Last night I uploaded this post that I wrote back in March about the results of my pupillage applications last year.
Over night I have received a number of emails and a few comments on the post urging me to name and shame the Set involved and to make a formal complaint to the BSB.
I have receive this advice from a number of people in the last year, and I've had plenty of time to think about it. On reflection, naming them, or complaining about them, doesn't seem the wisest move.
Firstly, they never actually outright offered me the pupillage. No contracts, etc, we're exchanged. The head of the pupillage committee was always pleasant to me and was clear in saying that any offer was 'subject to confirmation from the finance committee'. I genuinely believe that they wanted to offer me the pupillage, the rug was just pulled from underneath them by the tricky issue of finance.
We all know that money is getting tighter and tighter at the junior end of the criminal bar, and I assume it's this pressure that Set 3 was responding to. Realistically the blame should go to successive governments who seem intent on destroying Legal Aid. People get up in arms about benefits being cut, as they want to protect their income. People get up in arms about the NHS being cut, as they want to protect their health. No one seems to care about the other, important, pillar of the welfare state - legal aid. No one seems to want to protect their rights and liberties. But I digress.
Set 3 did behave badly in their treatment of me, but I have absolutely no complaints about them not offering me a pupillage - I just wish they had had the balls to call me up and tell me so.
Secondly, I must reference this post that I wrote back in February. Although I'm prodigiously gifted in the area, I'm told that indiscretion isn't necessarily a highly sought after quality at the Bar. Naming and shaming Set 3 would no doubt get back to them, and they will obviously know who I am. Although I've not applied to them this year, they will of course have friends in the Sets I have applied to. I have no wish to become the known as a trouble maker, and naming Set 3 seems the perfect way of getting that reputation.
Thirdly, and lastly: my own politics and outlook on life. I am a liberal in both senses of the word - socially and economically. I believe that society functions at its best when people are given the freedom to run their lives how they see fit, engaging with a free market and taking responsibility for their own successes and failures. It's one of the reasons I so desperately wish to be a self-employed barrister. Complaining to the BSB, the almighty regulator, would seem to go against many of my stated principles. Instead, my preferred approach would be to deal with those causing me difficulties directly (if we were in the 1800s I'd write "as men" here). I appreciate that a regulator can prove valuable in certain situations, especially with regard to disputes between professionals and client; but I just don't see the BSB's role as soothing the ego of slighted applicants like me. They have far better things to be doing.
Set 3, in a free market, had every right to reject me, and not call me. Yes, I'm annoyed. Yes, I wish they had treated me slightly more kindly; but, in a free market, I also have to right apply elsewhere this year - and I have exercised that right.