This is Rome! ... and we are gladiators!

So you failed. Now what?

"This is Rome... and we are gladiators!" - Louis Litt 

Do you remember that episode of Suits when Louis put it together about Mike? Well, what he did about that information in the end wasn't glamorous or recommended (very not Code of Conduct behaviour this), but the principle remains, things went to s*it one day and the next day he was one of the named partners i.e. it needs to get worse before it gets better, but you have got to fight back and keep your integrity in the process.

1. Inn of Court

I begin with nice and simple one. The cheque for your call night fee will be retuned to you but your membership is for life. No BPTC fail an take this away from you! You can still use all the information your Inn has available about training, placements and when ready you can still attend sessions to carry on with networking.

Let's be honest, it is good to know that at least your Inn does not kick you out the moment your course result did not entirely go to plan. Somewhat reassuring.

2. Only enriching, valuable and educative experience counts: try to move out of your paralegal position if you spent there few years without any sensible progression

...or don't. But "this is Rome", remember? Whatever you choose to do about your situation post-BPTC fail don't settle!

Now, I skilfully decided to fail the course and change jobs all in the same month. This was my "this is Rome" moment and the situation changed very quickly. I actually have a lot more respect for myself since then. It was so good. It was so good because suddenly instead of trying to make everything work and fit into this idea of you need to do this and this and be that and that in order to get a pupillage. I no longer wanted to fit into this perfect image of the perfect bar student. Because guess what I no longer was one! I was not obliged in any way to comply with the image I was so focused on creating in the last few years. I lost everything that mattered to me at the time and I was completely free to do anything.

I would not want to re-live it but looking back, my departure from my paralegal position was graceful and unprecedented in the post-BPTC-fail situation. No one really understood my decision. I did not want to care about any consequences or what might or might not go wrong. And it worked. It worked well because I did not sit there with a notepad and three highlighters trying to pre-plan every possible scenario. It worked because everything I tired to control so desperately already went to s*it and I finally understood that I don't control what happens/ed to me but only how I respond to it and my paralegal job had to go. Immediately.

3. Don't forget about what you already have

During the BPTC I was so fixated on the "next thing" another mini, another application, better job, better pay, more valuable experience, marshalling, oh I needed marshalling too despite having several minis already, another training session, better articulation, better network, better clothes, better hair, better relationships, should I buy a house, should I move somewhere else, or should I be in London....??? And more and more and more of everything...! All the time! For about 3 years. I would not even give second thought to what I already had. That is what living from a deadline to a deadline does to your brain. You get to a point where you do not care about the 3984735 achievements you already have and you always want something more. It can lead to a big problem. Don't read this the wrong way, there is nothing wrong with being ambitious, driven and focused on your goals but how many times/when was the last time you gave yourself credit for something/anything?

In my case this might be the very thing that failed me - wanting it all and doing it all at one! Think about that. Failing isn't always about incompetence.

4. Make the most of what you already have

I do not know and do not want to find out what it feels like to amputate your own limb, but removing references to the BPTC from my CV somewhat resonated this procedure and made my CV look rather... legless. The whole document was worked on and geared towards with a view of obtaining pupillage and now there was this massive gap. But instead of feeling sorry about the gap, it might be better to focus on the last significant achievement before the BPTC - I concentrated all my focus on my undergraduate, employment and other extra-circular things that I did which did not magically vanish just because the course did!

5. Pupillage Applications

So great news failing BPTC doesn't need to be disclosed at application stage but it must be clear that you are currently not enrolled on the course, otherwise it is misleading and UNETHICAL! Although in theory one could say that qualification is "pending"... I just would not want to get into a debate on this during the interview or mislead anybody in anyway, so the simplest option is the best solution. No qualification is self explanatory and no enrolment means it is not pending.

Since I am using Rome theme to compose this post... Some say that Rome wasn't built in one day. True that. It also wasn't re-built it one day, it is being expanded and improved everyday and there is nothing stopping anybody from re-building their Rome or in fact building a brand new one for that matter.


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