Friday, 27 March 2009

Its enough to give you a headache

Whats the big difference between studying a subject full time or part time?

Its just clicked. I know it takes me a while for obvious things to sink in, but I have realised this evening what the MAJOR disadvantage is in studying the BVC part time. I was happy go lucky until now.

Three weeks ago I was given a pile of homework to do. Admittedly, by the standards of BPP it was a teensy weensy little pile, but to me it was a mission. Lets not forget that I have a full time job to hold down, and my part time job as a strip-o-gram to fit in.

So Criminal gave us four items. Civil gave us four. Ignoring the weekends, because I don't want to study during them if I can help it, so we have fifteen evenings available.

What I usually do, is apply myself to homework between say 5pm and 7.30. Then I stop for din dins. Sometimes I do more, often I do less. I have always managed to do whats been required, I have seldom been able to do more than is required, but that has been the gist of my academic life throughout. I am desperate to change that, desperate to shine on the BVC, but its just not happening, life keeps getting in the way.

Anyway, three weeks ago I did the first session of homework, read the text books, made some notes, checked on-line a little, thought about it, worked out my plan, and job done.

The next evening I was out, but the following one I did session 2. Etc etc.

Now, the evening before the weekend of lessons, I have looked at the first piece of homework I did, and I can't remember doing it. Not one part of it is familiar, and the reason that I think I wasn't responsible for it, is because it is shite!

As my dad would say, Shite on a stick!

Mum would say that if it looks like shite, it is shite! (My parents have a way with words)

So three weeks ago I knew it, now I don't. Tomorrow I will turn up for classes, and be clueless aver something that I did know, but have forgotton.

Had I been doing this game fulltime, I would have read it tonight, gone to class tomorrow, done the business, been given the next piece to do, and how easily it would have flowed, a steady drip drip of homework and lessons, all intermingling into a simple, straightforward delight.

Biggest scare of all, is what happens at exam time? I have flicked through past work in panic to see if any of it did sink in, but its not looking good.

I have a feeling of impending doom before me.

I have a headache.

Swizzle (on a stick)

Monday, 16 March 2009

Don't like it

I am not sure that I quite like the exercise I am currently working on, and have a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I have a very strong desire to restrict my submission to a single line 'I have nothing to add your honour'

I am representing a young lad who has beaten up a gang rival in a pub fight. The other side want to bring in evidence of him having been previously arrested and convicted for being drunk, and for fighting, and for drunken fighting, and being a general tosser. They think it will convince the jury that he is a bad'un, a naughty boy that has a propensity for getting drunk and fighting.

I am arguing for the poor lad, sticking up for him because nobody else will, but he is a scumbag drunken twat. I know it has to be done, and innocent until proven guilty and all that, but he is soooo guilty that bad character evidence or not, he did it. I can smell the alcohol on his breath and I haven't even met him yet.

Give me five minutes with him in a cell, and he won't be drinking anything except through a straw, M'lud.

Criminal Law is just not for me i am afraid. Any areas of law that involve pressing pretty wild flowers and making daisy chains?

I just don't like it.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Buggered if I know what to do!

Further to my previous posting about persuading someone to my point of view in 100 words, I have been set a new challenge.

What part of legislation or area of law would I change in 750 words.

Blimey, where to begin!

There is so much that makes me angry. So many things that reduce me to a state of apoplexy. People should avoid me when I even think about some of the stoopid rules that govern this fine and beautiful land.

Trouble is that as this is for a pupillage application, and I just don’t think getting up on my soapbox, or punching people is the way forward, once again the problem becomes harder to deal with.

It needs to be well thought through, considered and eloquent. Not something I have ever been famed for doing. It also needs to be something that I am not that bothered about changing, because when I tried writing about the main antagonising issues that create a red mist across my eyes, I end up bashing the keyboard so hard the letters go all wrong.

So the real question is, what area of law am I not that bothered about, don’t give a flying fig about, but can manage to write a couple of pages about without getting too angry or shouting about.

That excludes ASBO’s. To be honest I quite like them. Mine is hanging in a frame behind my desk. It excludes the death penalty which I would introduce, especially for drivers using the phone on roundabouts. It excludes anything related to driving actually. Parking in disabled spaces is the thing that REALLY makes me mad. Speed cameras… ooh, I am getting annoyed again.

