) work experience, which means a London commute everyday in the only slightly more relaxed week I had. If I survive to the new year, I will have done well, and I will book a holiday, somewhere far away and sunny. Until then, I have a Public seminar to prep...


PS: Is this blog starting to sound like Bridget Jones' diary? Only without the men or the cigarette counter?