Reflecting on 4 months as a Barrister-at-Law student

becoming a barrister diaries December 2022 books on shelves neatly stacked against each other plant leaning on top of books

Dear Diary…. let’s talk.

Would you believe that 4 months have passed since starting the Modular course? No, I still can’t. A lot has happened in that time – from getting involved in mooting, undergoing advocacy exercises, learning (but not perfectly learned) about time management whilst working a full-time job, and of course – dining.

Table of Contents:

Let’s start with mooting.

I am a total newbie when it comes to any kind of advocacy work. You’ll know from my Instagram updates that I find it difficult to advocate on the spot but it is a skill that can be learned with time and practice. (Emphasis on the practice – which I really need to do ..) The perspective that I had going into my first-ever mooting competition (the Maidens’ Moot held in October every year) was simply to participate, irrespective of what Round I ended up in. The experience was what I sought. Mooting was a lot more fun than I expected. It’s more so nerve-wracking than it actually being a difficult exercise to do. But I underestimated how much time I needed to prepare.

I recall the practice round – it was nice to give it a go and see how it actually proceeds. One thing that stood out to me (and probably everyone else) was timing – because we have 8 minutes for submissions and 2 minutes to reply to your opponent’s arguments. When you are dealing with heavy constitutional matters, it is a lot to learn and absorb; let alone to try and come up with sound + logical submissions. I vividly remember Round 1 and thought that there is no way that I would proceed to the next round. It was over Zoom and I distinctly remember thinking:

“Is my mic on?”

“Can they hear me?”

“Am I buffering?”

“Is my screen frozen on an unflattering image of me mid-delivery of my submissions?”.

With all of this in mind, and to be totally honest, I wasn’t quick with my reply, I was very nervous and prepared not to get through to the next round. Until I got the email.

I made it to Round 2.

“Did. I. Just…… OK. I just did”.

In all seriousness, I was elated! I couldn’t believe that I had somehow made it through to the next round. Now to cut matter short – I didn’t progress past Round 2 (this was highly expected) but hey, let it be known that I didn’t even think of getting past the first round. I was more than thrilled to have got that far :).

Advocacy will take time…. in my case.

This was a total shock to my system. I’m not used to advocacy. Does anyone else shrivel up at the mere thought of standing up/speaking in front of their peers about a topic they just learned 2 nights before? Give me an Instagram account and ask me to talk about my day and I’ll have no issues. But 8 minutes to deliver a Plea In Mitigation?! Erm…. I’m good. But on a serious note, the more advocacy exercises you do, the easier it seems to get.

a new cup of coffee was needed as I was about to enter my next advocacy session

I won’t say that I feel confident in my advocacy skills (yet) because I certainly have a long way to go. I noticed that I have certain habits that I need to work on. Habits such as talking with my hands when speaking and saying ‘erm‘ and ‘like‘ in between sentences. But hey, it’s only been 4 months, with time (and months of practise) I’ll get there.

When it came to one of our negotiation weekend, it was SO much fun. Negotiating is a skill but I found it easier to navigate, learn and figure out what style I would adopt. However, I was shocked to discover – there are some mathematical calculations involved. I’ll say no more than that.

Let’s talk about dining

As part of this course – it is mandatory to attend 10 dining nights throughout your time on the BL course across the 2 years. I have attended 2 so far both with different experiences. On my very first dining night, I was fairly nervous and unsure of what to expect. It was my first Bencher Night meaning that a member of the Judiciary would be sitting at the table with us – except you wouldn’t know who. At my table was a now-retired Supreme Court Judge, so I was on my very best behaviour – no wine for the duration of the dining in my case.

On my second night, I attended an Ordinary Dining night and different Barristers (practicing and non-practicing) satat our table and offered their insights and tips and share their experiences as Barristers. It was eye-opening to learn how different Barristers got through the course and offered unique tips on things that I never would have thought were relevant. For example, doing your taxes in your first year even if you do not earn anything as a year 1 devil.

It is now the Christmas holidays and about to ring in 2023 – a new year and longer term as we will now be attending classes in person. I am intrigued by what else this course will bring (which means resuming 5.20am mornings for me…. *sigh*)

Final submissions:

If anything I’ve written here has piqued your interested in becoming a Barrister or you’re keen to pursue this route – check out my blog post on how to become a Barrister here. It’ll give you an insight into the exams, study tips and more.

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 diary entry,



Featured image designed on Canva.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *