Friday, 4 May 2012

Heart-stopping moments

As I mentioned previously, when you're waiting to hear back from pupillage applications, every time your phone buzzes with a new email your heart skips several beats. I'm fairly sure that, on a number of occasions last year, I technically suffered a cardiac arrest.

The bast majority of the time it's a mailshot from some ridiculous website you signed up to in a particularly weak moment. Rarely, very rarely, it's about pupillage.

When it's about pupillage, every email starts the same:

"Dear Mini

Thank you for applying to our set. This year we had over [insert unreasonably large number here] applications, and we have spent a great deal of time and effort going through each one to ensure that every candidate is properly assessed. The quality has been exceptionally high."

Standard opening. The next few words then either crush your dreams entirely, or make you do a cartwheel.

Option 1


Game over. Cheers chap. Seeya next year.

Option 2

"I am delighted..."


Today, I was sitting in Southwark Crown Court, crime geek that I am, watching a serious fraud trial. Just for fun. (shoot me now). I felt a buzz in my pocket. I tried to be rational, "it's only a few days since the portal closed, they can't possibly be responding to applications now - I'll ignore it".

When the trial adjourned for lunch I checked my email. It was from QEB Hollis Whiteman. One of the top criminal sets; a set I have applied to.

"Dear Mini

Bla Bla Bla, 271 Applicants, high quality, etc etc etc."

But there was no unfortunately. No delighted. No, well, no ANYTHING. Just an explanation of how their system works, and how they hope to assess candidates.

Of course, being informed is lovely, but DON'T THEY KNOW THEY'VE JUST GIVEN 271 PEOPLE A HEART ATTACK?!

If I had died I am absolutely certain that Ladyfemale would have had some form of grounds for unlawful killing. She'd have made millions.

Of course, I'm being silly. Frankly, the reason QEB's email had such an effect on me (and others I have spoken to) is because no other set has ever shown that kind of courtesy. The pupillage season is a time of being ignored, or rejections by silence, and of a constant sense of dread. If more Sets took the time to write to their applicants in this way, setting out a time table, explaining how the process was to operate, we would have several thousand law students and graduates exemplifying a level of sanity not previously seen between the months of April and August. Well done QEB!

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