Sunday, 30 March 2008

My Week.

What a great week it was! We British were conquered by the French and felt good about it! A very unusual situation, non?! Whilst Beckham and the boys were getting beat at the Stade de France, Monsieur and Madame Sarkozy enjoyed a kiss and a cuddle at Windsor castle (and a few other public places).

I have to say though: I watched highlights of the England match and I thought France were lucky and that England, on the whole, performed rather well. As is customary after the England team lose a match, the national press go after the manager (for no other reason than he’s the manager) or the manager (because he used the wrong players). Well I can’t find fault in Capello to be honest. I think he’s doing his best to learn about English football and England’s players. Any lack of effective preparation that may have been demonstrated during the match, for me was only because there was not enough time for the team to train together as a whole. Some parts of the press chose now (out of all times) to bring up the language barrier that prevents Capello from effectively communicating with his team. A load of tosh if you ask me.

In an earlier entry on this blawg, I listed some important tasks that I wanted to complete before the end of the holidays. Revision hasn’t gotten off to a fantastic start which is quite disconcerting as I am now (officially) half way through my Easter break.

With respect to my dissertation, on the other hand, there is good news and there is bad. The good news is that I am feeling quite confident about the arguments that I am making and am pleased with how my dissertation could shape up. The bad news is there is very little of that feeling on paper – which is what matters. I received some comments from my tutor from an earlier draft that I had written of quite a substantial section of my dissertation and, on the whole, they were very positive. Some parts of it were ‘excellent’ (hurray!) other parts of it were….well…..lacklustre.

In other bad news: I am actually pretty ill at the moment. I haven’t been able to get an appointment with my doctor until late next week (by which time I’ll be able to tell you what it feels like to ‘hang’ with your GP because I’ll have recovered by then). A lack of medicine therefore may prevent me from adequately being able to perform my work. Although, more likely, I will ‘rough it out’ which will make it more painful and tiring.

Oh…by the way…I can confirm that I have been successful in gaining my first mini-pupillage (hurray!). This will take place during the summer. With this under my belt, I am considering applying further-a-field. Whilst the chambers that I am considering are geographically less convenient, I am adopting the: ‘what the hell, I’ll bunk on the streets’ mindset – something which Legal Lass says is very important for all pre-BVC students.

Earlier this week, in an entry on this blog, I argued that the American news outlets should go after Clinton for ‘misspeaking’ about the brief period that she spent in war-torn Bosnia as First-lady. My prayers have been answered. The following clip on YouTube has been played endlessly on the news networks in America:

During the course of this week, there have been growing calls for Clinton to step aside and let Obama go on to win the Democratic nomination. She hasn’t and probably won’t. But to top it all off: Obama is adopting the ‘bring it on’ approach and has actually called for her not to step aside. Good on you Obama – kick some Clinton ass!

Elsewhere, my university has confirmed when my graduation ceremony is due to take place. Before university, graduation seemed like such an important landmark in time. It seemed like a time that would mark the end of my official education years. And, it seemed like a big deal – an opportunity to party. To be perfectly honest: I feel quite deceived and not in the mood to party. I feel that just as I am getting to grips with something (the law) it doesn’t seem worthwhile anymore. My family has really been looking forward to my graduation. All of them want to attend – that means 5 people in total. However, I have had to inform some of them that this may not be possible because of university regulations that limit the number of people who can attend. Obviously, parents are to be given priority over siblings who have less valid reasons for wanting to attend!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

The Apprentice: Solicitors 2, Barristers 0

As someone who has wondered what it would be like for a lawyer to appear on the BBC's 'Apprentice' and has pondered on how long they would last in the boardroom with Sir Alan Sugar (SAS), last night's start to the latest series was very interesting indeed for me.

What made it even better for me, was the fact that he was a trainee barrister! Hurrah for another source of information from which I will be able to decide whether I want to pursue a career as a barrister!

