Starting Year 2 of the Barrister-at-Law Degree Programme [Part-Time]

Starting Year 2 of the Barrister-at-Law Degree Programme [Part-Time]

Dear diary, we are back for year 2 (aka the final year of the BL Degree programme aka the BIG year). Let’s get into it and unpack.

So, for the first weekend back to the Inns of year 2, Saturday was a Motions Day and then Sunday we were tasked with preparing for a Civil Trial (a Personal Injuries trial).

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I must say from the outset, that the Motions Day was surprisingly a lot more interactive and productive than I had anticipated.

You’re probably wondering: “what.. on earth… are you talking about?!”

Everyone was tasked with preparing for different motions from Year 1. We were each assigned a total of 3x motions – 1x ex parte motion (you’ll do this on your own), 2x inter partes motions (one short contested motion and one long contested where you’ll likely argue against another student). The idea behind this day is to mimic a Monday motions list which, if you haven’t attended Monday lists in the Four Courts before, can be quite chaotic and busy and where you’ll spend most of your time as a Devil.

I think the fact that we have all ran these motions before in Year 1 in some shape or form made the preparation for this day a lot easier. I was honestly nervous but I had ran these motions before or watched someone in class last year run them so that offered some form of comfort. Don’t get me wrong – the prep beforehand was lethal but everyone got through it and it was doable on the day.

What can I actually say about the day? It was SO fine. There is a strong rush of adrenaline that fuels you if you’re the very first person in the list (in my case, I was number 1 for one of my motions) but as soon as you’ve moved your first motion, it takes a lot of the pressure off of you. I am glad I was first because then I got the nerves out of the way and moved on. Like I said, you would have ran these motions before in class or watched someone else move them. Technically, the substances and facts are nothing new. We’ve seen them before. This isn’t something that we haven’t done before and that is something that you have to remind yourself of – that you can do it.

You might be wondering – How did I get on myself? Grand! I was granted the Orders I was seeking for 2x of my motions, I collaborated with Counsel in my final motion and reached an agreement that worked for us both. This accurately mimics what would would and could happen on a Monday motions list!

Overall, it was a fun day. I went to a new place for lunch called “Little Dumpling” with some of my friends from my modular group from last year (btw, their dumplings were quite yummy!).

To be perfectly honest with you – I kind of wish we had more practice runs like this. I felt a new sense of confidence in myself and my advocacy post-Motions. That, and knowing your case in and out and what you are looking for. Onto the second day of year 2 of the Modular programme:

Sunday was Civil Trial day and out of the 2 days this weekend, I was most worried about this day. Truth be told, I had left my preparation for this day til the last minute and that is a result of terrible time management but hey, we move. It was a Personal Injury trial – there were witnesses, we had to conduct an examination-in-chief, and cross-examine the witnesses, we had to prep for opening & closing speeches, collaborate with fellow classmates, and strategise and find our strengths and weaknesses in our case.

My task was (i) to act as a witness and (ii) to cross-examine. Acting as one of the witnesses was fine – being cross-examined is not so fun but that was part of the game! Cross-examining a witness is not as easy as it sounds – yes, you can ask whatever you want – but there must be a reason why you’re asking these specific questions. I found this quite tough and surprising because witness handling is not as easy as it looks. You need to know what you are doing, and why you are doing it and have an objective in the back of your mind. With practice, it will get easier (but when will that be, I do not know).

This is all I have to report about the BL course, for now as I focus on getting ready for what the rest of year 2 will bring! 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 want more real-time updates, I recommend that you check out my Instagram as I document my experience there. I’m most active there. If you haven’t connected with me yet, here’s my Instagram! Don’t be shy – come and say hi! You’ll find me yapping away there ✨🧠👩🏽‍🎓📚☕️📸💭

Stay tuned for the next diary entry, see you until then:

Janet.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors (Janet A. Yennusick) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion, statement, policy or King's Inns nor any institution/company/business mentioned in the above post.

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