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Journey to Becoming a Barrister: Evie

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

We recently caught up with Evie, a Future Pupil Programme Coordinator at the University of Law, on her journey into becoming a barrister.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi. I'm Evie, I'm from the Midlands, and have lived in London since I started my LLB at UCL in 2016. I am a future pupil criminal barrister at Foundry Chambers. Following my completition of the BPC, I managed Intervene Project for a year. Intervene is a legal charity that provides free legal representation to prisoners who have been abused within their prison. I managed a caseload of over 200 clients, issued claims against their prisons on their behalf, and advocated in the county court. I am now the Future Pupil Programme Coordinator at The University of Law.

Please could you explain your role as Future Pupil Programme Coordinator? What does a typical day in the life look like?

My current role involves travelling across the county to deliver advisory talks, relating to becoming a barrister, to undergraduate students at their respective universities. I advise aspiring barristers on all aspects of the process, from initially deciding to become a barrister and selecting practice areas, to applying for Inn Scholarships; mini-pupillages; the BPC; and pupillage. I also deliver advocacy workshops. In addition to that, I contribute to The University of Law's 'Future Pupils' podcast, organise the National Pupillage Fair, manage BPC selection and provide mentoring and mock interview appointments to aspiring barristers.

What motivated you to follow the route into being a barrister?

I first decided I wanted to become a criminal barrister after competing nationally and internationally in criminal mock trial competitions in sixth form. I found courtroom advocacy and criminal cases absolutely thrilling. I enjoyed the analytical challenge of building a case and scrutinising evidence. My experiences interacting with clients within the Criminal Justice System, at Intervene and on mini-pupillages, consolidated my decision to practise within crime. I heard daily the abuse, neglect and mistreatment individuals were facing through the court process and during their sentence. I wish for the opportunity to prevent unnecessary incarceration, provide an expressive voice for those who have been abandoned by society, and to help protect the rights of the individual from abuses of state power.

Why did you choose doing a BPC at The University of Law?

I chose The University of Law for a variety of reasons. As my motivation to be a barrister stems from advocacy, I was drawn to the generous offering of over fifty hours of advocacy training, delivered by experienceed practictioners. I had also heard that the employbility service was excellent, and I thoroughly thank them for helping me secure pupillage.The London Bloomsbury campus Is also located right next to my undergraduate university, UCL, and thus I was undoubtedly drawn to the location.

Tell us a bit more about finding pupillage

I applied for pupillage during the BPC, of which half of my fifteen applications led to interviews. I eventually received a reserve offer from one of my favourite sets, which essentially meant if one of the individuals who received a firm offer chose to undertake their pupillage elsewhere, I would receive an offer. However, both individuals accepted their pupillage offer, and thus I needed to apply for pupillage again the following year. That rejection did hit me quite hard, however, I realised I was missing direct legal experience with defendants and prisoners. This led to me volunteering for Intervene. After a month, I was offered the full-time role managing the charity. I then applied for pupillage again. Sixteen applications went through to interview, and after thirty interviews, I received my offer from Foundry.

What’s been the thing you’re most proud of from your time as an aspiring barrister so far?

Aside from securing my pupillage, which was a fabulous day, I was thrilled to double Intervene's caseload during my management of the charity. This meant that we were able to help over 200 prisons, at any one time, tackle the abuses they were facing in their prisons. I would also have to say passing my criminal litigation exam on the BPC, which I took with a severe episode of flu and having suffered a close bereavement a couple of days prior.

What top tips would give you those who are embarking on the BPC?

Do not miss the Inns of Court scholarship deadline (usually the November before you wish to start the BPC), the funding was an absolute lifeline for me!Do have a game plan to tackle the large volume of work, and ensure you revise directly from the core practitioner texts. Do as many practise litigation questions as possible. I would also stress that you make the most of every opportunity you have to improve your advocacy on the BPC.

Any top tips for applying for pupillage?

Start applying as soon as you feel ready to, even if it means treating the first year as a practise. Remember to treat your applications as a piece of written advocacy; be concise, be persuasive, be interesting. Accept that rejections will come, and try and see them as a blessing. You only need one pupillage, and you want it to be at the right set for you. This process undoubtedly pays off for the most determined. With application rejections, remember they are rejecting the application, and not you. You can always change the formula or content of an application, and it may be successful the next year. With interview rejections, remember they are rejecting who you presented on the day, and not you as a person. A different day, mood, panel or advocacy exercise could have led to a very different outcome.