At the begninning of the show after SAS set the task, I immediately thought: the mens team was going to lose. I thought the women would be better prepared to deal with fish and that they would be better sales assistants. And so it dawned: it was becoming increasingly likely that young barrister Nicholas would have to be involved in a confrontation with SAS in the boardroom. Yes! An opportunity to see him use his strong arguing and negotiating skills and, dare I say, perhaps the odd reference to a court convention on dealing with cases.

Well, we got something very different and unforseen, didn't we?

On the positive side:

- after young Nicholas was fired, he made that reference to the fact that if he was defending himslef in court, he would have applied to the court to have the case struck out on the basis that there was no case to answer Yeeesss!

- in a rather hap-hazard fashion, he tried to rely on precedent, didn't he?!
'Sir Alan [Your Lordship], are you aware of the case: Shilpa Shetty v. Big Brother & Jade Goody [2007]? As your Lordship will be able to observe, the claimant in that case was successful in claiming racial harassment against the reality TV show 'Big Brother' and another contestant in it. This can be likened to the present case in which the claimant who is considerably more clever than the yourself and of course his fellow contestants (your Lordship will appreciate my almost perfect academic record - forget anomalous 'B' in GCSE French, the teacher sucked) is similarly being discriminated againist, comprendez?

On the negative side:

- he had the people skills of a stuffed animal

- you can tell that this was a person who has spent a huge part of his life trying to be someone that he isn't

- he uses his, otherwise highly commendable, academic achievements to disguise the fact that he knows and can do considerably less than he says he knows and can do

You know, I'm not entirely convinced that this guy is a trainee barrister. I think he is a con-artist. Quite literally! His website suggests that he is a very talented artist. I think he faked his C.V. to get on the Apprentice and was hoping for a crash-and-burn exit so that he could attract more people to his art exhibitions when they would subsequently try searching for him on the internet.

Anyway, that makes it Solicitors 1 Barristers 0, so far. A Nicholas own-goal if you will.

The best negotiating that I saw last night was when half of the men's team visited a solicitor firm and tried to sell fish there. I thought the solicitor was very good at being clear of the price that we was willing to purchase the fish at. And I loved how he just grabbed hold of his oppoent's hand and started fiercely pumping it whilst telling him the terms of their agreement: '£50, do you hear me? £50 for the whole lot! Not £120. Not £100. Just £50! Do we have a deal? GOOD!'

So there we have it: Solicitors 2 Barristers 0.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

What does it mean to 'misspeak'?

In the next news cycle of the Dems in disarray across the pond, Clinton is being criticised for her comments in reference to a trip to Bosnia she made whilst first lady.

Presumably to promote her commander-in-chief credentials she wanted everyone to know about how brave she was in visiting a war environment. She claimed that her plane was under fire as soon as it landed and after a series of heroic moves she was able to rescue herself without mishap.

In her defence - and still banging on about her commander-in-chief credentials - she then wanted everyone to know that she was the first first-lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to visit the front line of a war. Now, personally, I don't see what there is to boast about.

Anyway, the BBC has a very funny news article on what it means to 'misspeak' - Clinton is now saying she was misspeaking with respect to the remarks she made about her time in Bosnia. The article is seeking to determine whether she is trying to cover-up an important news story that says something significant about how responsible and honest she is; or whether she is admitting to a genuine mistake.

I think the obvious point to make is that she was trying to deceive the electorate with her initial account. I really don't think that there is any doubt about that.

The problem is though: if now whe is trying to cover up what she said then that makes matters significantly worse. Doesn't it? Shouldn't it? I point this out because I don't believe that enough has been said on this point by political commentators (especially in the USA) and I find this quite surprising.

