Millenials Guide To The Galaxy: Travel On The Cheap (Part I)

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It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s expensive. Well not quite…

Having come back from a few days in Estepona last month (more on that another time), I realised that spending next to peanuts and having a cosy holiday to show for it involves walking an awkward line between fine art and science. We’re young and don’t yet have kids, thank God, what better time to zip up and down your country as well as others too? Some of us might be broke but that just adds a little extra to the fun.

I’m going to more tackle travelling cheaply outside the U.K. on this one and then approach travelling closer to home in another post because this can be quite a hefty topic.

The Infrequent Frequent Flyer: 

You may have just graduated or you may still be a student. Either way if there was a frequent traveller scheme for the bus, both of us would be quids in. Nevertheless, frequent flyer programmes are a goldmine if you’re thinking of travelling further afield and you don’t need to be an exec flying at least 25 times a year in First Class. That is all bollocks. With frequent flyer programmes you can earn points on general purchases; travel in and around the U.K. and for simply using your credit card or filling your car up on fuel.

Insofar as frequent flyer programmes go, I’d recommend signing up for:

  • Avios;
  • BA Exec Club (they use BA Avios as their club currency);
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club;
  • Iberia Plus;
  • Aer Club by Aer Lingus

It also helps to look at the kind of places you usually go/intend to go to as well as the airlines that go and look up the alliance that each airline operates under (i.e: Oneworld; SkyTeam; Star Alliance…) and consider their FF programmes too. You may be able to transfer points between schemes as well as earn and redeem points with partner airlines within each alliance. The ones I mentioned above all allow you to move points around at a similar value per point.

FYI: You can use these on the Eurostar and coaches too. It’s not everyday fly!

(a) Earn points by shopping: It’s relatively easy to collect points throughout a calendar year. If you’re still living with your parents; living with friends or flatmates who can’t be bothered to collect points or your partner then your collecting power increases tenfold. If you haven’t already then you NEED to get a loyalty card for the supermarket. Tesco Clubcard and Nectar (Sainsburys)  both allow cardholders to exchange points and clubcard vouchers earned for Avios/BA Avios/Virgin Miles.  If you have a load of cards then make sure you download one of the many apps that allow you to store discount and loyalty cards onto your phone. My fave is the Stocard app on iPhone. There is an Android version too on the Google Play Store.

When doing online shopping you can earn points with the loyalty cards AND the airlines directly through their shopping portals. This usually involves signing into your account and clicking the referral link on their portals. They usually give points for shopping with big sites and retailers such as Argos; eBay; John Lewis or Amazon as well as plenty of others. But it’s important that you ~make sure~ you access the store of your choice through the site or you won’t be able to earn any points. They get a commission from the retailer for you doing so. Also this is where a bit of savvy (and maths) comes in. It helps beforehand to find out how much you can get for each £1 with each portal. If Nectar is giving 5 Nectar points per £1 spent on eBay but BA is offering 10 Avios per £1 you are better off this time buying off eBay through the BA Exec Club link. This is where some of the grunt work comes in but the number crunching isn’t as hard as it seems.

A tip: If there is something you like from a retailer and they aren’t on the portal: see if they have a store on eBay or Amazon or if another reputable seller is selling it online. If they are: buy that using the portal link! You’ll earn points for the exact same thing you wanted! Chances are that you’ll save money on the original purchase anyway.

Calculate how much Avios you could typically earn in a year here.

Calculate how far your Avios could go here.

(b) Credit Cards: 

If you have a generally decent credit rating (graduates this is more for you) then it may be useful to consider getting a credit card with one of the airlines or tha Avios one provided by Lloyds Bank. There is a much better and in depth guide on MoneySavingExpert by Martin Lewis here. But the gist of it is spend responsbily; budget well and spend what you’d usually spend from your own money on the card and pay the balance in full with the same.

You earn miles/points per £1 on most purchases (usually except gambling and adult services) and you get a sign up bonus too!

  • 20,000 Avios – American Express Gold;
  • 5,000 Avios – BA American Express;
  • 3,000 Miles – Virgin White;
  • 18,500 Miles- Virgin Black

 

(c) Spending Points: 

Collecting a million points won’t give you a free flight but it will give you a discount proportionate to how much you have. Regardless you will always have to pay taxes and carrier/airport fees. If you’re traveling on BA’s Business Class to Orlando and paying only £500 in fees for the privilege that is an awful lot better than paying well up to £5,000 for the same privilege. You can also spend points on non flight related expenditure including hotels; car hire and experiences or duty free. But points on duty free stuff is usually a crap deal! The general rule in frequent flyer forums is to compare the cost (in cash and in miles) for both buying a ticket outright or making upgrades. It’s generally a better deal to pay the base fare for an Economy or Premium Economy ticket and then use points to bump up where necessary. Points for economy flights are usually appalling value.

(d) Sharing Miles: 

Add your mum; dad; aunt; uncle; girlfriend/boyfriend; side-bae…. everyone. You can pool individual points and miles into a Household Account with certain schemes.

Remember miles are still cash. You bought something at some point and got them.

 

Corporate Discounts: 

If you work somewhere you generally get a good set of corporate discounts. i:e: Civil Service Social Club (CSSC) or Civil Service Motoring Association (CSMA) amongst others provide holiday and other leisure discounts for members. Trade unions and health insurance providers usually offer discounts too. If you’re a Vitality Health customer you can get up to two return flights per year with British Airways at a 40% discount.

Check with your employer/union/insurer for details.

