Law student Anne Caussy aspires to advocate for children and vulnerable individuals as a barrister, an ambition that is closer to be realised since being awarded a scholarship from The Honourable Society of Middle Temple.
Anne has been awarded a Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Scholarship, worth £22,250 which will cover the cost of the Bar Vocational Studies course (with integrated Master’s) that she’ll begin at City Law School in September.
Middle Temple is one of four Inns of Court; the historic societies that educate and train barristers in England and Wales. At Middle Temple, scholarships are awarded on merit after taking into account the candidate’s intellectual ability, motivation to succeed at the Bar, advocacy potential and personal qualities. The amount of the award depends on the scholar’s financial circumstances. When making the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge award, Middle Temple also places emphasis on the ability of the student to overcome adversity
Anne said the process of applying for an Inn scholarship was lengthy but she felt well supported. She said: ‘Kent Law School has excellent resources and opportunities that I made use of. The most valuable would be the Professional Mentoring Scheme, which connected me to a barrister from Stour Chambers. My mentor Meghan Daniels is truly dedicated to my success and helped me practically by proofreading my applications and helping me to begin networking. Most importantly, I felt welcomed and supported in my decision to join the legal profession.’
Anne also benefitted from participation in Kent Law School’s Academic Coaching for Excellence (ACE) programme. She said: ‘The ACE programme, run by Sheree Palmer, was also wonderful. Having one-on-one support from Lecturer Kerry Love regarding my academic ability and career path was especially important considering the isolated nature of study this year; Kerry helped me stay grounded and gave me structure. Extra-curricular options such as Mock Trial Advocacy also cemented my wish to become a barrister and became a useful talking point in my application and interview.’
Understandably, Anne was nervous in the lead up to her interview at Middle Temple. She said: ‘The thing I kept in mind was: Middle Temple wanted to listen to what I had to say. Whilst the Inn does interview every applicant, they evidently read the applications carefully as they try to match “compatible” Benchers to each applicant. Middle Temple gathered from my paragraphs on my employment at a tuition centre and my volunteer work teaching children how to read, that I am leaning towards family and children’s law. Appropriately, my interview was held with Clive Newton QC, Carey Johnston QC and Matthew Weait. Quite frankly, I was terrified; but I also felt humbled to sit before such accomplished lawyers.’
As she expected, Anne was asked why she wanted to be a barrister. She said: ‘Having been heavily political from a young age, I’ve noticed that there are systems and legislation that can adequately help a lot of people. I want to be a barrister because I want to make a tangible difference in individual people’s lives and help people make use of existing systems. I think I want to specialise in children’s law and family law in general – interestingly, two modules I did not take. Instead, I chose Company Law and Intellectual Property Law, as I was intrigued at how intangible entities such as corporations can be more protected and supported than say, a homeless person for example. I really hope to support children and ‘vulnerable’ individuals through legal trials and use my upcoming research masters to take a psychological view of legal situations.’
We asked Anne to share her advice for fellow aspiring barristers:
- Mooting and advocacy: ‘Have a go at extra-curriculars such as mooting and advocacy. It can be daunting but take a leap and have some fun. Think about how this activity is helping you develop your skills. And if you’re not sure- ask! Staff at KLS are extremely approachable and eager to help. For example, Darren Weir ran MTA and heavily supported my application, for which I am very grateful.
- Timeline: ‘Establish a timeline of things you need to do as the application process is drawn out and there are multiple things that need to be done. Next on my list is the BCAT, which I have planned to do in June.
- Reach out to staff and friends: ‘It is not a secret that the path to becoming a barrister emotionally (and financially) costly. Support and kindness from my peers and friends (Annie, Harry, Jodie, Gabby and Callum: thank you immensely) is what pulls you out of those moments of doubting yourself.’