Recently they (political commentators) have been going after Obama and demanding to know more about his relationship with the pastor Jeremiah Wright. It seems to me though that more was made out of that story than should have been. The crucial question, that political commentators want answering, is whether Obama knew Pastor Wright to speak such things about America and society whilst he was part of his Chicago congregation. I don't think that is the important question though and I am surprised that, redundant as they may be, more arguments in favour of free-speech have not been made. This is an election year - what poltical commentators and through them the American electorate should really want answering is 'What would President Obama do to help solve the strong racial divisions or class divisions that are still persistent in modern day America?' and 'Will it really take a black president to allow equal opportunities to America' black community in times when they are in need of it (such as in the aftermath of hurricane katrina) and times when they are not?'

I've read a couple of times (and watched a couple of times too) Obama's 'speech on race' last week. And, I have to say that I thought that the way in which he tackled the Jeremiah Wright controversy and the way in which he delivered such an emotionally-charged speech so calmly was absolutely formidable. And, importantly, presidential. Even the best politicians, during debates and arguments, simply go for the easy laugh (to get that all-important soundbite in, in time for the six o'clock news); the easy answer (because they don't want to get bogged-down in specifics for fear that they won't be understood); and the answer that absolves them of all responsibility.

I think Obama should be praised for rising to this debate on race despite its obnoxious foundations in controversy. There have been, amongst others, black and Latino political candidates - albeit for lesser executive positions - that have backed down from speaking about issues such as race by hiding behind the defence that its unimportant and that they don't want the electorate to just see them as black candidate or a brown candidate. For me, these are all important issues that belong at the heart of the election.

The point that I am trying to make is that Clinton too has generally maintained a high-standard of debating and arguing in this election, like Obama. But this just goes further to suggesting that she was trying to cover-up the fact that she lied about her experiences in Bosnia. At several points in this campaign, Clinton has accused Obama of being less than candour about his policies and his voting record. Whilst some of these attacks are arguably warranted, there is a lot now to be said about Clinton's own poor standards.

Everything seems to be done so informally in America. It really makes us British look so posh and grand! The way that American newsreaders literally just say what is on their mind to whom ever they are interviewing; the way politician's speeches are littered with slang and chants rather than specific and tidy policy ideas. This is why I found this BBC news article so funny. I mean: look at the way the writer goes so formalistic and produces arguments and evidence from precedents, dictionaries and experts! I was watching Fox news the other day and the news readers was talking to a reporter. Behind the reporter, a press conference was going on but the field of view was obstructed by a man on his phone. The news reader points this out to the reporter and adds: 'People, can you believe this guy on the phone; reporter can't you break his legs to get him out of the way?!' I wonder what would happen to Jeremy Thompson if he was to say something like that whilst live.

Anyway, whichever way you look at it: Clinton has done wrong and more she be said about it by the press and not only because it amuses me; but because its right too.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Mini-pupillage application

Yesterday I returned (potentially) triumphant from an interview & assessment at a city law firm. Today I submitted my first mini-pupillage application.

I need to go into detail about just how confused I am about my career direction. Having for a long time thought that I would enjoy being a commercial solicitor, I am now thinking otherwise. It seems to me that most of the things that I enjoy about the law are things that I would have more opportunities to experience as a barrister. Previously, I believe, i have been over-stretching my imagination of the nature of a solicitor's work in an attempt to accomodate the things that I want as part of my career.

A lot of my current C.V. is geared towards the solicitor route but hopefully the ammendments that I have made to draw attention to my public-speaking activities and participation in the university mooting competition etc will be of some help. In addition, I spent a while thinking about the wording of my covering letter so that I was not completely ignorant of the aforementioned deficiency but also had valid reasons for wanting to complete a mini-pupillage. I sincerely hope it does the trick.

I still don't know for sure though that I want to be a barrister. If I am successful in obtaining a mini-pupillage hopefully that will be of assistance to me. I think the opportunity to shadow a barrister for a week and really understand how they go about their work will be a useful experience for me. At the moment, all I know is what I have read and although much of it appeals to me it still seems incomplete.

Now, I think I will research other opportunities at other chambers so as to increase my likelihood of success in obtaining a mini-pupillage too.