 

Flexibility: 

Flexibility is key. Where you can find the time to toy about with your dates it helps, especially if you can travel to a given place out of season. You’ll have just an interesting time but at a lot cheaper price and less chance of a kid screaming on your flight every ten minutes.

Opposing Ports: 

The only people who probably have the luxury of juxtaposed ports are those living in London but this involves flying (or sailing or railing) out of a different port of entry to that you’re returning to. e:g: Flying from London Gatwick to Malaga (because I don’t want to take the 7am from Luton) but coming back to London Luton (because it’s cheaper and I don’t mind travelling from Luton at 3pm).

This may or may not involve flying out with two different airlines (two different bookings even… say British Airways (out) and Easyjet (in). It’ll involve a bit of digging.

 

Smaller Ports of Entry:

On the topic of ports it’s worth looking into the different options you have. For example flying into Paris. You have the spectacular choice of flying into not one, not two but three very different and steeply priced airports:

  • Charles de Gaulle;
  • Orly;
  • Beauvais

Each airport will cost significantly more or less than the other to fly to and that’s mainly determined by location and distance from the city centres. Same as my above example with the London airports right? London Heathrow is always at a premium because it’s Heathrow innit. Gatwick and London City will be the next ones up on the scale and at the bottom sit the likes of Luton, Stanstead, Southend etc…

Going back to my Paris example: Charles de Gaulle is 32 minutes from Paris by train; Orly is 45 minutes and Beauvais is 2 hours 42 minutes. Ryanair offers cheap tickets to Beauvais from London Stanstead… nuff said.

 

Red-Eye Flights:

Flying in and out at times nobody else likes>>>>

This may mean taking the first flight or train out at 7am. Although you have to get up at 5 and probs miss breakfast for whatever hard back bacon roll they’re serving onboard that morning: you ~do~ get to your destination earlier and have a bit more time to settle in so that is a pro more than a con!

The con: Having to fly into Gatwick at 03:00 and kill time until your train at 9am…

 

Cheap Digs: Booking.Com – Loyalty Pays! 

BOOKING GENUIS

From experience I’ve booked everything with Booking.Com and only recently have I decided to actually set up an account. Conferences; open days; link-ups; trips… everything. I’ve not yet found a rate cheaper anywhere else and in any instance, they’ll refund you the difference if you do.

Once you’ve hit five bookings in a row they add you to their Genius programme.  As a Booking.Com “genius” you get:

  • 50% off Hotels;
  • 10% off Selected properties;
  • Transfers;
  • Free welcome drinks/cocktails

If you ~are~ looking for a hotel you can get £15 off with my referral link here.

 

Really Cheap Digs: Hostels 

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I’ve had hit and miss experiences with hostels. When booking a hostel it is important to make sure you do your research. DO look at ALL the pictures on the website but also take a look at the reviews and study a handful of them carefully. It becomes easier to understand a fair review from something biased (or worse… fake!) quite quickly. Tripadvisor; Booking.com but also HostelBookers come with a decent amount of reviews for various properties.

Hostels aren’t all dormitories of 14 with the odd guy shifting funny in the shadows opposite. I’ve stayed at a number of hostels and the facilities were more than adequate. I shared in a mixed dorm of 14 (men and women) and got a good night’s sleep. Most simply used the room to sleep each night and that was it. Room was clean and people were respectful. As well as this, there was a communal kitchen and all cutlery was provided.

Leaving your stuff lying around in the sink was simply not tolerated. All you needed was to bring your own food! Label it though so you know what’s your’s but nobody will nick it!  As well as dorms, I’ve stayed in private rooms. So although the facilities (like shower and kitchen/eating space) will be communal, you can have a room to yourself and keep your stuff secure. Places with dorms usually have a safe behind reception. Dump your laptop in there, take your ticket and go!

 

Four wheels good. Two wings bad. 

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If you’re traveling to Europe from the U.K. it’d be useful to consider taking the coach or a ferry (ferries accept foot passengers). Coaches are not that uncomfortable and generally come with a plug and a decent reclining seat. Often of similar or better pitch than you’d find on an economy flight. Eurolines; Megabus and Ouibus all offer excellent deals.

Ouibus offer the cheapest fares while using the most modern coaches out there. A coach from London Victoria to Paris Bercy costs as little as 14€ (£12 to you and I) For your money’s worth you get an ergonomic reclinable seat; wifi; aircon; reading lamp and table; footrest and a plug socket. The night ride is usually calm and you’d leave at around 23:00 for an arrival by 07:00 the next day.  Ouibus also travel to Amsterdam; Lyon; Paris CDG; Brussels and Moutiers to name a few. The quickest London to Paris journey with Ouibus is 6- 7 hours.

A ferry costs around £15-30 a pop for foot passengers. P&O usually do a good deal here.

 

Flash sales:

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Flash sales generally pop up from time to time on the likes of Groupon: sign up here.   Even better are the flash sales on Voyage Privé… pretty much everyday is a flash sale. A range of destinations are available on the site (…and the app if you got that too!) from the mad and the “rah” to the humble staycation spot down the road in Cornwall or Birmingham. Yes there’s actually nice places hidden round Brum, I laughed too when I heard it! Having preed the deals for some time I’ve seen trips as heavily discounted as 80% 2 nights in a 4* in Amsterdam for £140 without flights… nuff said!

