On Monday I woke up at 7am (does that even exist at uni?!) and put on my white shirt, black trousers, black pointed flats and blue/green tartan blazer. Slicked my hair back and expertly applied my make up; I was ready to kill at my link day. In Leeds. An unknown yet nearby city…
So link days are set up by the UoY and I signed up for one in the first semester. I can’t even remember what I had put on the form and selected as options, but I was emailed by admin in early January which informed me that I was going to a barristers’ chambers. Parklane Plowden Chambers has offices all around the UK, including Leeds and Newcastle; they specialise in family law, personal injury and clinical negligence claims.
I had such a fab time at PPC; I met a clerk and about 5 barristers (one was a part time judge.) The barristers talked about their job requirements and demands; the younger associates informed us of the postgraduate process and pupillage.
Not only were they all very open, approachable and friendly, but the advice they gave was reassuring and practical. They reiterated that not everyone knows what they want to do at 19, and that’s ok; you can change from being a barrister to a solicitor (and vice versa) and can change the area of law you want to specialise in. According to them, after passing the bar exam and pupillage, it’s relatively easy to change within the profession.
Also, I learned that to be a barrister you’ve got to be flexible- not only in application of the law, but with time. It isn’t an occupation that is strictly 9-5 every day, they sometimes have lulls which turn to long and demanding days or weekends. And the pay isn’t always consistent in frequency or amount, as they’re they are their own boss and have a tenancy at a Chambers. But the barristers I spoke to love their job and find it to be mostly interesting and rewarding work, especially in court with an adrenaline rush (but it can be nerve wracking!)
In the afternoon, there weren’t any barristers available for us to shadow, so the five of us (Yoyo, Zac, Gertruda and Sophie) sat in Leeds Crown Court’s (court 5) public gallery. After we watched the (very short) verdict of a sexual assault, burglary and an attempted burglary (all guilty; awkward as the defendant’s girlfriend was adamant that he was not guilty and promptly angry/sad walked out after she was told off by the usher for trying to talk to the defendant) we were told that another trial would be starting. But unfortunately, there was some new evidence and communication – court was adjourned early and instead we talked to the barristers who were involved in the drugs case. They were enthusiastic to speak and inform us of the case facts; they also encouraged us to watch more Court trials back in York… something I will be doing in the near future. Watch this space;)