I have applied to a chambers which is geographically convenient and whose specialist areas interest me. I have specified the dates in which I hope to complete a mini-pupillage but I have no idea when (or if!) I will hear back.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Vacation Scheme Interview & Assessment

Today I was in London for an interview & assessment for a vacation scheme with a major city law firm.

By the way, 'today' is Monday; not Saturday as my blog actually suggests. I am having some problems with the date & time settings on my blog.

As is typically involved with such things there were various parts to the selection procedure - I had an interview; gave a pre-prepared presentation; sat a verbal reasoning test and took part in a group exercise with 7 other candidates.

Having undertaken similar forms of assessment in the past, I felt that I was better prepared to perform well on the day. Its amazing though how once you get into an interview or assessment situation that you forget about all the things that had calmed you down previously. Rather than being calmed and relaxed, I felt rushed.

The presentation that I delivered was not done so well unfortunately. I fear that I came across as being unclear and confused at times. The points that I was making did answer the questions I was set quite well at least that is the impression I got from the interviewer. There were a couple of times when I had to provide additional examples and explain things further because they were unclear. I felt though that I was able to think well on my feet. So, no problem there.

The problem with my presentation was in its organisation and the fact that it exceeded the allocated time. I didn't immediately begin by getting to the question and answering it. Instead, I set the scene for too long and this was easy to detect because I didn't say any of the key words in the questions until about 60% of the way through the presentation. All this was a direct result of having only finished preparing the presentation in the morning though.

Nothing much to say about the verbal reasoning test. I had sat similar tests in the past and had done pretty well on them. Hopefully the same was the case this time.

I very much enjoyed the the company of the other candidates. They were all talented individuals: interesting, experienced and a pleasure to speak to. They were also high-achievers in the courses they were studying on. There was less of the: 'Oh, yeah, I am behind with my dissertation too - its such a drag, isn't it?' and more of the 'I'm not too pleased with my 65% in Company Law; its out of place with respect to my results; Contract Law, for instance, I got 77% and won the academic prize for the highest-scorer in my year'.

The group exercise was solely based on a commercial issue with no legal analysis required. We performed really bad as a group though. We didn't approach our task in an organised manner and our conclusions were questionable. Fundamentally though, we didn't work well as a group which was what was being tested. We didn't try to listen to each other and compromise; instead, we enjoyed opportunities to pick holes in each other's ideas.

Still, in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Speaking to current trainees at the firm afterwards helped confirms some of the things that I do and don't like about the nature of their work. The trainees seemed to enjoy the fact that they were able to drag themselves through their law degrees (mostly at top-10 universities) and found comfort in the fact that they didn't have to employ their legal knowledge as part of their work. Instead, because of the client-centred approach (which they seem to make far too much of a deal about) they can hide what they don't know about the law (a direct result of never having to maintain it after studying law through trips to the law library) with the defence that they don't want to use too much legal jargon so that the client doesn't understand them.

I'd really relish the opportunity to have to research difficult areas of the law and understand them before I could discharge the obligations due to whomever. If I have gotten things wrong as part of my work - I'd like to know that I was the one who made the slip-up so that I could take responsibility and learn for the future. I get the feeling that in working on large commercial transactions as part of a huge team (and often around the globe) there is very little that you can say you contributed by yourself. As a result, solicitors, I feel, don't get that feeling of satisfaction of having achieved something substantive.

Accordingly, the day was useful in giving me food-for-thought as regards my future career. I do not feel that I would be comfortable working at the firm that I was assessed at and like I say, I think that for many reasons.

Afterwards on my journey back home, I was thinking about how to approach my Trusts law revision. Its actually something I have been thinking about for a while now. The problem that I am having is that I literally do not know where to start! Its not that I don't understand particular parts; I am just trying to find a nice area to begin my revision. I have looked at past exam papers - especially last year's - and I feel that I could tackle them with equal success. Of course, revision is about raising my knowledge and thoughtfulness; but that still doesn't answer my question! After much though, I have decided though that I am going to start half-way through the syllabus as that is an area that I feel least comfortable with - the 'Beneficiary principle' and non-charitable purpose trusts it is then!

