Sunday, 19 February 2012

A Mini History Lesson - Part 2

We left off in that part of our story where I was more interested in prancing about on stage than prancing about in a court room.

At the end of my first year at university I looked back at what I'd achieved: made new friends, regularly managed to eat and drink my body weight (significantly increasing said body weight in the process), learned to tap dance (a bit - all forgotten now), starred in three shows, was elected to direct the main show the next academic year and rented my first flat. The fact that I had scraped a 2:2 in my exams didn't even register on the list - the law degree was just the nonsense I had to put up with to stay in London. I was in a top 5 law school and couldn't care less.

The only hint that I was wasting my time came when I bumped into an old friend from school who knew that I was studying law, and mentioned that his dad was a clerk at a barristers' chambers and that he could sort me out a mini-pupillage.

That summer I was just working in a call centre selling air conditioning (it was easy, 2005 was a decent summer and the phone just kept ringing), so thought that I might as well get some legal work experience to stick on my CV to complement my law degree.

I'll be writing a great deal more about mini-pupillages in the future, but for now let me say that the week with a very junior criminal barrister opened my eyes to a world that I didn't even know existed. I hadn't bothered going along to the Bar Society at university, I'd never knowingly spoken to a barrister, I'd never been in a court. The week showed me that the Bar was special, the people who made their career their seemed a different breed; and I wished that I'd spent a little less time drinking and farting about and a little more time learning what mens rea was.

But then I got back to second year and the seemingly even more boring subjects of land, trusts and tax. And within weeks I was back into the usual routine of spending most of my time dicking about and attending about one in every four lectures.

So, second year was largely a waste of time as well.

I missed the first exam round in June because of illness, and spent the summer of 2006 trying to catch up on the reading I should have done during the year while also working back at the air conditioning company (2006 was an even better summer than 2005!!), knowing that my exams would now be in August.

It was during the exams in August that I received my great wake up call. The first three exams (Tax, Tort and Advanced Constitutional) went fine, I was sure I'd achieved sold results and was hopeful that my last minute revision had helped me get a couple of 2:1s in there.

Things aren't always that simple, though.

The morning of my last exam (Trusts) I received the unpleasant news that my family home had burned down to the ground. Idiotically I still sat that exam, my mind all over the place, and failed it. Dismally.

As I hadn't submitted mitigating circumstances and certified myself fit to sit there was nothing the university could do to help. I would have to retake. The worst bit was that the next exam period wasn't until the next June, and I couldn't move onto third year without passing all the exams in second year.

So, I had to take a year out, and I had a lot of growing up to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment