Barrister-Diaries: 6 months as a Barrister-at-Law student

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Dear diary – I’m back. Let’s get into it.

I can’t believe that I’m 6 months into the BL course. I am siting the mock exams next month. Time is flying by and even though I am not noticing it but we are well over 50% through the course. I have to say that despite the intensity of the BL course, which this month certainly was, I feel like I am starting to settle into a routine.

The fact that the exams are right around the corner is a tiny bit frightening – I’m pretty sure I just started this course a few month ago!!… oh wait…

Table of Contents:

I’ve gone dining a few times…

I attended my 3rd dining night this month and it was a Bencher night. I want to attend a mixture of different dining nights that includes bencher nights, ordinary dining nights and student only nights – to get a full, well rounded and broad experience overall.

On this occasion, once again I sat with Full-time students and with a member of the judiciary. We had a wonderful time, full of laughter, chats about our individual lives, insights and learning from one another and from a notable judge too. I came out of this night feeling reassured about pursuing a career at the Bar. Yes, it is daunting, it is scary and with it being a self employed profession, you can’t help but wonder if you will make it. But at the end of the dining, the sentiment that was echoed was to go for it anyway – because what is the worst that can happen?

It made me feel confident and empowered to progress with the course. And to remember to be open to learning, to new opportunities and new challenges. Ultimately that is what’s going to make you.. you and enrich your experience as a Barrister and also your practise.

It was a really lovely and memorable evening.

So – how’s the advocacy going?

Let – me – tell – you !

When the acting-judge/tutor is staring at you in the face, and interrupting you mid-submissions – you are shell shocked. I had gotten to used to relying on my laptop where all of my notes and points were. I vividly remember being interrupted and thinking, what do I do? How do I act? What do I say? How do I say it? What am I doing? Wait – what AM I doing??

The mental battle going on in my head immediately when I heard the words:

“I hear you Counsel but can you explain to me why ....?”

“Counsel can you refer me to X…”?

“Counsel, why do you think that…?”

You’re certainly sick of me saying this by now but this is part of the experience of the course! At some stage, I was going to be interrupted mid-delivery of my submissions: of course!

The consistent feedback that I have received is to take a deep breath before answering the question. I will admit, I have a tendency to fumble my words. I need to breathe, think, answer and then speak.

That – and also to speak a little slower. Definitely.

Mock exams are coming up pretty soon….

Yes, the mock exams begin early next month and for the first time in a long time, I am feeling quite relaxed and reassured about them. I’m normally fretting and hyper-studying and knee-deep in panic-mode. But I think because they are mock exams, I’m feeling really relaxed and will give them my best shot. I imagine next year when we’re doing the actual final exams – I’ll be speaking a different language and tone. I’ll talk about the mock exams in my next diary entry and delve deeper into them…

Final ‘submissions’:

So this is all I have to report about the BL course, for now as I focus on getting ready for the mock exams! If anything I’ve written here has piqued your interested in becoming a Barrister – I would recommend that you have a look at my Becoming-a-Barrister Diary series as I am documenting my experience as a BL student (as you’ve read already) – click here !

If you’d like to follow me in real-time, you’ll find me on Instagram @itsjanetyennusick – do come and say hi.

Until the next entry,

Janet.

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