a plan, and not quite enough time

It turns out that with a deadline, a bro, and the summed might of BPP Law School’s teaching-to-the-test resources, revision isn’t all that hard. This is a lesson I sort-of learned with Louis a year ago, but I did jack-all revision for my other subjects and came out with flying colours regardless, because you don’t actually have to know anything for a History degree. Law is different. A few weeks ago, if you waved a GDL exam question at me – any subject except maybe Criminal – I would turn white, maybe stutter something, and run away. Legal problem questions require a systematic approach, totally unlike my stream-of-consciousness history-writing style; they need actual knowledge of the relevant facts and processes at each and every turn. Each topic requires its own combination of detailed case/statute knowledge and a particular structure with which to apply it. And I need to learn eighteen of them.

So, in the mornings, I trot down to Mikhail’s flat at the bottom of the hill my house is on; we work separately on our notes, grinding through our manual chapters and the overpriced, semi-accurate but still quite useful “GDL Answered” guide. At 4 we run through our flashcards on Mnemosyne, have a meal, and take on some practice papers together. Somewhere between 7 and 9, I roll home for some non-challenging computer games and a night of being chased through my subconscious by the British Constitution, as it flashes in and out of codification like Schrodinger’s nightmare.

I spent the weekend at Sam’s down in Exeter, which as usual was stunningly picturesque (I seem to have good luck with the weather down on the south coast), doing the same routine, with a break on Tuesday to ride a wheezing old DMU down the estuary to Exton on a little branch line (with request stops! how darling!), for a pricey but delicious lunch at something called the “Puffing Billy”. I like the south coast a lot; maybe I’ll retire there when I’m old and fat and worthless. The hours were long, but productive; I work fantastically to a deadline or when there’s an external expectation, but without it I’m very bad at self-motivation, so having someone around that I need to work with and impress is the perfect way of getting through the obscene volume of law. I don’t think I’ve ever worked quite this hard, though that says more about me than the work.

Back in Bristol, alongside the revision the GDL crowd had a great shining glimmer of false hope in the form of a rumour that BPP might pay for the next stage of law school, in the rather likely event that we don’t land training contracts. Unfortunately, the article is wrong (presumably some abused, unpaid intern got the wrong end of the stick – ah, journalism, where it doesn’t matter if you’re right so long as you’re fast) – the offer only applies to people who’ve paid for the LPC out of their own pocket. I’d raise an eyebrow at anyone who does, and both eyebrows at the idea that law firms will find that a compelling reason to hire them – you have to balance “prove a commitment to law” against “prove that you’re financially irresponsible and desperate enough to spend a year of your life and a staggering amount of money on a largely worthless and widely derided vocational qualification with extremely limited chances of a return on it.” Or maybe I’m just bitter because I can’t afford it.

A genuine silver lining was the slightly surreal “Speed Networking” event at BPP on Thursday – speed dating with law instead of romance. I enjoyed two-minute chats with all manner of legal types, including an Ashfords trainee who sold her firm rather well, a cool ex-Army BPP chap who runs the accountancy section, and a nice barrister. And, of course, got to see Higgins and Leyanda again, which is always fun.

Exams are a week today. I’m not feeling optimistic – that’s the wrong word (it usually is) – but I’m feeling prepared. How’s that line go? “When retreat is not an option/and remorse just ain’t your style…”

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