Thursday, 27 November 2008


This week, I have mostly been playing a witness in a Criminal trial for two pupils to battle it out and improve their advocacy, organised by Inner Temple.

The first trial was fascinating to me. I actually saw the things being taught in class put into use, and I took heaps of notes. Clever lines to use, how to present things, how to approach certain information.

The second trial I helped at, both pupils were blinding, and I would have been happy to have either represent me in a trial. I did wonder how I would ever get to where I am now to be as good as them, but hey ho, its all part of the process of education I suppose.

I do think that these training sessions should be compulsory for students to help out at. Not only did I gain yet another qualifying session, I also learned a lot, so double whammy for me.

If 50yr old Pupil did this training this week, I gotcha. Speaking to him afterwards, (admittedly it may not be him, but could have been judging by the grey hair and arthritic walk), we agreed that becoming a barrister is like jumping hurdles. As soon as you jump one, there is another one ahead to jump, and so it goes. GDL, BVC, Pupillage, Tenancy, successful career. It gets harder the older you get, which could be to do with the arthritis, or less get up and go, although it is tempered by maybe a greater drive to succeed. Who knows.

Anyway, I am in training for the 2012 100m hurdles.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


At the side of my blog you will notice the Feedjit Traffic Feed. I only put it there to see if anyone actually came to my blog. I had set up a traffic feed thingy previously which despite the comments I was receiving steadfastly told me that zero people visited, ever.

Imagine my surprise then at the variety of visitors. Yesterday, someone from the 'Central District' came looking for something. I know not what. I am intrigued. Where is the Central District? Is it near Birmingham, or is it one of the old USSR states? There seem to be so many. Fascinating.

Someone from Albania searching for info on the BVC. IS that for real?

Also Ireland seems to have found me in the last few days, as has the good old USofA. To be honest, I don't know if you can go to prison for breaking the GDL, but I guess your GDL is not the same as ours!

Most people tend to be searching something to do with the GDL or BVC.

Someone even searched for 'Overwhelmed by the BVC'. (Was that you again Bar Boy?)

If you visit, please feel free to email me. I did the GDL, so if you didn't get all of your questions answered, just email me. The address is up by Sid the Squirrel. The person wondering about being a mature student on the GDL, I did it. I can probably answer whatever your question may have been. I would love to help. I remember trying to find out stuff before I began the GDL, and BVC for that matter, and really struggled to find out what I wanted.

For the person searching for 'protracter', I suppose you didn't find what you were looking for. My post on 'Draughting' obviously caught your search, but if you can spell protractor correctly you would do better! Still, in the spirit of helpfulness, I have left you a picture at the top of this post.

So all you visitors, send me an email, post comments, slag me off, have a laugh. Just don't slip in, and slip out never to be heard of again.


Monday, 10 November 2008


The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, have a department that deals with business training. My illustrious Inn, Inner Temple, lay on a training session run by RADA to teach presentation, speech etc to young hopefuls. having blagged my way on the course as an old hopeful, it turned out that there were about 120 hopefuls of various ages, me not being the oldest!

Split into three sessions to teach us essential stuff, and it all looked promising.

Session 1, I was taught to say my name clearly. Essential for any pupillage interview apparently as if I am not clear they would sit wondering through the whole interview just who I was. Lets ignore the fact for one moment that the interview panel are not numbnuts, wouldn't they know who I was? Wouldn't they have written to me and invited me in for a chat? Wouldn't they have my cv in frot of them? Apparently not. They need me to say H.E.L.L.O....M.Y N.A.M.E...I.S....S.W.I.S.S......T.O.N.Y. Accompanied with a smile.

Session 2, and we did facial exercises, and lots of tongue twisters. This was actually the most fun part of the day. Quite a laugh, but I wonder just how useful it will be to me. When asked why I want to be a barrister I will be able to come out with some shite about the sixth sheiks sick sheep, or peter and his pickled pepper. Good stuff.