Monday, 17 March 2008


Well my 'holidays' have well and truly gotten under way. I write 'holidays' although, as it to expected at the stage at which I am at, this is probably the opposite to what it actually is: 'A period in which I need to to work my ass off revising for my final exams'. I shall continue to use 'holidays' as a shorthand though.

I am somewhat on top of my work: well on with writing my dissertation but not so far on as to have begun any revision yet. Aside from my law studies, I have been reading and watching news quite avidly. Its amazing how interesting, uninteresting stories become, when the mind wanders.

The Dems in disarray across the pond has been rather fascinating. Listening to all those various black preachers talk about issues they think a lot about (but know little about) and how this has disrupted the presidential campaign. Good could have come out of it - and it has to an extent - Barack Obama is able to talk about the important issue of race because now he has a problem to solve. Whether he did it well or not is yet to be determined. Overall, I thought his speech was fantastic; especially, its delvierance - on such an emotionally-charged issue it would have been easy to launch into rhetoric whilst paying lip-service to political correctness. I'm glad that he didn't do that. I'm glad that he made mistakes - even the best do. I'm not too glad about his answers to subsequent questions put to him however. I listened to a radio show he talked on and his answers lacked the precision and thoughtfulness that he had diplayed up until then.

The media coverage of all this - the primaries in the US - has been quite varied. Obviously, American news channels are the place to go: CNN international and Fox news. I was watching Sky News the day after what is now knows as 'Super Tuesday II' - when Ohio and Texas voted. Jeremy Thompson was live in Washington. What happens next? He goes live to an Amercian reporter in the LONDON studio. Hahaha...Sky News does make me laugh like that. I mean, whilst I appreciate 24hr news services with their ability to deliver 'breaking news', did Sky News really need to follow Blair (in the air and on the roads) when he made that journey from London to his Sedgefield constituency to announce that he was stepping down as PM? I don't think so. Its not even as if its second best to getting an interview with him on this 'historic' day - its much less than that.

Here is a complete list of things that I need to do in my 'holidays':

- prepare for an assessment for a summer vacation scheme at a city law firm
- send off a mini-pupillage application (yes, I am undecided on my career choice)
- complete my dissertation prior to my next scheduled meeting
- revise, as much as possible, for the 4 final exams of my undergrad degree
- practice answering exam questions under exam conditions
- think critically about what I should do next: LPC, BVC, LLM??

There's probably more but I can't think right now because I feel sick...

Happy Easter to all my blogreaders!

Friday, 14 March 2008

The worthy cause not the worthy self.

I need not express again, blogreader, my love for Employment Law. For the present at least, it has no boundaries.

Recently I have been looking at the Working Time Regulations 1998. There has not been much written about their use in the UK. Well, not to my knowledge anyway; which is quite surprising I think when you consider the importance of the provisions contained within them. Most importantly, there is the limit on the maximum number of hours in the working week, which is set at 48 hours. In addition, the regulations provide for various entitlements to breaks on a daily, weekly and annual basis.

The regulations, I have found, can be criticised on many levels. There are some poorly defined and unspecific exceptions which are often used as a defence by employers. Elsewhere, employers have attempted to circumnavigate some important requirements through changing the procedure by which they pay their workers.

All very interesting and I could go on and on.

There is an important point that I wish to make though. I have been drawn to thinking about practising law in this area and how an area like the 1999 regulations provide a fertile area for lawyers to thrive and do interesting work. However, the more I think about it, the more I don't like admitting to that. In short, what I mean is: I should value the regulations more for the positive effect they have on workers' work-family lives and on providing them a safe environment in which to work. Not, on the other hand, for producing uncertainty and scope for lawyers to get more work.

This point may come across with a rather fine edge; however, I should warn you that it is as a result of reading some harsh accounts of employment conditions in modern Britain.