If you fancy oggling some travel porn with me on Voyage Privé you can have a looksie here

Tourists get robbed. Natives get shit done: 

I said what I said! 👏 👏 👏- If you want to travel; have the authentic experience and not pay and arm and a leg for the privilege… you need to move like a native. A quick browse online would give you a few tips on what to do; where to go; what to avoid. If you’re self-catering then avoid the mini marts in the tourist areas. There’s no point paying 2€ for 3 bruised tomatoes down the road when you can get a punnet of 10 from the Carrefour for 3€. See Trip Advisor forums or better yet look up British Expat forums and Reddit. That said it goes without saying to do some research before spending money at this big age!

 

Jon

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Getting into the Civil Service Fast Stream: Procedural musings of a Intern.

 

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As the latest and brightest of intake descend upon Whitehall for a summer not so ordinary, some of us are left feeling reflective upon how we got here. 

Where? Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) ran by the award-winning Civil Service Fast Stream. I’m pleased to say that I got here and by nothing less than fighting my way tooth and nail along the way too. While I’ve chosen not to share what department I am currently working for (I’m sure you can appreciate why), I have decided to be open about the application process and some things I’ve learned along the way. I’d hope that this will be of some use to those of you who may be considering making an application to one of the Fast Stream’s two internship programs in the near future.

The process is challenging and pushes you to raise questions and think about your own talents as well as your motivations for the scheme. However if you are bright and well prepared it soon becomes a walk in the park.

“Why am I even here?” : 

Experience. I’ve a fairly weighty CV and I’m far from short on relevant experience for the line of work that I’m after (law). Additional experience, however, doesn’t hurt if you can get it. Having previously come into contact with one government department or another as a service user or even through previous employment (UK Visas and Immigration; HM Courts and Tribunal Service; HMRC being a few) taking part in the scheme would give a more rounded view into said department’s work and the challenges they face in service delivery.

More experience. I’ve been looking for a chance to get a hands on opportunity in experiencing project management and delivery of large scale projects such as those you’d find in *redacted*. 

Options. It’s probably no secret that I’m pushing for a career in law. Ignoring the old adage “I’m not getting any younger”, I’m in no rush to become a lawyer anytime soon. With a varied experience and proven track record of delivery I feel I’d be as strong a candidate for a Trainee Solicitor position as I’d ever be. If I leave the internship and go down the Fast Stream route on graduation and enjoy it then so be it. I made my bed and I’m cosy in it. 

Tried and tested. One of my good friends currently works within *a government department* and has recently moved there from another. For a couple of years she’s been at it and has seemed to enjoy it. Alas… a lawyer to be also. If you’re willing to put the work in and are bright it becomes quite clear you can get on. 

Yeah? What now? : 

Well. Filling out the form wouldn’t go amiss. I filled out a basic enough questionnaire and gave a few of my details. I then had to complete a situational judgment test. I’m sure you will appreciate that I’m unable to expand on the kind of things asked. There’s no right or wrong. You simply read the scenario and consider what would be the most and the least favourable lines of action for you. 

Once that is out of the way, the recruitment staff at Parity (it’s outsourced) will review your application overall. If the SJT doesn’t show you up as a total liability or a complete and utter sociopath you will be offered the chance to provide additional information about yourself. You will have the opportunity to discuss your motivation behind applying to the Civil Service Fast Stream; what areas are of interest to you and provide competency examples. I’ll expand on these later but it will be of no more than 200-250 words each and are the key skills demonstrated by successful civil servants.  Think carefully about what your answers are in the bit which calls for your interests. From experience, they will finely tune your allocation to whatever you say in this section. These are not only seen centrally by CSFS but by your Department’s HR section. 

Competencies: 

HM Civil Service relies upon a framework of competencies in their recruitment and appraisal procedures. It is quite handily referred to as the “Civil Service Competency Framework”. For those unsure of how the Civil Service is structured: the Civil Service establishment is based upon grades. There’s 11 of them from Administrative Assistant (AA) to SCS Pay Band 4 (Permanent Secretary and Cabinet Secretary). For the purposes of the Fast Stream a newbie starts at HEO (Higher Executive Officer). The aim of the scheme (if you go down the grad scheme route after uni) is to become a Grade 7 by the time your four years are up. Starting around £50,123- £54,373 p.a)

These competencies focus on the following areas: 

  • Delivering at Pace; 
  • Managing a Quality Service;
  • Changing and Improving;
  • Building Capability for All;
  • Collaborating and Partnering;
  • Making Effective Decisions

Each competency is set out in the framework with a list of positive as well as negative indicators. The astute amongst us will read the list of positive indicators and develop one or two well drafted examples from either work; university or personal life that fit them perfectly. The clever; the savvy and the keen amongst us will look at the negative indicators also and spin them on their head for extra brownie points. The Civil Service focuses heavily on these competencies so it’s important to get them right and right first time. They’re keen on recruitment by merit so your grades (as long as it’s 2.2 trajectory or above); your university and your CV doesn’t matter one jot in this instance. 

When crafting your competencies out for these questions, and eventually that hallowed telephone interview, make sure that you use the STAR technique to properly structure your example. The recruiting staff want to know what YOU did and how YOU made things work. Nothing else. 

S– Situation (What was the issue you faced?); 

T– Task (What did you have to do as a result to improve the situation?); 

A– Action (What did YOU do as a result?); 

R– Result (What was the outcome as a result of YOUR actions; was there anything you could have done better upon reflection?) 

If Simon next to you mucked in and gave a hand in your scenario that is great and I am happy for you. Your interviewer may be happy to but they do not care. Your mate Simon isn’t applying for the role. That person in the hot seat is you. So keep it as focused as possible. 

The Telephone Interview: 

“Uhm. Ah.” *awkward pause* Expect it. It’s a fact of life. You will be asked a question and you won’t get it. You will feel taken aback or even not know what to say. It is fine. You can relax. It is a telephone interview. You can roll your eyes; cry; do jazz hands or even sit the entire thing naked if it calms you down. Just… er… draw your curtains or something because getting arrested half way throughout an interview is not a winning tactic. 

Again: because it is a telephone interview ,and non verbal cues are tricky to gauge, you can expect a few pauses throughout. This is normal and will arise from your interviewer trying to make notes as you go along. They may cut you off from time to time and you’ll talk over each other. This too is also normal. Just pause and calmly continue to re-iterate your point as before. 

You’ve made it all the way to this stage. Chances are that if you weren’t suitable for the Civil Service Fast Stream then Civil Service Resourcing wouldn’t waste the time or the money on allocating an assessor to ring you for 45 minutes to botch up. Make sure you speak confidently and with vim. You’re being assessed in the Leading and Communicating competency based upon how you manage to effectively present your points over the phone. 

Don’t bother asking the assessor what they know about how long it’ll take for you to hear a response. They won’t know. The first few questions asking you to introduce yourself and what you do at university won’t be assessed but it’s always good to ease yourself in and treat it as if you are.  You may rely upon the same competencies that you did in your written questions before but it may help to expand upon them so you give the interviewer enough information as possible required to make a well rounded assessment of yourself.

If you get it: 

Congrats! You’ve worked hard. If you’ve read this, read and taken heed of the competency framework and put the time and effort into your application then you’ve worked tooth and nail to get here also. Scheme allocation can take some time. For me it took no more than 14 days and I heard from my department relatively quickly after that. Depending on the department, you will be invited to have a chat with your Talent Acquisition team and discuss the role in further detail. The rest you will find out about on an as and when basis if you need to from your department. 

If you are looking to check out  any of the internship schemes with the Civil Service Fast Stream please do give me a shout if you want any advice or help with the application process. I will try to respond where I can. 

Twitter: @MrJrWarner

Email: Jonathan@omnibuslegal.com 

Until next time, 

In Defence of: The Unpaid Internship

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Starting point:

Meritocracy: I still just about believe in it. At risk of becoming unpopular I’m going to express my belief in unpaid internships but at risk of further becoming an online pariah I’m going to be upfront: Every internship I’ve taken on has been paid thus far bar one. I come out in defence of the humble unpaid internship but at the same time I think a few punches need to be swung from the corner of the bright-eyed and enthusiastic young keeno.

For better or worse unpaid internships not only have a place in the market across many professions but they also seem to be here to stay for the forseeable. For every employer keen to offer a new starter the chance to further develop their passion for a given industry, there are at least two other shysters lurking round the corner who are willing to wring dry and take advantage of an individual with no regard for the effect on that person as a being; their business and ultimately their profession at large. When approached correctly on both sides an unpaid internship can be worth it’s weight in gold (if not cash) for all of those who have an interest in it’s success.

Where it goes right:

Where an unpaid internship is successful someone somewhere has not only gained a colourful insight into their given profession but also the skills needed to move forward in it. A business has contributed towards the development of the next vanguard at the forefront of it’s market. If it goes really well then that business may have even got themselves a new member of staff. Not to mention it’s useful for the young upstart with little to no experience. It’s unfortunate but a simple reality of business insofar that an employer is less likely to part with it’s money than time in taking on someone without credentials or rapport: however formal or informal. If a particular intern turns out to be a “no-goer” they can be politely shafted out. The couple of days or weeks wasted won’t come back but lost hours dents one’s balance sheet much less than wasted BACS payments. Where entrepreneurs and business leaders are risk takers they aren’t daredevils. The hallmark of a responsible organisation (and ultimately employer) being the taking of calculated risks. The long and short of it being that it’s easier to get your foot in the door when money isn’t at stake.

Making it work: 

Irrespective of pay rate an intern has every right to expect a quality placement. Quality, although a subjective term should be taken for it’s meaning in every sense of the word. Assessing whether or not an unpaid work placement is quality (and stays that way) requires an extent of savvy on the aspiring intern’s part. As I said: subjective. In my eyes a quality placement is one that is clearly defined and sets out to provide the intern with a varied; well rounded and high standard range of work. Where there are opportunities to learn it should, in the ideal world, be offered at the drop of the hat but you’ll have to be proactive and ask for it. Picking up the industry mags; raiding the CPD material and the premises’ library; asking for the powerpoint slides from that AML seminar your opposite number went to last week. This not only shows your thirst to learn (hopefully y’all thirsty!) but already demonstrates you are a self-starter. If this doesn’t sway your current puppy-walkers to keep you then it’ll convince someone more worthy of retaining you instead.

