Help me raise the final £6,000 toward my £17,000 course fees for the Bar Professional Training Course at City Law School to enable me to complete my final year.
About the project
In September 2014 I commenced on the Bar Professional Training Course part time (over 2 years) at City Law School, in Holborn. My course fees are £17,000, costing £8,500 a year.
I was fortunate enough to be awarded a £5,000 scholarship in my first year for my 'contribution to the wider community'. I was also lucky to secure £750 from the Max Engal Bursary Award towards the course from my undergraduate university for my 'contribution to The University of Northampton Law Department'. Therefore I had the challenge of raising £2,750 towards my first years fees. Due to me working during my undergraduate I managed to save most of my student maintenance loan in my final year of undergrad, to cover most of this outstanding amount. Without the scholarship from City Law School, bursary from The University of Northampton and crazy saving I would have never afforded to start the BPTC in September 2014, as an independent mother of three adorable children. (Ok so I am a little biased about the children.)
For the past two years I have applied to my Inn for a scholarship towards my BPTC fees. However, not everyone is lucky, including myself. Despite being disapointed like most students, I dusted myself off and continued to work hard with the hope of being given one final break. I am now hoping that you will all help me with this final financial boost to enable me to complete the BPTC and persue a long and successful career at the bar.
You are probably sat there thinking that my remaining course fees are £8,500 and I am only asking for £6,000. Well I am not greedy and I will only ask for what I genuinely need. If I am going to ask for peoples hard earned cash it is only fair that I make every effort to contribute too! I have secured work with Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council during the 2015 summer vacation. Therefore at a very tight stretch and with lots of sacrifices made by both me and my three children I will be able to save a total of £2,500 towards my course fees. (While all of my law school friends are enjoying the sunshine on exotic beaches for a week or two me and my children will be settling for a night in a Travellodge near Cardiff beach.) As you can imagine saving even £2,500 in a short period of time is very difficult when raising 3 children independantly. This is without considering additional costs that arise from studying the course including train travel to London 2-3 times a week, childcare after school and suplimentary books etc.
So now that I have got the depressing financial information out of the way it is time to persuade you of my dedication to the bar and wider community and ultimately why I am deserving of your financial support. Well to say I have been busy and committed the past three years is probably a understatement. Here we go...
In August 2014 I completed a two year intensive LLB at The University of Northampton. This course required me to complete 9 modules a year instead of the traditional 6. I was proud to graduate with a 2:1 less than a month before starting the BPTC in September 2015. As mentioned above I was awarded The Max Engel Bursary in the summer of 2014 from The University of Northampton for my 'contribution to the Law Department'. During my studies at UoN I was elected Vice President of the UoN Law Society during 2013-2014. I was also an active Student Representative for two years, participating in school meetings and resolving disputes between students and academics. In 2013 I represented UoN in the regional Negotiations Competition in Chester. I was also a Judge at the NSLS Advocacy and Mooting Workshop day at Warwick University. I regularly participated in pro bono work conducting legal research for Law Works in partnership with Shoosmiths and Northampton CAB, for over a year. I also worked on a Your Law project, providing legal advice to students with short-hold tenancy related issues. I was also Head of Communications for a student-led Crimestoppers campaign.
Over the past three years I have dedicated all of my free (and not so free) time to pro bono.This lead to me being awarded the Rosie Keane Scholarship for my 'contribution to the wider community' in September 2014 and volunteer of the year at City University's annual awards in March 2015. You can read more about this in the Islington Tribune. I have been a trained Mentor and Apropriate Adult to youths detained in custody for two years with Catch22. I have also been a Lay Observer for over 2 1/2 years attending prisons and courts to check on the welfare of detainees. I have enjoyed this role so much that I became an Independant Custody Visitor in July 2014.
Since June 2015 I have volunteered at the Blackfriars Settlement Legal Advice Centre which is held in partnership with City Law School and Taylor Wessing Solicitors. I have also participated in some mentoring of law students through projects such as Your Law and Big Voice London.
As mentioned above, I am currently working for Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council. Part of my job includes coordinating and recruiting volunteers. I am also responsible for developing training packages, fundraising and marketing. It has been a fantastic opportunity to build on my legal knowledge while also developing new business skills which will aid me during financially challenging times at the bar, with continued cuts to public funding.
I have marshalled with serveral Judges and a Recorder. This has included Circuit Judge De Bertodano, Circuit Judge Parker, District Judge Chaudhuri, Circuit Judge Enright and Recorder Mason. Marshalling is one of my most valued legal experiences to date. It was insightful discovering how Judges interpret the law and even more importantly their pet hates, conducted by legal professionals. For example disorganised case management.
I have also completed mini pupilllage's at four chambers which have included 9 Bedford Row, Senate House Chambers, Lamb Building and Chartlands Chambers. During these mini pupilllage's I attended various court proceedings in the Family Court, Crown Court and an Immigration Tribunual.
In addition to marshalling, mini's and pro bono I have also attended a few internships. In April 2015 I completed an internship at Shoosmiths in commercial and property litigation. I was invited to attend this internship after raising £106 for Wild Hearts In Action as part of a micro tyco fundraising challenge. I have also completed a internship with a solicitor advocate, Karen Shakespere who provided me with lots of insight into working with wills and probate.
I have been so dedicated to persuing a career at the bar that I have already completed my 11 dining sessions before call night. I am also a member of The Association of Women Barristers, London Young Lawyers Group and Northants and Bucks Junior Lawyers. I usually attend a couple of events with each group a year to build on my contacts, develop new skills (and occasionally have fun).
I hope that you can see that I have worked extremly hard over the past three years to develop my legal skills and selflessly contribute to the wider community.
Therefore please try and support my crowdfunding efforts, even if its only £1. Afterall it would only take 6,000 to offer this much to enable me to complete my course and live my dream as a barrister promoting positive legal change and justice. If you would like to find out more about me please check out my blog.