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A Day In The LifE... Khobaib Abuelmeaza Social Mobility Foundation student, reading Law at SOAS. I


first heard of the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) when I was in Year 12, from


the head of Sixth Form at my school. He encouraged me to apply and I did. I will never forget the lengthy application form and the strange yet exciting questions posed – or the moment I ran into the adjacent room to ask my dad’s advice on which person, living or dead, I most wanted to have dinner with. I have yet to come across another application form which I can say I somewhat enjoyed.


Earlier this year, during the summer break, the SMF offered a group of their students – including me – the opportunity to visit Essex Court Barristers’ Chambers for a mooting workshop. This was not the first time the SMF had offered me such an opportunity; I had previously done two ‘mini- pupillages’ with the SMF’s Bar Placement Week.


Such opportunities not only increased my knowledge on the barristerial profession and mooting techniques, but also allowed me to meet many barristers and become familiar with some of the top Chambers in London. Only when I volunteered with the South Eastern Circuit’s Advanced International Advocacy Course at Keble College (independently of the SMF, but with the SMF’s recommendation),


28 Graduate Recruiter | www.agr.org.uk


did I realise just how many barristers I had gotten to know during my first two years with the SMF.


Given the importance of networking and social capital for increasing the chances of gaining employment, I was grateful for the SMF’s role in ensuring that I could (and can still) seize upon the opportunities available to meet with barristers.


The mooting workshop consisted of an introductory session about what mooting entailed, before we received a demonstration from two of the barristers present. Throughout the day, the barristers emphasised the importance of taking part in mooting when applying to the Bar, and they dropped numerous helpful techniques one could employ in a moot. We eventually had the chance to demonstrate some of what we had gathered from the sessions, and I learnt first-hand that the most important thing for a moot, more than any technique or tip, was to be prepared and know your arguments well.


We then received a short talk from David Foxton QC and had the opportunity to ask the senior barrister various questions. These ranged from his route into the legal profession to his thoughts


on the barrister-solicitor divide in the English system and whether it is tenable in the long-run. More than anything, this talk – and many others like it – helped me to understand what is important to barristers and what they think of the changes occurring within their profession. Understanding the profession as those on the inside do is, in my view, vital for increasing the chances of breaking into it in the long-run.


Towards the end of the day, we had the opportunity to roam and network with the various barristers who had spoken to us during the day. As we left the Chambers afterwards, I am sure that the singular thought running through the minds of my fellow aspiring barristers was that we would one day walk into a Chamber of such high standing not as students, but as professional advocates.


What the SMF has done for me over these past few years has been monumental. Through numerous opportunities like the mooting workshop, I have developed and refined various skills and have learnt a huge amount on the legal profession. While these are all vital, the SMF has also – without my realising – already helped me to become personally familiar with people in the profession, from aspiring and trainee barristers to judges. All this has invariably bettered my CV and increased my chances of gaining employment.


Not to be underestimated is also the boost in morale SMF opportunities tend to have. They help one to focus on their professional goal and make it much more real. It is far easier to work towards something you understand and want from an early stage, rather than working towards something of which you are unsure.


I am


sure that the singular thought running through the minds of my fellow aspiring barristers was that we would one day walk into a Chamber of such high


standing not as students, but as professional advocates.


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