From the point of initial contact through to your first day this will take some negotiation of specifics including:

  • Duration of the placement– Personally I’d not be taking anything greater than 6 months without pay. If you can’t afford to eat properly and survive then you won’t be any use to them.;
  • Hours– Again, if you need time spare to engage in paid work then this should be negotiated. 12 months full time unpaid is unsustainable for most people. If you are of comparatively reasonable skill and address this head on they ~should~ work with it.;
  • Expenses – In a normal job you are paid a salary. Needless to say, you are expected to cover your own transport costs to and from work as well as sustenance from your pay. Unless you’re the Wizard of Oz and can conjure up coin by tapping your feet: your babysitters are going to need to consider expenses for travel at the bare minimum. Keep a record of your Oyster top-ups/pay it on contactless and present redacted bank statements for each. Ideally, you should push for your lunch to be paid for but don’t hold out on it. Legally any expenses relating to travel; protective clothing/PPE or postage and communication is tax-free for interns unpaid. See more on the tax situation here.;
  • Exit–  After a while, it does nobody good to linger around and outstay your welcome. As an individual, you will stagnate and likely burn out whilst the company training you will likely be needlessly bleeding resources. It helps to have an exit strategy. One agreed with the provider of your placement: be it a view to employment. Any participation in training during the internship period etc. It also helps to have a few exit strategies lined up in your own mind. How will you leave when time has reached it’s end. How will you leave if things go left quickly.;
  • Obligations: Understand that while you are not employed there are no obligations on your part, provided you do not act unreasonably enough so as to cause a company , acting in good faith, a loss. If they’re rigidly enforcing hours and tasks upon you that is outside the remit or scope of an unpaid intern and you could argue that you are therefore employed. It’s happened before: leading HMRC to order unscrupulous employers to pay over £4.6million in unpaid minimum wage owed to their victims. Also see more here.

 

During any placement you’d want to consider training and development opportunities. I know I’ve rammed it home a few times but you’d be surprised what becomes open to you for free, particularly with a corporate email address. If it’s law that you’re after then come chat to me. Most of the bigger national and regional law firms offer seminars in respective practice areas for those interested. If you’re a student AND on internship then chances are you will be the only one at the early stages there. The show is yours… (I meant network mate. Not sing!) If it’s not law then I dunno as much but it’s out there so have a look!

Networking would also be a strong point in any unpaid internship. Tidy up your Twitter as well as setting up a LinkedIn if you don’t have one already. Browse your employer by company and have a look at the network. Add accordingly. Same with Twitter: search for individuals in your profession and if possible, within your organisation. Follow and make connections as appropriate. Channel the inner school child in you as you raise your hand and jump at the next opportunity to meet a client; regulator or other outside party. If you’ve left your placement without a permanent job or a couple coins but with a handful of networks and some quality experience to refer back to then you’ve left winning.

Closing Off:

The main aim of the internship game is not to leave just as tired as you were at the start and with an empty and vacuous CV entry which reads “I did filing and wrote correspondence” but rather a dynamic profile which can be referred back to on paper and in interviews. Ideally you’d leave with a set of experiences which are relatable to competencies looked for in your ideal job. You should be able to identify the point you are trying to make; the task done which backs it up and so on.

Do bear in mind after a while that you shouldn’t be too reliant doing unpaid stint after unpaid. Employers will eventually start to question why you aren’t good enough to be paid for your work after the fifth unpaid internship.

Until next time.

Jon

When Side Hustle Became My Mainstay.

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Last year I was feeling conflicted. I found myself in the midst of an internship at a busy high street law firm. I was happy in the shadows of promise that a Training Contract lay in wait for me once I graduate. I was also quite pleased that I was getting more work than I did previously at the local law centre as well as getting paid for the privilege of it.

The time spent proved to be valuable as well as insightful. It was far from the pace I was accustomed to in the law centre I was at before. Within the first few weeks, I was trained up in mental health law; given drafting books and shown previously done work and allowed to try my hand. I was keen to learn the nitty gritty as well as the bread and butter of the craft and so I was rewarded with such. There was no shying away from the 9am starts and 10pm finishes with only 20 minutes lunch break to spare for the whole duration. Neither side was bashful about the realities of visiting clients in secure units. (A secure mental health unit is a daunting experience for anyone) I craved and wanted more.

Over time, the placement became untenable and I soon found myself looking for something else. Instead of wolfing down a burger each working day, I’d find myself searching for Paralegal and intern vacancies elsewhere. (Not the wisest of idea on your lunch break!) Time passed and I found myself with internship no more and alas Training Contract in the bag it was not.

As I lay in wait for another opportunity to crop up, I decided to side-hustle using the skills learned from my past two placements. I dug out a copy of Bookkeeping for Dummies and took to the Companies House website. As well as being a perpetually disorganized s**thole, I found my bedroom was now the registered office of Omnibus Legal Limited.

Side-hustle. Now for mainstay. I ploughed on and I continue to plough on with Omnibus (probably helps if I explain what it is). Looking for a way of getting myself “out there” and hopefully demonstrating a bit of commercial awareness on paper I decided to freelance my Legal-Assistanting skills (is this even a word?) or rather what I have of it thus far. I found myself taking on a number of tasks following on from that which I was accustomed to. Anything I wouldn’t be familiar with is met with a short sharp “I don’t know.” Anything I’d not be sure about would be met with just as enthusiastic a farewell.

Spotting a gap with the many of my peers who are creatives trying to get their foot in the door or the many others who have side hustles, I’ve pitched up my stall and offered basic outdoor clerking to creatives and start-ups. The bulk of what I’ve done thus far involves drafting of contracts and documents. It is what it is. This aside, I’ve learned probably some of the most valuable lessons of all. Business! If keeping up to date on business news is commercial awareness then running a business is commercial awareness on speed. FAR from being the next Slaughter and May or Clifford Chance, I’m fairly pleased with what has been a fairly weighty risk has turned up. Risky because if you make yourself look like an idiot you’re finished because legal circles are small; risky because if you do balls up … well we all know what can happen. Risky because quite frankly nobody can pay a blind bit of interest at all: a bruised and dented ego but an unblemished reputation nevertheless.