Session 3, I can honestly say I have no idea what it was about. Quite an eccentric guy who was pretty amusing, but I don't think anyone actually grasped what the heck he was on about or what relevence it had to anything, let alone making us better barristers. I do know that I was on my feet for over an hour and just wanted to sit down.

In its favour though, I did meet and speak to loads of other BVC'ers and found that Hearsay is unfathomable and nonsense, and that the course is alright.

I also believe that Inner temple, and full marks to them, are brilliant for laying on the activities that they do. I may not have gleaned a lot from this one, but have from others and will continue to do as many as I can.

I have been led to believe that Inner Temple is the best Inn for layong on educational activities. It has a Debating Society which I understand Middle has lost now and the others don't, and is the only one to hold the RADA sessions. (Maybe there is something in them not holding it!) I am sure others will be able to stick up for their Inns, but having picked Inner for a simple reason which has nothing at all to do with knowing what I was doing, luck seems to have favoured me. (As it did with BVC provider)

Anyway, just imagine me in a some demented way saying very slowly and very clearly, Hello, my name is Swiss..... Tony. Imagine the cheesy smile on my face. Would you give me a job? Nah.

Sunday, 2 November 2008


Before I began the GDL I was pretty confident that I wouldn't pass or get anywhere, based on a lifetime of not being particularly academic or achieveing much!

I began the first year (I did it distance learning because I run my own business which I needed to keep going) with a pretty slack attitude. It would be nice to pass but hey, lets see what happens.

I found that I did enjoy the course. That surprised me actually. Law became fascinating to me. I found the amount of work a pain, and I found that there were just too many things to cram into my little head, but I took the first years exams and passed.

That moment of illumination made me think seriously about the possibilities that lay ahead. I decided to be a Barrister rather than a solicitor. Nothing I could really put my finger on other than maybe a perception that Barrister was above Solicitor so I wanted to aim high. There were obviously other minor factors like not wanting to do a Training Contract for 2 years on crap money, when I could do one years pupillage on a decent wedge, etc.

Advocacy was something that I worried about. Standing up and speaking is not my favourite thing. I decided that I would deal with that and aim towards becoming a Barrister. It did help to have a direction to aim in.

The second years exams were so much better. Mainly because I had sorted out my exam technique, and because I had also realised that it was possible to pass.

Looking back at the GDL it was a hard slog. No other way to describe it. An immense amount of information to remember, and it was all academic. (Not my strong point) I would say that out of our group of 60 students, I was in the bottom 25%. No way was I ever going to excel at it.

I enrolled for the BVC and then panic set in. I was embarrased to tell people from the GDL that I was going for the BVC as we all knew that you had to be good, and quite frankly I was at best, below average.

I wondered just who was I trying to kid. No A levels, left home at 16, no professional qualifications, no nothing. I did have a wealth of experience both from work and Family Law which I felt would get me to the bar, but hang on, I am just not academic enough. Not bright enough. Not made from the right mould. Not the right background. Oh dear. My serious thought was that if I could do the GDL I could do the BVC, call myself a barrister and carry on running my business because I would never be offered a pupillage.

Scroll down to my posts before the BVC began and only part of my worry was exhibited!

But then the BVC began, and I have loved it. It is the most enjoyable course I have ever done. It is not academic, it is practical, and not what I expected.

I did as much research as I could before I began and the best I could find was that it is not like doing a law degree, but I found getting actual information on what the course does, how lessons work etc was difficult to find. I think Andropov the Great gave me the most information, but I was worried.

I have tried to go through the subjects as we do them to explain whats involved, and I will continue to do so, and hopefully I will continue to enjoy myself.

As for my realisation that standing up and speaking was not my strong point, you may have read my post on the LAMDA course, but I also joined my Inns Debating Society, and that has sorted the problem out. I now quite enjoy speaking to the class, and i thelps with quick thinking and thinking on your feet. I will do a post on Debating when I have something good to mention, but I have found it invaluable.

So thats that. The BVC is great