It excludes most laws that we have, but not anything in Blackstones, which are all proper laws and don’t annoy me whatsoever. Ah, so that’s where I need to begin my search. The Big Book of Law. Normal laws, find something with an edge to it, and then write about how I would change it.

Nothing too off the wall because I don’t want the pupillage committee thinking I am a nutcase. Let them find that out once they select me, but not at the interview. This needs some cunning and strategy. It needs thought, and that, I am afraid, is where I fall down.

Crickey Moses, this pupillage lark is a real nuisance.

Monday, 2 March 2009


As part of the system of qualifying as a Barrister, you have to get hold of 12 dining sessions. Its obviously vitally important to ensure that anyone that makes it to the ultimate golden towers of pupillage, knows how to eat. So over the duration of your course, one year full time, or two years part time, you have to attend the Temple and prove that you can eat.

In the scheme of things then, when compared with some of the more demanding features of the course, like standing up in front of your class and making a fool of yourself because you haven't got a clue how to present your clients best interests properly., or messing up any of the writing skills because you cannot grasp the fundamentals of Contract Law, Tort or Criminal Law, proving that you can eat is relatively simple.

12 points are required. You get one for the call night, which is the final hurdle, when you are actually made a Barrister and called to the bar. So you only need 11. Attending educational things tend to give you points, so in theory you haven't got to prove the ability to eat, but its so easy anything else seems like hard work in comparison.

You would imagine that marks would be lost for getting gravy down your shirt, or knocking over your wine glass, but its so simple to dine that just turning up, eating and leaving is all thats required. Its a cracking part of the course.

So, Swiss Tony turned up looking pretty darn smart in his best suit, shiny shoes and white shirt, tie strategically placed to hide the previous gravy stains. Hair brushed, teeth shining, healthy glow to his boyish good looks. (I know, quite a catch actually)

All students require a gown. There were racks with hundreds to choose from. Swiss spent a while looking through them and selected a nice black full length number, and became only slightly dissapointed that it clashed with every other student.

Into the big posh room for an apperatif. I didn't find any of those, but had a glass of wine instead. And catch this, waiters walking about with more wine topping you up as they go. (This actually became a problem as the evening wore on!)

Making small talk with other students, or their mums and dads, friends, wifes and husbands, civil partners, and anyone else they chose to invite, and then GOOOOONNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGG, 'Dinner is served' I looked across to where I thought a strapping semi naked man wielding a huge hammer had whacked a massive gong, and was only slightly dissapointed to see a waitress with a cow bell and a drum stick. I know times are hard, but hadn't realised that the credit crunch had reached this far.

Into the big hall. To describe it isn't easy, but its a hall, and its big.

Sit anywhere you like. This is the tricky bit. Do you head towards the good looking girlie students that will make the evening pass with an attractive edge to it, but realising that good looking students often tend to be nerdy, vacant, clueless, pretentious, idiots, or head towards the less good looking students, that often tend to be nerdy, vacant, clueless, pretentious, idiots.

(Swiss Tony would like to make it very clear at this point that all of his blogging friends do not fit into this category, although as he has never met any of them, its a moot point)

One lesson Swiss did learn, was do not sit next to groups of students from the same establishment. They will not allow you into their conversation. Admittedly, you wouldn't want to get into their conversation, and you will spend the evening thanking your lucky stars that you didn't go where they attend.

Best bit is to either sit at the end of a table so there is only a risk of sititng next to one nerdy, vacant, clueless, pretentious, idiotic student, or find someones parent to sit next to, because they at least will be nice to you. Probably thinking that you are a judge or something important.

The eating part is actually quite easy. Waiters bring you the food, you eat it, they bring you the next course, and before you know it, you have the qualifying session under your belt, in Swiss's case it joined the gravy stains.

As BarMaid found, and reported previously, the gown does enable you to swish. Best is to walk past someone and swish, or walk through a doorway, turn left, and notice that your gown is following in the slipstream so you depart the room before your presence has left with a resounding SWISH.

Dining is great, and if you take a guest its even better.

Swish Tony (See, I said that the bottomless wine glass had an effect!)