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Waqar Ahmad

Law

Waqar is studying the bar training course to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to become a practising barrister in England and Wales.

An obvious career choice

I decided to become a barrister because I want to make a difference in people’s lives and help to achieve justice. Before pursuing a career at the Bar and prior to starting my undergraduate degree in law I undertook a paralegal role. I remember assisting a client who had received a deportation order and an immediate removal to his home state. The client was in a very distressing situation because of his circumstances. I took immediate action and submitted a fresh claim to prevent his removal. I was deeply moved by this experience and reflecting back, I realised the positive prospective impact I can bring to people’s lives with the knowledge and experience I have. I’m certain that a career at the Bar will bring me closer to the community and enable me to assist them to the best of my abilities.

I thoroughly enjoy engaging in debates.  During my undergraduate studies, I was elected as a programme representative for the Law School. I was fortunate to represent over 400 students and voice issues and concerns on their behalf in Student-Staff Liaison meetings. One important issue of concern for the student body was to bring back recorded lectures. Through these meetings, I was able to highlight the benefit of recorded lectures as an extremely effective revision tool during exams. I was successfully able to convince the staff of their value. My ability to confidently debate with others soon made me realise I want to pursue a profession where my debating could be put to good use.

Gaining experience beyond academic studies

My experience at City has been amazing so far. I have had the chance to meet and study alongside people from all over the world. The most fascinating part of City is that it is situated in the very heart of legal London. This has made it easier for me to go witness a criminal trial at court, or undertake a mini pupillage and shadow a barrister to gain experience before I commence my pupillage.

The teaching quality at City is exceptional. Despite the complexity of the course, lecturers have been utterly supportive in pointing me in the right direction. They are very skilled at explaining and simplifying complex legal matters. I continue to be impressed at the excellent quality of teaching and support that I receive at City.

Tuition fees were one of the factors that affected my decision to study the Bar course. The costs of the course were a substantial investment. However, discovering the extent of the financial support provided by City and the Inns of Court, I was certain that funding would not be a major setback for me to study on the course. I also became aware of the possibility to obtain a Student loan if I undertook the LLM route. The wide range of financial support therefore encourage me to go ahead and apply.

Support with pupillage

One must also note the wide range of opportunities that are on offer to Bar students. I was invited to a Residential Weekend by The Honourable Society of Inner Temple. This was an exclusive opportunity where I had the chance to meet senior members of the Inn to network and learn more about the Bar. Over the course of the weekend, I had the chance to participate in a range of activities, such as Advocacy and Professional Ethics classes. This experience provided me an insight on what life at the Bar is like in reality. I was also given useful tips on pupillage applications and interviews.

City also offers a wide range of activities, such as mooting and pro bono work, to help students build practical skills required at the Bar. As such, I decided to apply to undertake the National Centre of Domestic Violence Option module on the Bar course. I was fortunate to be one of the ten students selected onto to the module. I currently volunteer and assist victims who have suffered abuse and violence in a domestic setting. I draft witness statements as well as represent victims as a McKenzie Friend at court.

I have found the Pupillage Advisory Service at The City Law School very helpful. I have used it often and received useful feedback on how to improve my pupillage applications. My pupillage advisors have been very supportive in answering my questions and providing me with useful tips on how to succeed in pupillage interviews.

Advice for prospective students

My advice to students who wish to study the Bar course is to be prepared to face the intensity of the course and the efforts that will be required on their part. You have to be on top of your work all the time otherwise you will make the course a lot more difficult for yourself. I am certain that those that have a genuine passion for the Bar will do well. Essentially, it is your work ethic that is required to be successful. I’d also strongly advise students to participate in mooting competitions. Mooting experience will come into good use on the Bar course as well as when applying for pupillages.