31 October, 2008

Exit Poll

This is an interesting article by Karl Rove (yes, I know) about the impact exit polls potentially have on changes the results of US elections by changing the way people vote in 'later' states.

Definitely worth a read.

30 October, 2008

Spooks, Heroes and Desperate Housewives

New series of all.

Loving it.

Season 2 of Heroes suffered not only because it was weak in and of itself, but also by comparison to season 1. Season 3 looks better by far. Plus, as the BBC is only a week behind the US and showing episodes on the i-player, I'm probably going to stop downloading them and watch them legally instead - what a novelty! It's marginally more inconvenient to me, but as I'm a firm believer in 'rewarding' good behaviour in the hopes they will do it in the future....

...And the same reasoning means I will probably watch DH on Channel 4 as well. However, this is more problematic because their 4OD is crap (I've not managed to watch anything on it despite several attempts) and I have all the self will on a hungry 5 year old next to a bowl of sweets so I am likely just to gorge myself on all of them via the internet rather than pace myself over a few weeks.... I'll give 4OD a go again, but if it fails, I'm not sure I can be bothered in the future. BBC has shown it's obviously not a hard piece of software to get right.

I have none of these dilemmas for Spooks as it'll always be shown on the BBC first, I can only 'gorge' myself on one episode extra (on BBC three) and the i-player actually works as it is supposed to.

All fun and games :)

Any other recommendations for TV series out there? I heard that there is now a Season 3 of Dexter (which I would watch for the theme tune alone) so I may well check that out

Biting the Bullet

I have finally bitten the bullet and submitted my first training contract application.

The initial form was VERY vague and would be wonderful for people who hadn't actually done anything (hence my annoyance, as in my view, I have) but the next section is a verbal and numerical reasoning section. Not looking forward to that at all - think I might need to crib up on statistical manipulation before I sit down to do them!

29 October, 2008

Paralegal jobs going at Law Firm in Manchester

I have been told today that Law Firm may be seeking to hire a new paralegal in their Manchester office.

If you are interested in public regulatory work in Manchester, please leave a comment and I will arrange to send you the details (and/or chat to you about applications)

I can assure you, they are a lovely firm to work for and the work is interesting/fun/public spirited and the pay isn't bad at all for paralegalling in Manchester.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

It was Andropov's plaintive comment of 'where are youuuuu?' which made me realise that I haven't posted in aaaaaaages.

To cut a long story short, I've been out of the office most of the days of the past couple of weeks and my evening internet time has been spent trying to help people with various debating stuff - and sleep!

Think it may be summed up by the fact that in the past 2 weeks, I've slept for 12-14 hours in one go on to occasions! A lurgy-bug has been going around the ofice, and whilst I have been fortunate enough not to catch it, it has meant a ot more work.

I guess this serves me right because 2 weeks ago I was talking to the Partner and commenting that I often felt like I had capacity so I was given a new case - safe to say, that's no longer true....

There also hasn't been much in the news that interests me, recently. I couldn't care less about whether celebrities are rude to other people, I don't care about the American election (I was originally pro-McCain as I didn't like Obama's views on the economy and felt he swip-swapped to often, but now McCain has lost most of the stuff I liked about him and I'm still not turned on by Obama).

In fact, the MOST exciting thing was the snow yesterday. I was out interviewing witnesses so wasn't inManchester which got rain instead (unsuprisingly) so I got to see huge flakes of snow all afternoon before ebing driven through snowy countryside in the evening AND the trains weren't overly delayed by it. All in all, pretty successful.

14 October, 2008

Double Trouble

This story about an Italian judge with an identical twin is quite amusing...

13 October, 2008

Interview - Bad news

Didn't get it.

Am most upset.

At least they got back to me quickly though.

12 October, 2008

SOAS timetable (provisional) and travel details

Below is a provisional timetable and travel information for SOAS IV 2008.

Friday night:

Arrive from 5pm and register
Social is from 8pm.
(There aren't any rounds on the Friday)

9am-9:30: registration
9:30: first round is announced
11am: second round is announced
12:30: Lunch
13:30: Third round is announced
15:00: Fourth round is announced
17:30: Fifth round is announced (closed adjudication)
19:00 - Social

9:30-10:15: Re-register and breakfast
10:20 - Semi-final announced
12:30- Lunch
13:30 - ESL final announced*
15:30 - Final announced
18:00-1830: Results and prizes
1900- Go home

*We hope to run an ESL final, but this is subject to there being a sufficient number of ESL teams.

This is all provisional and may be subject to change. However, the start and finish times for the day should all be correct.

A map of where SOAS is can be found here. More information can be found on SOAS's website, here.


There seems to be a huge amount of vitriol going around targeted at buy-to-let investors and I just don't understand it.

Yes, I would like to buy a house one day when I am secure enough to afford it. By secure, I mean borrow no more than 2.5 times our joint salaries and be geographically fixed in terms of career for a while. So, perhaps in 3-5 years, a house would be good.

In the meanwhile, renting is a boon to us. We can live in apartments far nicer than those we could otherwise afford, we can move every 6 months if we want to, if something breaks, someone else pays to fix it for us...

And I don't think there would be half as many nice properties out there if it wasn't for the buy-to-let market. If it wasn't for the investors, we would be in a tiny studio flat somewhere grotty or forced to buy a flat which means we can't be as flexible with our careers.

People complain that they can only rent because they can't afford to buy and that this forces them to be far less secure. I can understand that to an extent, but given that a lease can be for any length of time, why don't these people arrange with their landlord to have a longer lease? The landlord gets the guarantee that the property isn't sitting empty and the tenants get greater security - a win/win, surely?