As I understand it - and I may be wrong on this - but many large law firms require their new trainees to exempt themselves from the application of the regulations. In particular, this 48-hour maximum weekly working limit. For me at least, the usefulness of the regulations means more because of the idea of working for so long - not getting enough rest and suffering from a work-induced illness as result.

No, blogreader, whilst I may have (ironically) worked in excess of the 48hr-limit this week when studying the regulations*, I am not interested in becoming a casualty of its mis-application! And, if I am ever required to sign my rights aways, I will pause and think...

*I've checked but I don't think I can find a loophole in the regulations to bring a claim for breach against anybody. Shame.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The tax cut that never was, the election that never was….

...and now...the meeting that never was…

I never thought the day would come dearest blogreader, when my actions or inactions as part of my degree, could draw valid parallels with the same for politicians.

Throughout this week, Alistair Darling had been taunted by the press and members of the opposition party over the content of the budget which he delivered today. He must have absolutely been dreading today! What do you suppose his first thought was when he awoke this morning? Let me, blogreader, offer a possible answer. I believe that I can be of much assistance in this regard because, for once (dare I say), I know EXACTLY what he feels like.

When I awoke this morning – to the sound of my alarm clock – I stirred around a bit just to get by bearings and collect my thoughts. Then, I thought ‘Ah, Wednesday that means after I get through you, I have two more days of this god-forsaken week to get through, before my holidays officially commence.’ When I actually came to think what my first movement should be, it hit me. Its really quite a unique feeling because, at the time of day and in that place (where suddenly your pillows don’t feel so snug), its really not the kind of situation in which you expect to feel so vulnerable.

An important distinction can be drawn though (and would have been drawn would I have been writing this blog under different circumstances in which I was on top of things) and that is Darling's fear of making a typical House of Commons grand gesture – in a budget speech this usually manifests itself as a tax cut of sorts – because of the negative press surrounding his predecessor’s 2p or not 2p tax cut. I, on the other hand, would have relished the opportunity to pull a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ in the meeting with my tutor. Perhaps in the form of some nice addition to the piece of work I am working on that is so innovative and appealing. It was not meant to be though.

Another common feature between myself and my Darling is what I will refer to as the ‘expectations’ game. One sets ones own expectations. Darling’s leadership of the HM Treasury has never quite gotten off the ground. Importantly, no one trusts him. Trust is crucial to success at his position and although one must strive to earn trust; one must certainly not actively counter trust! It is this latter course of action which Darling has taken ever since he took over the Treasury and it is the reason why his position has not been considered tenable since.

For whatever reason he has not been able to earn trust, his chances have surely not been benefited by implicitly having ‘DISHONEST’ written on his forehead. That is right blogreader; I am obviously referring to the discontinuity of colour in Darling’s hair and his eyebrows.

I do not mind telling you blogreader, that the colour of my hair and my eyebrows is uniform. Despite this, I regret to inform you that I was quite irresponsible towards my tutor today when I emailed him in the morning to say that I would not be making it to our scheduled meeting.

I too have lost the trust of electorate whom, at previous meetings, had done much to encourage my ambitions for my project. No matter how profusely I apologised in my email, I am not sure that I will have ample opportunity to regain said trust and in all probability, my work is likely to suffer as result.

And so blogreader, you have and addition to your 'never was' chant courtesy of Lacklustre Lawyer.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Have you ever 'hung' with your tutors?!

Have you? If so; I very much need to hear from you and very soon!

Hanging with my tutors - a tutor, in fact - is exactly what I will be doing tomorrow morning. This meeting was scheduled...hmmm...well...about 6 weeks ago actually and its happening tomorrow. The aim of the meeting is to update my tutor on progress with a piece of coursework I am doing and in addition, to show a substantial amount of it, so that they can comment on it. Well, that's not exactly going to happen because I have done next-to-nothing; and so, this is why I ask: have you ever hung with your tutor?

