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Law news for aspiring barristers and solicitors

Weekly law news update for graduates

Updated every Thursday morning, we give you the essential information you need to keep on top of your applications and raise your commercial awareness for interviews or meetings with law recruiters. We’ve also added some other titbits of information that might interest you.

Pupillage interviews, TARGETjobs National Pupillage Fair 2017 videos, answering law application questions, the new SQE super exam, gender neutral passports, litigating Cliff Richard and talking about ongoing cases

barristers | solicitors | useful stories

What you MUST know:

Start swotting up for pupillage interviews

We wish all of you applying for pupillage this year the very best of luck. Don’t forget that you could be called to a pupillage interview in the near future. If you need any help, we’ve got you covered, as always. Check out our guide to how you can prepare for pupillage applications for more help and advice.

Advice directly from the TARGETjobs National Pupillage Fair 2017

Last year’s TARGETjobs National Pupillage Fair took place on Saturday 25 November 2017 and, from what we’ve heard from you and from chambers, was a tremendous success. Each year, TARGETjobs Law hosts a programme of recorded talks by practising barristers and other Bar-related organisations to make your applications, interviews and career decisions that little bit easier. You’ll seldom have the chance to catch such candid conversations outside of chambers about the nature of the work, so give the videos a watch by clicking here: TARGETjobs National Pupillage Fair 2017 talks programme videos.

What positions of responsibility have you held and why are you interested in commercial law?

As part of our law application form advice series, we’ve put together two new articles to take the sting out of those tricky training contract application questions.

It is fairly common for law firms to ask about your experiences outside of law school. Questions might include ‘What are your extracurricular activities and hobbies?’ or ‘Tell us about a time that you’ve held a position of responsibility’. While many law firms will ask the question, you’ll want to avoid giving the same answer to each firm. Find out how to avoid giving generic answers and get noticed with our helpful examples of how to answer the extracurricular activities question.

If you’ve got your sights set on one of the major law firms for your training contract or vac scheme, you’ll need to convince these City behemoths that you really want to work in commercial law. Read our guide on how to answer ‘why do you want to work in commercial law?’ to find out how you can use your own experiences and research to craft a unique answer to each firm that you’re applying to.

What is the SQE and do you need it?

The new qualification for aspiring solicitors – the solicitors qualifying examination (SQE) – is due to replace the current qualification(s) from 2020. On 8 March 2018, however, the Legal Services Board (LSB) put off – for the second time – making a decision on whether or not to approve plans for this centralised solicitors’ super exam after the proposals came under new criticism. The LSB said that it would not make a decision before 12 April 2018. This deadline has now passed, but we will update this post as more information becomes available.

You can find out what this means for non-law graduates considering a conversion course (graduate diploma in law, commonly called the GDL), what the implications are for training contracts and how the new SQE will be run by reading our guide to how the SQE super exam may affect graduates.

What you SHOULD know:

‘X’ marks the issue

The Home Office is embroiled in a court case over its decision not to issue gender-neutral ‘X’ passports. The legal challenge was brought by Christie Elan-Cane, who identifies as non-gendered and applied for a gender-neutral passport in 1995. Kate Gallafent QC, acting for Elan-Cane, told the court that the Home Office’s refusal to provide the type of passport breached privacy and human rights and was unlawful.

The cost of issuing a third category of passport would be £2m and would be recognised abroad without any problem. British border control already recognises ‘X’ passports from other countries. The government is arguing that the amendment to legislative policy would present a huge administrative and financial burden on HM Passport Office for a modest number of people to benefit from. The hearing is ongoing.

Click the story headline to read more from The Guardian.

On the Cliff edge

Cliff Richard is currently suing the BBC after the broadcaster screened helicopter footage of his home in August 2014 and named him in one of its reports. The BBC report focused on allegations of historic sexual assault against a child in 1985 that were passed to South Yorkshire Police from the Metropolitan Police. Richard has always denied the allegations and was never arrested or charged.

The BBC journalist who broke the story has denied being heavy handed in order to get the cooperation of South Yorkshire Police. The broadcaster has said that its coverage was in the public interest and was accurate and in good faith. The case continues.

Click the story headline to read more from the BBC.

Of interest:

Loose lips sink employment tribunals

Law awareness charity The Transparency Project has posted an analysis of a recent employment tribunal involving the BBC. The case was brought by journalist Sally Chidzoy, who was attempting to bring claims of sex discrimination, whistleblowing, victimisation and harassment. The BBC’s barrister reportedly overheard Chidzoy discussing details of the case with a local news reporter, despite repeated warnings from the court not to disclose details of the case.

The case was subsequently thrown out after an investigation concluded that there had been unreasonable conduct by Chidzoy. The Court of Appeal later confirmed that the decision of the employment tribunal to dismiss the case was correct. The Transparency Project provides extra comment on the case, explaining the possible dangers of discussing key facts out of court and the need for the court to be able to trust the evidence put before it.

Click the story headline to read more from the Transparency Project.

For more updates and information, check out our Twitter feed @TjobsLaw.