A group of Dane Court students, comprising both years 11 and 13, visited Middle Temple, London on the 22 September 2015 for an advisory talk with successful environmental law barrister Alex Booth. Departing promptly at 8am on Tuesday morning, flasks of warm tea in hand, we were fully prepared for the coach journey ahead that would take us ever-closer towards an enlightening day at Middle Temple; one that promised us an intriguing glimpse into the world of law and successfully endeavoured to teach us what it truly means to be a member of the bar.
After a journey rife with excitement and an air of ever-increasing anticipation, we finally arrived at the Inns of Court in which Mr. Booth practices. After a relaxing and informative walk around the gardens and grounds surrounding the various buildings in which the chambers were situated, we felt sufficiently refreshed and eager to learn more about the profession that so intrigued us. Upon entering the luxurious building a sense of awe was instilled in us, perhaps even coupled with a slight sense of intimidation in those of us unfamiliar with such grandeur. Even the cloakrooms in which we deposited our coats and bags upon arrival seemed pristine.
With anticipation, we followed Mr Booth into a traditional and welcoming space that provided the pleasant offer of an assortment of comfortable armchairs that presented an optimum view to absorb the informative talk that we were eager to receive. Alex Booth began by informing us of the positive and rewarding aspects of being a barrister, he went on to explain, however the workload that such a profession would encompass, highlighting both the effort that we would have to put in our education and after qualifying as a practicing barrister, and the paths which we would have to take to reach our goals.
He also gave us insight into some of the cases that he has undertaken and how to deal with emotional strain , particularly in relation to dealing with a client with whom you feel perhaps more hostile towards and the importance of giving everyone fair representation, therefore finding aspects of their case with which you can relate. However, importantly, he talked of the extreme exhilaration that comes from winning a case which is often preceded by a great deal of hard work.
The whole group walked away from the talk with significantly opened eyes as to how the justice system works and were given an insight into one of the more simple elements of life as a barrister by eating in the dining hall. This particular room appeared to harbour paintings on all walls which rather eerily followed us as we ate our hearty meals of steak and chips that were kindly provided for us as part of our tour.
With our stomachs sufficiently full and satisfied we were able to take a wander around the London Supreme Court, where we had the wonderful opportunity to take a glimpse inside some of the many empty courtrooms and experience the setting in which many barristers make their cases.
To finish off our trip we took a stroll through Covent Garden in small groups, taking the opportunity to look around quaint shops and market stalls and perhaps buy souvenirs of the experience. When the time to depart the city arrived, each and every student felt more knowledgeable about the profession of law and when stepping onto the coach we all felt the impression the trip had made upon us sink in and wondered as to what our future careers might hold.