Final-year Kent law student Paige Hudson has secured a Major Scholarship worth more than £10,000 to help fund the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), the next step in training to become a barrister.
Middle Temple assesses scholarship applications against four key criteria: intellectual ability (the capacity to conduct legal research and give written advice); motivation to succeed at the Bar; potential as an advocate; and personal qualities such as self-reliance, independence, integrity, reliability and the capacity to work effectively with clients, colleagues and chambers staff.
Paige was interviewed in London by a panel comprising three barristers and a Queens Counsel. The 20-minute interview included questions on her motivation for pursuing a career in law, her experience of undertaking mini-pupillages and her plans on how to finance the BPTC year. She said: ‘The interview questions were mostly personal, a way of getting to know me. They asked what area of law I wanted to go into. I had written on my application form that I have considered going into the Armed Forces as an officer on completion of my degree or BPTC, mainly in order to be able to help fund Bar/Pupillage costs and to gain life experience.’
Despite being caught off-guard by a question asking what she would change about the law and why, Paige drew confidence from her experiences at Kent of delivering presentations in family law and mental health law, and from her active participation in seminars. Paige believes these experiences helped develop her public speaking style and skills, and on the day of her interview, helped her control her nerves: ‘I realised it was best to just be myself and speak to them like I was speaking to a normal person or seminar leader. They are all “normal” people and have been doing this for a long time so they know exactly how you feel.’
Paige’s interest in law was triggered as a response to the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in 2013 and she feels her broader interest in joining the British Army (to help fund her professional legal training) may have helped set her apart at interview. Paige will begin a joint BPTC/Master’s course at Nottingham Trent University in September and plans to apply to the Army before applying for a Pupillage (the final stage of training to become a barrister): ‘Pupillages are few and far between, so I think I will apply when I can afford to be a pupil and when I have more life experience that I can talk about in pupillage interviews.’
Ultimately, Paige hopes to specialise in criminal law, terrorism and/or military law. Through time spent with senior barristers, she understands her chosen career path may be challenging but she also believes it will be very rewarding.
Reflecting back on her experiences, Paige believes it’s important to develop unique skills and interests: ‘Whilst throwing yourself into mooting and university societies is great and will definitely be helpful in the future, I think it’s important to show you are different in some way. If you want to go travelling, volunteer or anything – even if it’s not law-related – you should do it, it sets you aside from everyone else and gives you something else to talk about in interviews.’