I took the calculated risk nevertheless. I searched high and low for reasonable insurance coverage and took time to set up the financial side and the books. I learnt from the ground up the challenges of a small business. Building a very small but respectable enough client base. I learnt that and all by myself. I even discovered a bit about where my interests lie as well as others. I’ve worked with product designers and app creators to start with. How to carefully craft; package and market a product. I’ve learnt that and I’m still learning. It’s been a live learning experience thus far. Realizing I actually like business has been another shock to the system over the past year. *grumble grumble* “I don’t want to be a corporate sellout!!”.

Ah! A door opened yet again. Off the back of my own initiative, I secured work experience for a couple weeks at another law firm; a term-time internship offer from a commercial law firm and I start another this summer.

Needless to say, I want my Training Contract and I obviously won’t get it here. But being the pain in the neck I am, I’m curious as to just how far I can push it with Omnibus. I hope to start a team with at least two experienced paralegals and a supervisor to oversee and ensure quality. If so then great. If not then all love isn’t lost… back to poring over exams and TC apps as per. ~

Who’d have thought? I wouldn’t.

 

Jon

Instagram Releases Hidden Jobs Filter:

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Instagram. Insta. IG. Many an affectionate name for it but all the same content. Selfies; thirst traps; gym pics and the occasional shot of your meal.

How would you feel if I said you could find a job or some work experience through Instagram and not even a creative one at that?

 Would you think I was mad or just taking the piss? (Pardon my French señor.)

An outlandish statement. An out-there title. I got your attention and I got it good. I’m not about to yell “Surprise!” from behind the screen and lay on something completely irrelevant. Indeed, I’m going to follow through and tell you about Instagram’s hidden jobs’ feature. For this one I’m going to be a bit anecdotal from time to time as I go on. This is going to be a very visual post with a couple of screenshots.

I’ve managed to successfully network with a number of individuals throughout my intended profession (law) using Instagram. Needless to say, contact is taken further off Instagram as quickly as possible. Better yet, using Instagram it’s possible to grow a broader and more diverse reach through your professional networks. It’s actually where I found one of my first professional mentors.  I use a method that I like to call “mining”.

 

Mining and how it works:

Instagram is a social network. It’s consumer driven and we all know the main purpose is to share pretty photos or yet another tiresome meme. It isn’t meant for professional networking or recruitment but that doesn’t rule it out with a bit of savvy. So on the face of it the task looks nigh impossible unless you know how to use the features to your advantage.

We start by looking at people and how they act. People at work are people. People are social creatures. People have lives both in and outside of work, at times these paths may well intertwine. People will share aspects of their lives on social media and needless to say that may well extend to work. People.

Grab a blank sheet of paper and plan it out. Think of your industry and think of all the things associated with it. Think of places where people in that industry may be. It may well look something like this:

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(My handwriting is awful. So I use Notes for this instead as a quick example, I wrote much much more on my paper.)

Note, with Instagram you can search for things by hashtag. So try and look up those posts with hashtags. I’ve used #Avocats (lawyer in French) as an example.

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You can also look up by location. In this case I chose the Palais de Justice in Paris:

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Or you can look at profiles straight up:

 

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Approaches: 

If you’ve come across a private individual’s profile, it is usually a given that you don’t pester them privately with a message asking them about their work life with 101 questions. If you do approach them then do so carefully and with a great deal of tact. All it takes is a 10 second glance over a person’s profile. If they post a lot about their work or degree (say a bunch of law books or pics of them in a gown and wig) then it’s a lot more acceptable to approach them as opposed to someone with the one off picture in court and a bunch of pics with his wife and kids.

If you’ve come across the profile of a company or a charity (some organisations are trying hard and failing at the Instagram thing atm!) then obviously an approach is a lot more easier than the above.

A note on your own presence: 

Your personal social media is your own business. Whether or not you make the odd professional approach through Instagram it’s perfectly fine to maintain your own appearances on there. It’s personal. However, it is advisable to exercise some restraint. If you have umpteen pictures of yourself partying with mates or rolling round in the park with your dog nobody cares. If anything you have personality and that’s great.

Whereas if you’ve content which is sexual or which might otherwise come across as offensive then it might be advisable not to push ahead with this for a while (or clean it up a bit). If individuals or firms do look back at your profile for a cursory glance they may well not take you seriously.

 

The first step in getting your foot through the door in any profession involves demonstrating initiative as well as a bit of savvy. Finding creative ways of making your approach is just one of the ways in doing so and proving to potential employers that you have the ability to think on your two feet.

All the best,

 

Jon

 

Commercial Awareness: What; Why and How You Can Develop It.

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It’s become increasingly important for graduates to demonstrate commercial awareness. As abstract as the term appears, commercial awareness is far from a meaningless buzzword or just another obstacle placed by overstretched recruiters. Commercial awareness is a useful trait which will not only demonstrate what kind of worker you are but can also help supercharge your search for the ideal career.

So what is it then?

Commercial awareness is a rudimentary knowledge of the current landscape and it’s effects on your industry. If you’re looking for a Trainee Solicitor position in one of the big firms an example might be developments within Fintech or AML (anti money laundering) and you might ponder how that’d affect the Fintech industry. A fair few law firms do work with Fintech start-ups, it isn’t a fetish of mine! Employers want to know that you understand the market and how current affairs affect it. Most important of all: employers are looking to find out whether or not you can understand a client’s needs and whether you can think on your own two feet.

It comes across as a mammoth task but as a graduate the chances of a recruiter expecting anything spectacular is slim. Your knowledge need not delve deeper than what you might see flying across Twitter or in the Financial Times.

