Right…. let’s talk. So – we’re starting the Barrister-at-Law course as a student. Yeah – it’s really happening…
If you’ve wondered or been interested in what it’s like to study the Barrister-at-Law Degree Programme on a part-time basis, you are in the right place. From navigating time management to conducting a 3 min speech on a random topic of your choice, a lot takes place in the first month of the programme. As always, I’m here to share my journey with you in this new diary series I’m calling the “Becoming-a-Barrister Dairies”. I will [aim] to document my experience as often as needs be. at the moment, it will prpbably be on a monthly basis unless I am able to do it more frequently. The highs and lows and everything else in between will be explored. But remember, this is just between you and I. This is my diary and I’m only allowing you to read it…
Table of Contents:
So, why start a diary?
Well, since I began sharing and documenting my legal journey on Instagram and my website, I have received many requests to share more and more. I hardly saw anyone sharing their experience as a BL student. I am happy documenting my journey but as I am repeatedly told:
“Thank you for sharing your legal journey, I’m very interested in it”
It made me wonder. How can I document this in a way that is accessible for all? Especially, since not everyone uses Instagram or social media at all. Hence the “Becoming-a-Barrister Diaries” on my website.
I am hoping that by doing this I can see my own growth and be able to reflect back on my early training days. I am sure that one day I’ll reflect and think “Oh, wow, I really did not know how to advocate back then…”
Right, let’s get a move on. It’s the very first day…
It was 9 am on the 26th of September 2022 on a slightly breezy Monday morning. At this point, it still hadn’t sunk in that I was about to start my very first day as a BL student. Working in the Courts Service (as a JA) meant that a handful of my colleagues were starting the course with me and so, it didn’t truly feel like we were starting such a big course like this together. It felt like a day out – we just happened to be meeting in the same place (!).
We all go through the main black doors at the front of the building and I’m met by a line of strangers, most of whom I’d never met before. I quickly notice the range of people in the line – some appeared to be my age, some older and middle-aged. If anything, this taught me that it really is never too late to pursue your dreams. 👏🏽 I join the queue to sign in. No more than 5 minutes later, I am at the top of the queue and greeted by 3 staff members – I obtain my student card in an envelope, a schedule of the day ahead and proceed to the Dining Hall where I find a group of JA’s sitting together – I join the crowd and wait until the induction begins.
What did we actually do at Induction?
10.15am arrives and we are well and truly into our introductory talks. We have received our students cards in envelopes and have heard from various notable personnel. This included a member of the Supreme Court, and a welcome address from the incoming Chair of the Bar Council [Sara Phelan SC, 2nd ever Chair to be a woman, we *absolutely* love to see women in higher-up positions]. Prizes were also handed out to those who did superbly in the Entrance Exams. (Of course, I was not included in this superb bunch.)
Throughout the rest of the day, we attend a variety of talks – ranging from IT to library services to study tips from a recent graduate of this course. It was really helpful and you can check it out on the King’s Inns website here). There are an array of activities and social events available at our disposal. At this point, it still hadn’t sunk in that I was about to start this programme.
Then, we were instructed to set up our online accounts. This is when reality began to sink in.
We received an email directing us to set up our Moodle accounts via usernames and passwords. Moodle is the main platform we would use to access materials prior to weekend classes, upload assignments and homework pieces as well as access online databases. It was quite a productive morning!
By now, I’m starting to get hungry…
At approx. 12.30pm it is lunch break & I opt to visit the local cafe known as Blas with fellow colleagues. As you can see below, it was SO good – the soup was to die for and I will never forget it. For the rest of the afternoon, we meet our fellow classmates whom we’ll be spending Year 1 with. We did a quick exercise to get to know everyone. I did not expect to give a quick 2 min speech on why marriage is a legal contract but here we go. (I don’t know how but between you and me: my argument essentially compared marriage to coffee; the warmth & transaction-like qualities that they both possess… clearly, I’m gonna need a lot of help with advocacy…) At this point, reality had sunk in.
I’m not sure what the rest of the months and the year will bring but you can be sure that I will be sharing it with you right here. If you’re intrigued by what a Barrister is or how to become one – check out this post.
Got some questions? You’ll find me yapping away on my Instagram @itsjanetyennusick so don’t be shy, come and say hi.
Until the next diary entry,
Slán go foill!
Featured image designed on Canva.