I have a terrible feeling that I'm just going to turn up and be silent, very very silent. I think I will be asked if I am feeling OK too - does anyone have a good answer to that either? For instance, can someone name me a disease that I could pretend to have that has prevented me from working on this project for the past 6 weeks whilst simultaneously during that period, it has constantly been playing on my mind? I do hope I am not asking for much blogreader, if I add that your account must sound 100% convincing to even the most circumspect of people.

If this whole meeting was a cursory examination into my performance, blogreader, then even I am creative enough to slay that dragon.

There are principally two forces acting against me between now and tomorrow. Firstly, I am working on a higher priority piece of work that is also extremely time-sensitive; secondly, and most importantly, anything that I do manage to put together to show my tutor in the morning will be humiliating at best and shameful at worst. Yep; things are that bad. I cannot delay this meeting until later in the week either because that is simply not feasible for our busy end-of-term schedules!

In the meantime, whilst you are tucking yourself in bed tonight, I would like you to spare a thought for me who, in all likelihood, will be wide-awake and slaving away. Alternatively, if any of you believe in the all'mighty, could you perhaps give him a bell and draw his attention to me. That would be great too.

Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Why I won't be attending the Mooting Final

So the mooting final of my intra-university competition will be held today and I will not be attending. I have attended all mooting finals in the past whilst at university but I shall not be attending this one. The reason that I mention these facts is that one could be mistaken in thinking that the reason that I am not attending the final is that I am jealous/have not got over the fact that I am not in it. Well they would be right to an extent. I have not gotten over it; but that is not the reason that I will not be attending.

The reason that I am not attending is that I am drowning in work - all of it very important and all of it to be actioned within a tight and very upcoming deadline - and somethings (things that I enjoy in my spare time, like mooting) have to be removed from my very busy schedule.

Before I go on, I would like it to be noted that after I found out that I had not reached the final and that my even more lacklustre opponent had, I did send him a congratulatory email and wished him well for the final. Of course, I might not necessarily agree with the result but that decision was for the judge to make and make it he did. See: the fact that the result was not in my favour did not prevent me from maintaining minimal amounts of human decency and compassion.

As is customary at this stage of mooting competitions, the doors are flung open to everyone and anyone that wished to attend - students, lecturers, professors and tutors etc. The biggest prize of all though is the opportunity to present arguments before an actual real-life judge! Its such a huge opportunity and it hurts to have come so close, yet so far away from experiencing it.

Currently I am working on writing two essays which need to be completed before the end of term deadline which is this week. I shall never know whether I would have been able to prepare for the moot alongside this and I do not care to think which of all these important things I have going on would not have been done well (or performed well).

Its actually become more of a problem now that I am nearing the end of my degree. I start the week - like now - so energised and ready to lots of work. It does not change the end result at the end of the week however when I find that no single project has been completed and instead there are lots and lots of unfinished pieces of work that still need my attention. I guess its those skills called time management and organisation which I suck at.

I am very much looking forward to my upcoming holidays. Only four days away.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Employment Law

So have already talked a little about my dissatisfaction with one of the subjects that I am studying (Jurisprudence); in this post, I thought I would share with you my enjoyment of Employment Law which I am also studying.

I love Employment Law.

I can't exactly pinpoint what it is that I enjoy so much about it but I can say with much conviction that I do absolutely love it. Perhaps I am enjoying the fact that its a relatively straightforward area of law to study. Compare for example, Employment Law with Trusts Law and the doom and gloom within the latter, perhaps I enjoy Employment law more because it is applied-Contract law and Contract law has been my all time favourite area of study.

I take comfort in my approach to studying Employment law. As a student of Law at undergraduate level, there is that persistent feeling that you don't know enough law - you haven't read enough; you don't understand the intricacies of case-law enough; you don't fully understand the applicable doctrines in an area. Whilst these factors have dogged every other Law module I have studied and am studying, the same cannot be said for Employment law. When I study Employment law, I feel I know where to look, what to read and in how much detail. I don't believe I'm being blindly naive in my appreciation of concepts in Employment law. Like most of my other subjects, I come across area where the law is in an unsatisfactory state. But the difference is, I seem to appreciate more fully the nature of the problems and I actually enjoy spending time thinking about prospects for reform.

