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


Anonymous said...


Brilliant to hear such a positive post. Glad you are enjoying it.

What is your business in (or would that give you away?)


Lost said...

Glad that you are happier now.
I think its the opposite way around for most bvc students lol

Bar Boy said...

Great news, Swiss. It has cheered me up after my latest advocacy performance. Don't know if you heard that huge bang the other day but that was me trainwrecking in my latest advocacy session. Anyway, in an effort to find the positive out of even the most horrible of disasters, I at least now know that the previously inexplicable expression on my judge tutor's face is the tutor's way of saying "wow, please do finish soon because you are so bad I simply can't take any more of more of your drivel ".

Swiss Tony said...

LG, I don't want to reveal too much just yet, but in time I am sure that it will all be out in the open. Hopefully I will have the elusive pupillage and can then show off!

Lost, certainly if you listen to BB and BM things are not so rosy, but I didn't go to BPP, so have that to be thankful for! Actually, I think my enjoyment is part relief that it isn't like the GDL, part because it suits me as a person, and partly because I enjoy BB moaning about his course so much!

BB, you shouldn't worry so much. If your performance isn't what you want it to be, how does it compare to the rest of your group? Even if it isn't the best, that's why you are doing the course, so that you can learn to do it properly.

When your tutor takes the constipated expression off her face and teaches you how to do it, and you are still crap, then the problem is you. Until that time, its hers.


Bar Boy said...

Swiss, you'll like this. I've just printed off my reading for this month; over a whole ream of paper. Laugh away, I'll get my own back at some point !

barmaid said...

Everyone knows your a male stripper anyway Swizz, so why the big secret?

I wouldn't say that I'm especially fed up with BPP. They have their faults, as I'm sure every provider does, but generally they are punctual, polite, the facilities are good, there are lots of opportunities for pro bono and internships etc. My one gripe is the workload, it's huge at this point in time and I have become a little overwhelmed by it all.

Legal Lass said...

I loved debating and think it is very useful, especially if you are slightly nervous to begin with! Good for you!


Legal Lass said...

p.s BM, the workload does ease off (or you become a bit more used to it...)after Xmas. Myself and many of my friends struggled on until the Xmas break, stretching ourselves until practically at breaking point, but then things do get better. There is some light, I promise you!

Law Minx said...

Hiya Swizz,

I am soo glad to see that you're enjoying the BVC, your post really did put a smile on my face! :)

Are you applying to chambers based on the number of blondes slated as members?!

Medically Brunette said...

i'm curious, why is BPP hindering to one wishing to study the BVC?

Swiss Tony said...

Medically Bruno, I can only speak from what BB and BM have said, and they seem to be working their fingers to the bone studying all sorts of stuff, whereas i am having a breeze.

As BPP seem to turn out more barristers than anyone else, I don't suppose they are hindering their students.