I have wanted to train as a barrister since studying the advocacy module on the LLB. I really enjoyed making the various legal submissions and arguing specific points of law and, after passing the module, I did three mini-pupillages to see what a barrister does on a day-to-day basis; I really loved the job, the people and the collegiality of Chambers.
As many will know, there are four different Inns of Court (Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Lincoln’s Inn and Gray’s Inn) and you have to be a member of one in order to train to be a barrister.
I chose Inner Temple for a number of reasons: first, because their outreach officer, Daisy Mortimer, was so helpful when I asked her questions; second, because Ivy Williams, who was the first woman called to the Bar in 1922, was a member of Inner Temple; and last, but by no means least, it is a beautiful inn set in scenic gardens and I felt a real affinity to Inner when I visited!
The process of applying for a scholarship started with me submitting a written application by November 1 2019, which required answers to a number of set questions. I needed to identify my interests and achievements at school and university and explain why I wanted to be a barrister. This application was followed by a twenty-minute interview on March 7th 2020, before three members of the Inn: one judge and two barristers.
Throughout the entire process I received full support from Leeds Law School academic staff and the University’s Careers team. I had the opportunity to have my written application checked by the Dean of the Law School, Deveral Capps, who, rather coincidentally, is also a member of the Inner Temple! Deveral has encouraged me to train to be a barrister since we spoke following a careers event in my second year; he provided some very useful information. I am also thankful for the help and the all-important reference I received from my advocacy lecturer, Sorcha McCormack, who is also a barrister.
I can honestly say I don’t think I would have got this far without the support I received from the School and from the Careers team as a whole. Fran Bostyn and Mary McFarlane were always willing to extend their support and answer each and every query I had. They checked my CV, an opportunity that is available for all students, and they don’t discriminate between any career choice, be it solicitor, barrister, legal executive or something outside of the legal field completely; I would recommend them to all students.
For me though, the most memorable and useful experience, and the one which perhaps best prepared me for my scholarship interview, was the mock interview organised by the Law School. All students were given the opportunity to have one with the Dean and an external consultant with an unrivalled knowledge of the Inns. It was fantastic and really realistic. The feedback highlighted my strengths and also gave me areas for improvement and I am so grateful to the School for arranging this. All who had mock interviews agreed it really helped them prepare for the real thing.
As I understand it, three other Leeds Law School students were successful in their scholarship interviews, making four in total, and Deveral says this is the best year we have ever had. So, to all future aspiring barristers and solicitors at Leeds Beckett and beyond, continue to work hard, the end is both achievable and near.
Maariyah Ismail, final year LLB student.