Sources: Social Media (Twitter)

I’m a bit of a prolific poster, chances are that you came across this article through Twitter or Facebook. Twitter is an essential weapon in the armoury for any jobseeker; student or graduate. Whether you’re looking or not it’s valuable because you never know what you may or may not find (or who will find you).

Follow industry publications as well as those working at the forefront. Get involved in the conversations as well as the tweet storms and hashtags. If you are on Twitter, start using the Lists function. With lists, you can segregate tweets by a cross section of listed users from the rest of the timeline. Helpful for when you want to take time out and read the latest on your industry. Separating the wood from the memes!

Sources: Business Publications and News.

Ten minutes a day reading the standard news publications. BBC News is alright. CityAM; Financial Times or the City pages of the DailyMail are pretty decent too. Don’t faff around with measuring bias or which one is left or right, you don’t have the time. Read your article and go.

Follow the publications (if you have Twitter) and stick them on alerts. You’ll probably hear your phone buzz off every few minutes with a new story. In the alternative you can put aside half an hour each evening to read and recap on the most relevant stories.

Source: Industry Specific Publications 

Industry specific blogs and newspapers. Solicitors have the Law Society Gazette; Barristers have Counsel Magazine; Chartered Legal Executives have CILEX Journal; people in advertising have Campaign Magazine. You catch my drift, where there’s an industry there is a hack. The list is far from comprehensive but Wikipedia has a decent enough list of trade magazines here. Have a proper search round on Google for more info or ask someone in the industry: it’s the perfect chance to network!

Source: The Market (Hear it from the horse’s mouth) 

It’s time for a bit of honesty right now. The majority of us will approach a firm or company’s website when we are about to apply for a job. This will often be the first; second or third time we’ve visited in the space of a month. It’s likely to either check out the requirements for the respective scheme, assuming they have one, or to otherwise apply or scope out ten facts about them to rehash into the “Why do you want to work for Brown and Co?” field.

Wrong. This is all wrong. 

A number of law firms; chambers; financial and professional services firms publish regular briefings on corporate blogs. They often comment on new legislation; cases; regulations and general changes to the market. Often placed under a “News”, “Blog” or “Insights” section they usually look like this or this. These briefings provide valuable information and are written in terms easy enough to understand.

Source: LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is the most neglected social network out there. If people don’t use it they don’t use it. In other words: for every person who doesn’t have a profile, there are 3 who don’t actively use theirs. LinkedIn users are probably best split into:

  • The Lurkers (Users who will stalk profiles and have a cheeky glance to find out where they believe they should be headed);
  • The Predators (These are hunter-gatherer types. I’m a self professed Predator. We lurk and hunt our next catch. You might get a request to connect. Chances are that you’ll get InMail if I find a particular point I can relate to. These individuals actively seek to connect. You’d almost think with such effort they were a salesman for Mercedes Benz.);
  • The Sharers (These individuals regularly post. They share links or regularly post verbose statuses that you may or may not read depending on how bored you are…. sorry I spelt “How much time you have spare” wrong  *eyes emoji* ) ;
  • The Zombie (These guys don’t do much. They actually don’t do anything. Their profile may as well have a fat cobweb as their display picture. They chucked their credentials on there when they first joined in 2010 but have gone through three positions since then and now expect a starting salary of £63,000.

(I will write something further on ” doing LinkedIn” at some point)

Source: Capital Moments

Swotting up in 140 characters or less. Capital Moments is a blog set up to provide quality commercial news content geared at young people as well as furthering personal development of young people and graduates. If nothing else, stick THEIR tweets on notifications. Stories are often concise enough and just as informative as you’d find anywhere else. Follow them on Twitter: @CapitalMoments!

What now?

These are but a few suggestions moving forward. You may choose to use one of or a combination of the above. You may even choose to go a completely different way but for most industries, whether professional services or creative, understanding your market as well as the clients can go a very long way in demonstrating that you are the ideal fit for an employer. Your job-search is also honed ever so slightly as you soon discover your tastes as well as where your interests lie over time. It also cannot be stressed enough that sharing of knowledge (and opinion) is key as it demonstrates  engagement as well an ability to make a valuable contribution towards the discussion.

If you have any comments about the blog post or any further tips to go with these then I’d be happy to hear it! Feel free to drop me a line on Twitter: @MrJrWarner or email me : Jonathan@omnibuslegal.com

All the best.

Jon

The Man With a Sharp Tongue: My Ambition To Become a Polyglot And Why.


A sharp tongue can cut through the greatest of borders. Having been raised in a Kweyol speaking household, languages and the concept of multilinguism is far from an alien concept. 

The Backstory: 

As mentioned before, I was raised in a Kweyol speaking household. Born to a father from Dominica and a mother British born and raised by Dominican parents (the flag flies high between these walls!), the language was and still is often heard flying around. But in the abscence of decent resources (my problem) and time (their problem) I found it difficult to take to the mother tongue. 

I “settled” with French. I remember trying to teach myself  French from the age of 7. The first addition to my library being the Gold Stars “My First 100 Words in French” sticker book. I beamed with every gold star, eager to eavesdrop on my parents’ conversations with my newfound vernacular. (French and Kweyol have striking similarities). I remember soon after pestering my mum to buy my first French phrasebook in a book sale at Willesden Library. The sheer fact that I remember as far back is probably testament enough… I love languages and I love Francophonie to be specific. 

My library soon grew. Numerous French dictionaries, short stories, CDs and Tapes later… donc alors here we are! 

