Advocacy skills developed through mooting at Kent Law School have played a vital role in helping aspiring barrister Milly Webb secure a Gray’s Inn Scholarship.
Milly, a final-year Law LLB student, received news this week that she’s been awarded a £5,000 Cynthia Terry Scholarhship by Gray’s Inn (one of the four Inns of Court) to help fund her Bar Practice Training Course (BPTC). She said: ‘It means so much to feel supported and backed by the Inn as they are essentially investing in my future. I also felt incredibly proud and excited to be able to call myself a Gray’s Inn Scholar. It still doesn’t feel real to be honest, I keep checking the email is still in my inbox!’
Milly credits her experience of mooting at Kent with giving her the skills and confidence to succeed. She said: ‘Any Inn of Court is going to want to know that you have engaged in advocacy as it is so integral to a career at the Bar. Whenever you go into any interview, it is so important to demonstrate good oral advocacy skills – you are essentially giving forward arguments concerning yourself and your own aptitude for the job/award/placement. Mooting also helps to refine your advocacy style so that you are able to articulate yourself more succinctly. I would say that that is vital when you are in an interview and there is not a lot of time to put across all the points you want to.’
The 15-minute interview at Gray’s Inn was conducted by a panel of three barristers. Ten minutes before her appointed time, Milly was asked to choose between two topical questions for discussion in her interview. She said: ‘I think what they were looking for was how I structured my arguments and responded to being challenged; they weren’t expecting me to have a wealth of legal knowledge about the specific topic. After that, the questions I was asked concerned my non-academic achievements and advocacy experience. And I was given an opportunity to tell them anything else that may have not been present on my application.’
Milly said work experience opportunities promoted by the Law School’s Employability Officer Jayne Instone were also key to her success: ‘Those experiences have helped to build up my legal CV and provided me with opportunities to continue to expose myself to life at the Bar.’ And Milly is grateful for support provided by the Law School’s Director of Mooting, Darren Weir: ‘Darren has also been fantastic through his support with mooting. I have left every meeting with him with a determination to further improve my skeletons, refine my advocacy, and succeed. I really have always felt so supported throughout my three years here. It definitely makes a huge difference when going for interviews etc. The Law School really instills you with a sense of being able to accomplish anything.’
Even before she developed an interest in law, Milly knew she wanted to pursue a career that involved public speaking: ‘I have always liked to argue (much to my parents dismay) and would regularly take up any opportunity to engage in debate/present in front of people. When I took law A-level it quickly became apparent that I had a fascination for law and I would spend time researching potential professions. I was incredibly lucky to undertake a mini-pupillage whilst doing my A-levels and that confirmed that the Bar was the direction I wanted to head towards.’
In September, after she’s graduated from Kent, Milly will return home to Birmingham to study the BPTC at the University of Law. She will also be applying for pupillage and hopes to specialise in the field of public law – particularly planning law, environmental law or immigration law.
Milly urges fellow aspiring barristers not to put restrictions on what they can achieve: ‘If you want something then do everything you can to make it happen. A big part of that is making sure you utilise the help and support around you; be that from the law school, peers, or professional contacts. If someone offers to provide assistance, take them up on it! There are so many opportunities to network at the University of Kent and it is so important that you attend as many events as you can. You never know what one conversation could lead to.’
For more insights into Milly’s student experience at Kent Law School, visit our Instagram page to see Milly’s videos on our IGTV channel!