Alien Landing

I had an email from a lawyer friend the other day confessing that on his return to the courtroom after a six month break due to illness he felt as if everyone around him was talking Martian. I certainly know that when I last returned from a 3 week holiday I was certain that I was talking Martian, for the first hearing at least.


I’ve been on maternity leave since more or less the start of March, so now my first court date is looming I am getting a little concerned at how I will slot back into the suited world. Will I remember to take the raggy off my shoulder before going into court? Will I have sick down my skirt? Will I do inane baby talk to the cute likkle ‘judgy-wudgy’? Will my breast pump start vibrating in the middle of submissions when I kick it under the desk with my foot? Will my oh-ever-so-tight pre-baby-sized suit rip loudly as I stand to make my closing submissions? Will I be able to draw my attention away from the washing of nappies to concentrate on the taskat hand? Will I fall off my heels on the way out to lunch, having worn nothing but sandals, slippers and trainers for 3 months? Lets face it – will I be able to string together a coherent sentence?


In reality it will be fine – after all I’ve been doing the job for a lot longer than I haven’t. But I have no doubt at all it will be very wierd. Now I’ve got to go and burp a little alien…

4 thoughts on “Alien Landing

  1. Hi there,

    I am a mum of two considering a change from journalism to family law. Am I mad? I would start a CPE part-time in September and finish BVC by the time I turn 35.

    I read about you juggling ringbinders and family time and wonder if it is really something I want to take on. On the other hand, I crave more stimulation. I am deliberately setting out to make life difficult!

    I just wondered if you had come across anyone who made the switch later in life?

    Your blog is very accessible, thank you for fitting it in!

    Katy Rink, Bristol

    • I came to the bar slightly late (qualified at 29) but also know several others who have come later on as a second career (one was a midwife, another a social worker in their former lives). It’s perfectly possible to do it later on, although the costs of financing such a move are big disincentive for someone who already has a family and all the financial responsibility that goes with it when there is a high risk of failure (not enough places for applicants at all stages). I left with a £25k debt (and I worked 2 days a week during my bar year) and I understand the average accrued debt levels are now £40k (not sure if this includes undergraduate debt). Added to that is the risk (likelihood) that it will be intellectually stimulating but emotionally draining and time consuming without being financially rewarding given the current round of funding cuts for publicly funded work….

      You aren’t mad but you do need to go into it with your eyes open. I can highly recommend the job but I couldn’t in all conscience recommend it as a sensible move financially. Good luck though.

      PS Do some mini-pupillages to find out more.

  2. I never thanked you for your reply to my above post – I now realise (post mini pupillages)how little time you have, so thank you very much!

    I have finished year one of the UWE CPE course with distinctions in all subjects and the year one prize – so far so good! There is a long way to go.

    Thank you again,

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