So there you have it - its not all doom and gloom - Lacklustre Lawyer isn't so Lacklustre in Employment Law. Well at least he doesn't think he is. Currently I am studying the Working Time Regulations 1998. There hasn't been written on these regulations in most student textbooks. I've consequently enjoyed the opportunity to study the regulations first-hand and to plug each individual regulation into Westlaw and read all the cases in which it has been applied. Its interesting because, for once, I feel as though I have grabbed an area of the law by the balls and squeezed with much satisfaction and less pain.

This post wouldn't be complete without reference to my excellent lecturers who really have done quite a fantastic job in providing me a base from which to explore different areas in an interesting, productive and fun way. No Law student needs to be told at the inadequacy and drawbacks of some lecturers who are terrible at engaging students interest in the law. I'm really quite honoured with my lecturers in this area though. Its no coincidence that they are leading practitioners of Employment law. Often, the fact that they are practitioners could be a significant drawback because of their partial inability to teach the area from an academic standing. My lecturers aren't like this at all. In addition, they come with the benefit of offering the most up-to-date cases in Employment law, which is so important in areas like Unfair Dismissal and the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Will be digging into my Employment law materials on a regular basis and enjoying every minute of it.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


Jurisprudence is a rather interesting subject to teach as part of a law degree. I fear that universities either teach it right and teach it well; or, teach it wrong and teach it disastrously. The disconcerting thing about my course is that there are elements of both!

The most interesting aspects of the course are when you read the works of the leading jurists: Hart, Dworkin, Raz etc. Once you get to grip with the basics, I for one found, that its actually quite enjoyable to read their complexly written works and try to distill what they are trying to say. There's no doubt about it though: there have been several occasions when I've spent ages reading a particular part of one of the aforementioned jurist's works and I'm just amazed as to why they don't opt for simplicity - especially when they were making some interesting and valid points - and, I believe, had they done so, they would have dramatically increased their readership.

So that was the interesting part of the course that was taught reasonably well. My essay marks in that area averaged around 65% which measured up quite well against the other marks in my year. There were only a handful of Firsts awarded and two-fist-fulls of 65%>70% marks.

Now for the uninteresting part.

Principally, this involves having to study jurisprudential issues in very specific areas: Moral Dilemmas in Medical Law; Foucauldian theory; and, feminist perspectives on jurisprudence.

Now, some of the issues in each of these subjects are interesting - especially in moral dilemmas in medical law, where it was nice to have recourse back to original judgments in cases in which these issues have arisen alongside the jurisprudential writings on them. The other two areas I have mentioned have not been so interesting. I quickly tuned-out of the feminist perspectives on the law because it was just so dry. I am definitely one that enjoys reading and studying black-letter law more, but I like to think that my analytical skills can be used elsewhere too. Like, for instance, on the works of Dworkin and Hart, which I did enjoy. But, for Feminist perspectives on Jurisprudence, nothing was happening for me.

Foucauldian theory is an interesting option to offer in itself and I am quite surprised at its inclusion. Michel Foucault of course was a French philosopher that died relatively recently. His works on the inter-relationship of power, knowledge and truth, was not limited to understanding a legal system or the law itself. No, it was much broader - it focussed on a whole range of things in life. We don't even hone in on the application of Foucault's work and what will be of interest to us as lawyers. And, it seems to me that all his views can be summarised in some nice and short statements that I simply have to regurgitate in an exam. I'm really less keen on going on to read his primary texts in full and am more likely, and not because of fault on my part - I gave him his chance, to rely on easy secondary texts where its all nicely laid out for me.

It seems therefore that unless my perspective changes, I have set a ceiling rising only to a mid upper-second class level. This, for a subject that I enjoy a lot and have performed well in up until know.

Thank you Foucault and thank you Feminists!