Below you’ll find more examples of my responses to real pupillage application questions — copied and pasted from the original, submitted forms. Each response comes from an application which resulted in me being invited to a first interview (at least).
QEB HOLLIS WHITEMAN (2015) —
What makes you stand out as an individual? [150 words]
In a word: passion. Despite a disadvantaged start in life (due to a disability), I have achieved considerable success in every endeavour that I have put my heart into.
In 1998, I bought my first guitar. One year later, I was earning money as a guitarist. Later, I wrote and recorded a single with ‘Number One’ selling artist, Pato Banton, who also comes from Birmingham. Pato told the press that he joined the project because he felt moved by my passion to put Birmingham on the musical map.
In 2007, I became inspired to do a sponsored skydive, but was informed that due to the level of my amputation, it would be impossible to secure my body to the jump harness. One year later, I completed my first skydive with a good instructor who was willing to listen to my suggestions.
History shows that when I try, I ultimately succeed.
43 TEMPLE ROW (2016) —
Why do you want a pupillage tailored towards Public and Immigration Law? [300 words]
The UK is facing uncertain times. The recent vote to withdraw from the European Union means that within a few years, Parliamentary Sovereignty could be lending force to the whims and ideals of whichever political party holds sway. Almost certainly, the Human Rights Act will be repealed. Therefore, it is vital that lawyers, especially learned counsel, equip themselves with knowledge needed to understand constitutional change, and the skills required to apply (or challenge) it in court — at every level. To this end, there can be no better preparation than a pupillage geared towards Public Law and related areas. I wish to be so prepared; not only for myself, but for future clients who may find their rights being eroded.
In the current political climate, one class of persons who stand to suffer are immigrants — including economic migrants currently settled here. I make no pretence at having specific expertise in Immigration Law (yet), although I once handled an appeal “on the papers.” In that matter, I pleaded the appellant’s Article 8 rights on the basis that (1)he had family living here who wished to see him, and (2)he had a right to see his family, which the decision-maker ought to respect. I found this type of argument satisfying, and would welcome the chance to practise Immigration Law so I may deploy human rights principles from an early stage in my career. Later on, if the UK withdraws from ECHR jurisdiction, having an immigration practice would give me cause to assimilate whatever domestic law is enacted to replace it. A more general pupillage would not leave me so equipped.
In short, a pupillage tailored towards Public and Immigration Law would put me at the cutting-edge of practice for many years to come.
ST PHILIPS CHAMBERS (2015) —
Tell us about yourself, including your hobbies and interests. [350 words]
I am one of the few law students in the world who can claim to have earned an LLB whilst studying “on the road.”
I lived in Belgium for two years, and combined studying for my Open University degree with regular work as a musician. Later, in 2010, I took my books to Mississippi and combined my studies with a ten-month Amicus internship — fighting to save lives on death row (and, indeed, succeeding in helping to save one man’s life). I arranged to sit one of my exams at the Law School in Mississippi (at personal cost) in order to gain this experience.
At age fifteen, I was given the lead role of “Tony” in a local amateur production of West Side Story — notwithstanding a disability which, to some extent, needed to be worked around. Despite some challenges, the live shows were a memorable success.
In 2008, I did a tandem skydive in Pennsylvania. I fully expect to do this again after Bar School.
I enjoy writing poetry. Some of my work can be viewed online by googling my name. I am also greatly inspired by epic poetry; in particular, I have spent four years studying and re-reading John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”
I have been a guitarist and singer since the age of eighteen. This hobby has taken me to many places. For instance, my first band supported the renowned Backbeat Beatles tribute act for two nights, opening to their 400-per-night audience. And as a solo entertainer, I wrote a reggae song about Birmingham (featuring Pato Banton) which was considered as a possible “anthem” for the city in the event that Birmingham won the European Capital of Culture award. I have also performed over two hundred paid gigs across the UK and Belgium.
I love to travel. When cash has permitted, I have gone to such historic sites as Cape Coast Castle, the Berlin Wall and Anne Frank’s House. I was present at the first ever rock concert in Nepal, performed by Bryan Adams in 2011.
In time, I hope to visit some of the Latin American countries.