Asia-Pacific

Check out this week's top Asia-Pacific news on the Asia Pacific Headline page.
  

Follow RoF

For all the breaking news, follow RoF on Twitter and Facebook

         
   
  

Make Me...

...an offer I can't refuse. Put your details on Make Me An Offer and let top law firms come and offer you jobs. It's confidential, anonymous and free.
  

Discussion

Discussion
The discussion board has the answers to all life's questions. Get advice on how to get a job, where to work, how your salary matches up and where to go after hours.
  

Blogs

Fancy a unique internship? You'll need to be rich

Rate it
0
Report as offensive
08 August 2012 16:26

This morning, ex-barrister and top legal blogger Amanda Bancroft (@_millymoo) drew attention to a job advert for a unique legal internship at "dynamic commercial law set" 4 King's Bench Walk. The successful applicant will work full time (9:30am - 6:00pm) for six months and is promised practical experience of civil and commercial litigation as well as skill-improving training in legal drafting and (slightly worryingly) advocacy. All they will need is to have successfully completed the BPTC. Oh yes and have enough cash to live and work in London, because this internship is completely unpaid.



Quite how that fits in with National Minimum Wage legislation is unclear. But if it does, the bigger question perhaps is what does this say about the chambers' commitment to diversity? This position is only available to those wealthy enough (or, more likely, with a wealthy enough mum and dad) to be able to support themselves whilst working for free. And it's a commercial set too, would it make massive dent in profits to bung £6.08 an hour in the direction of an intern?

We had not received a comment from 4 King's Bench Walk at the time of writing.
  

Comments

Feel free to enter your comments on the news story below, subject to our terms and conditions. Please note that comments are subject to moderation and so will not appear immediately.

Please keep it nice. Thanks.

Order By:
anonymous user
07/08/2012 09:40
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
Has this particular chambers ever expressed a commitment to diversity?
Laura @ RoF
07/08/2012 09:50
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
Yes it has: http://4kbw.net/

"4KBW holds a policy which requires each lawyer in chambers to participate in an unpaid scheme in which they are paired with a school...The scheme is designed in such a way that the barrister is paired with students who may feel that being a lawyer is beyond their reach, and gives the belief and understanding necessary for achieving this goal. In addition, the scheme aims to encourage diversity by breaking down elitist barriers within the profession. 4KBW is the only set of chambers at the Bar that has implemented this policy."
anonymous user
07/08/2012 11:35
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
Im not really convinced that that scheme as you set it out constitutes a "commitment" to diversity (at least, not a very significant one).

Notwithstanding, why should they have to consider "diversity" or [insert the next cause celebre/social policy buzzword] every time they make a business decision?

I agree that it would probably cost them peanuts in the grand scheme of things to pay a temp some kind of wage but people should really just be left to run their businesses in what they deem to be the most efficient way possible. They do not owe anyone an expanation of why they do not take every opportunity to promote diversity within the legal profession.
Matthew @ RoF
07/08/2012 11:42
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
Come on...

This is a commercial set with plenty of money taking advantage of desperate graduates. It's extremely poor form for all sorts of reasons.

And the "business decision" to beast staff for no pay should also have factored in the downsides - i.e. the ensuing terrible publicity.
anonymous user
07/08/2012 12:05
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
Taking advantage of desperate graduates is not a diversity argument (and it actually implies that some people will in fact try to take this thing on despite it not really being within their means to do so).

I just disagree with the view that it is somehow incumbent upon all law firms/barrister sets etc to be instruments of social change in everything they do and to justify themselves when it is alleged that they are not doing all that they could to pursue what may be someone else's agenda. We are talking about businesses whose primary aim is to make money for their owners.

Although I cant argue with your point that they are exposing themselves to adverse publicity in the eyes of people who disagree.
anonymous user
07/08/2012 14:44
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
Factual correction on Matthew's 11.42 post. This is not any kind of commercial set and I very much doubt that it's making plenty of money. Still, that's no excuse for this shoddy behaviour.
anonymous user
08/08/2012 12:10
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
Sounds distinctly like an unfunded pupillage ...
anonymous user
08/08/2012 12:38
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
"people should really just be left to run their businesses in what they deem to be the most efficient way possible"

So we're OK with slavery, sending children down mines and all that sort ofn thing are we?
anonymous user
08/08/2012 12:43
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
It is an unfunded first six. With a bit of post room work thrown in. And some answering of phones. Don't forget the trainee solicitor work too (why would 4KBW need to prepare their own trial bundles?)

What an amazing opportunity for the right (desperate and over-) qualified candidate!

Just one thing... It 's not a pupillage. Instead you get an opportunity to use these 6 months to practice all the old fashioned methods to get to the Bar (who you know, who you bribe and who you sleep with...) and see if you get better luck in next year's round. And you're paying for the privilege.

Don't all rush at once...
anonymous user
08/08/2012 13:22
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
http://4kbw.net/recruitment/internship


anonymous user
08/08/2012 14:49
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
It's not so much a fairness questions, but a question whether a profession with a monopoly of access to the courts (and therefore limited outside competition) does not have the inherent duty to include the best and brightest. This also means helping the underfunded; not because it is fair (life is unfair), but because you maintain the high quality of the bar.

anonymous user
09/08/2012 12:05
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
It's a 6 month mini-pupillage with some admin stuff thrown in. All this chatter about slavery is cobblers. No-one is forcing graduates take 4KBW up on their offer.

That being said we wouldn't offer the same position where I work as it wouldn't fit in with what we do. I also think if you are in the position of having completed the BPTC and failed to secure pupillage you would be far better taking a paid job as a para-legal and gaining valuable experience which you are paid for.

As an aside has anyone who has commented been on their website and seen the comments of those who have completed an internship at 4 KBW?

Barristers don't have a monopoly on access to the courts. Solicitors and CILEX have rights of audience in court, it is more complex in criminal proceedings but it is still possible.
anonymous user
10/08/2012 13:14
Rate it
0
Report as offensive
It's because the Bar has monopoly control (granted by the State) of a valuable commodity (the right to be a barrister) that it is able to dangle the carrot of a possible later pupillage and so entice those desperate enough to work for nothing for 6 months.

Factory farm PI law firms have been using the similar carrot of TCs to recruit paraweasels at bargain basement rates for years.

These sets and firms are taking advantage of a State-granted monopoly when they do this and therefore to say 'it's not the business of the State' (even when it damages the rest of the profession and arguably wider society)is drivel.