Yes, to an extent, buy-to-let increase demand for property and this leads to a rise in price. on the other hand, I wonder how many of the new apartment blocks which are going up would have been built at all if it wasn't for the increase in demand for property caused by buy to let.... In addition, rises in houseprices in parts of the country such as London cannot be placed wholly at the door of the buy-to-let investors. London is an attractice city for many people to live, or they are forced to live there because that's where their job is, either way, it leads to an increase in demand for property in its own right - independent of the buy-to-let market.

The same people who complain about buy to let seem to be the same who would be willing to spend 5,6,7 or even 8 times their salary on buying - they are therefore hardly the people we should be turning to for considered, intelligent property advice, surely?!

11 October, 2008

The Interview

I'm not sure that I've ever been more nervous in my life than I was this morning - and I couldn't get rid of the nerves which made it worse. Admittedly, they were probably not helped by the can of Red Bull I had for breakfast on the way over to Liverpool.

The people were as lovely as I remember from my mini and it was nice to see their Liverpool base as I spent my mini in their Manchester one.

The interview was a 'round table' interview as opposed to the X-factor style one that I had at Winckley Square which was far more relaxing. On top of that, all the interviewers were dressed casually to try and help people relax as well - they were obviously very keen to try and get the best out of people. The first question was also a nice obvious one ("Why a pupillage at Exchange Chambers?") followed by a long chat about debating and then they asked me about the pre-prepared question. Whilst I had an answer thought out, I'm glad I had read R v Davis the day before as it not only meant that I felt my inital answer was more rounded by I was able to better respond to some of their other questions on it (including whether the government's law on witness anonymity was ECHR compatible - I said I didn't think it was).

The only big screw up I can think of right away was I was asked by one interviewer whether I thought it was right that as witness anonymity was popular, it should be brought in. The debater in me automatically says 'of course not, people are stupid' - I can't actually remember whether I said 'people are stupid' but I certainly pointed out that if criminal justice was run 'by the people' we'd have the death penalty and all suspected paedophiles would have to wear a big scarlet letter P (probably branded to their forehead).

After the formal interview was over, they then took me to a different room where the current pupils were waiting so I could have a more casual chat with them. A nice wind down at the end.

All in all, I couldn't have asked for more from the interview so let's just hope that they think I'm good enough. I still suspect my CV is nowhere near the callibre that they are actually looking for...

09 October, 2008

Witness anonymity in the Crown Court

Well, they have chosen a good question for the interview - the anonymity of witnesses in the Crown Court.

I know enough about it to argue it either way, but think if I don't prep at all, I will probably be setting myself up to fail. My only real decision is which side to take. I am instinctively against allowing complete anonymity - but only for fairly fluffy reasons. I am grateful to a friend for giving me a good example of where it has lead to bad consequences - in a liberal democracy, too - but still feel that the hard-core 'no, it's all fine' is easier to argue.

That said, most barristers seem to be fairly lefty-liberal so maybe fluff is the way to go...!

Oh, decisions, decisions.

Your call, dear blog readers, fluffy liberal or pragmatic right-winger?

Think I might run it as a motion (though word it sligtly differently) though as I quite like it.

08 October, 2008

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Well, on Monday I had a rejection from a set in Leeds which, admittedly, I wasn't overly bothered by but the fact it happened within about one week of me submitting my form was slightly galling.

The very good news is that I now have an interview with a set in Manchester this Saturday. I'm particularly happy as I have done a mini with them and was fairly certain that I'd screwed up along the line - so nice to know they don't hate me!

They are sending through a question which I have to prepare for the interview and have warned I may have to defend the view point I adopt. Oh shame - because I've never done that before!

Only bad thing is I had booked my trains to and from London this weekend to go to the President's Cup (novice debating competition) and now can't go down.

Fingers crossed, all, please!

04 October, 2008

BabyB: on pupillage interviews

Don't know if you follow Baby Barista, even if you don't, please read his post on pupillage interviews as it's very funny :)


"Why this chambers? “Because you were stupid enough to offer me an interview.”

Why personal injury? “Because it’s easy and pays well.”

Why employment law? “Because litigants in person are always easier to beat.” "

03 October, 2008

The individual and the State in the minds of the centre left

I found this article to be quite interesting, and very true.

To give a small extract:

"Where does this all come from? Well, I have a theory. The most powerful bit of Cameron's speech at the Conservative conference was the bit about Labour seeing the world as containing the State and individuals, with nothing of any value existing in between. This is very true, but also unsurprising. With new Labour, legislation was the answer to every question. That was because most of them were lawyers. A government of priests would pontificate and pray, and if hacks ruled the world we'd place our faith in publicity. Outside politics, David Cameron has only worked in television. So maybe that's why his instincts tend towards EastEnders and Pigeon Street"

Worth going here to read the rest of it... Though I can't see an imam doing a tombola, what with gambling being so popular in Islam.

02 October, 2008

Supermarkets sell alcohol?

A Saudi man who came to work in the UK is taking Tesco to an employment tribunal because - in his role as forklift driver - he hadn't realised the job would involve handling alcohol and so is claiming religious discrimination.

Let's hope that the employment tribunal kicks this one out before it hits the front door.

[edits: to remove the excessive use of the passive.]

01 October, 2008

How babies are made: the 6 year old view

This is quite sweet.

5 Children were asked how they thought babies were made.

To be fair to them, they are quite accurate on the whole and even where wrong, it's the result of a wrong logical leap rather than anything their parents seem to have told them.

Admittedly, though, most of them ge a little lost after 'an egg hatches in Mummy's tummy' analysis....