I sat my GCSE and got an A. I was two marks off an A* at that! 
Fast Forward (French): 

A at GCSE French and a brief flirtation with AS level later… I’ve used very little of the language since and as such, slipped back in the regiment like discipline that I had from the past. I’ve lost most of it. 

I’ve gained a greater sense of direction in my life from starting my undergrad degree in law. The greatest aspiration being sitting a masters degree in France. It’s all well and good to rely upon tuition in the English language if you want to live in a book for two years. 

I’m not on that. I want to live and take French life, given the opportunity, with both hands. 

On that note, I visited the Institut Français based in South Kensington for inspo with my girlfriend, who is an amazing linguist herself may I add. I sat the placement tests offered and was surprised (and pleased) to find I was a borderline B1 (I’ll explain the framework below).  My speaking and listening a bit below par but that’s expected if you’ve not used it orally for some time. 

I’m on an ambitious enough target to become a strong B2/ borderline C1 (rudimentary fluency) by this time next year and to have learnt 681 of the most commonly used verbs by the end of the year… modest enough target of 3 verbs per day. 

Donc alors. C’est tout! 

On the other hand I’m juggling Mandarin Chinese too. For less grand reasons than the above: I just want a challenge… that and one day I fancy a jaunt to Hong Kong. 

I’ve saddled myself up with the amazing Chineasy books and a few dictionary. It’ll be a more arduous and challenging experience than what’s really just a “refresher and tweak” of my French but just as romantic an experience. Especially when dating someone who knows Korean!
A whole new world:

For me, the idea of becoming a polyglot is an experience and a lifestyle more than a quirk. It can help break down borders; forge friendships with the unlikeliest of people and even take your career in directions you’d never have set course for initially (evidently). 

The greatest attraction towards polyglotism for me is the immersion into the lifestyle and cultures of a totally different land to your own. I soon forget I’m sat within a maisonette in London’s zone 3 as I start to pick up bits and bobs of the other country’s culture; beliefs; rules and systems; cuisine and even their politics. 

Hands up if we know our Farage from our Fillon and Fung!
I’ll drop in from time to time and share my experiences on this. No doubt I’ll be tweeting vociferously about it too!
Speak soon! 

A bientôt! 

很快
This one is for Sylviane and Nazlin. Two of France’s finest. 

The greatest of big ups ,however, go to my mum and dad. You couldn’t find more patient or supportive parents if you tried to this day. 

Big birthday big ups to Sadé. She knows why 👀. But more important of all follow her Korean and Swahili journey : http://www.twitter.com/SadeOkayla  

Feeling 21: My tender struggle with alcohol.

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It’s not something I’d have expected at 21. It’s not something many would expect of a 21 year old but I genuinely had to face up to it. I had a drinking problem. At our age the intersection between “problem” drinking and the usual studenty loutish behaviour. However I was staring a problem in the face and didn’t accept it at the time nor understand how to work my way out of it.

I was 21 and I had a drinking problem.

Drinking became pretty much a focal point of my life. Consumption of alcohol became my solution when I was upset or stressed; excited and even when I was bored. It hampered my relationships at home; in uni and elsewhere. Far from being the sloppy fall over yourself drunk most times, I still managed to conduct myself in a relatively articulate way. Many a time, a very ill advised message or post was the result of a poorly timed binge.

It helped me laugh when I wanted to laugh but could only cry about things.

It helped me escape when I’d only get consumed within my own headspace further.

It helped me forget. It helped me sleep when I felt sleepless nights coming on.

It never helped. It made things worse.

Then came the reality. The stone in Kensal Green Crematorium. Next to it, a singular black urn. Diminutive in stature, quite plain and filled with ash. It was my uncle. Julian “James”: a man of pride, personality and great stature. Problematic he was at times. We loved him. If families were corporate, the man would be the face and brand of our family. He truly lived for the sake of living and had not a bad bone in his body. He was an alcoholic. He succumbed to it and paid the ultimate price.

Mum hated it. I thought she nagged. I thought she was over protective. She always bought up Uncle Julian. “Alcohol killed my brother Jon.” Words etched onto my mind even to this date, during the good days.

Little did I know, she had the foresight of some of the most damaging set of decisions I’d make in my life. It lead to a very difficult situation, I won’t go into, which only cleared itself up last month… almost two years on.

I struggled to maintain friendships, I was a burden on those I loved the most with my behaviour and I developed a reputation. One not unfair but one that couldn’t be further from the truth. Only too distant from the true me that I feel edging back slowly. Once again I grow as a person. Once again, I gain the fore and hind sight needed to prevent myself slipping into the same old ways.

No longer attending conferences, only to wake up on some stranger’s floor in a village ten miles away soiled in God knows what, No longer feeling borderline suicidal when I can’t cope. I sat down and had a long hard discussion with my family, given the ultimatum: start to clean up in 2 months or be out. No longer downing a bottle and a half of wine and shots every other night… actually affording to live life as a student and not pissing it up the wall in the bar.

These days I rarely drink. I’d probably drink when I go out and usually alongside a meal. I don’t miss it… even without those few and far between moments, I’d still not miss it.

I truly wish that I had the foresight to realise that I wasn’t being “just a student” and listened to the friends around me who said I had an issue as well as my mum. Disappointingly enough the students unions and universities across the country, for fear of losing out on revenue created in the bars, don’t offer sufficient enough help to tackle binge drinking. If they did, I’d not be trying to rebuild elements of life a year and a bit on. Some do but it’s far and few between.

If people say you have a problem or you feel like you do then please get help.

The first step is texting “Mind to 62 266. Its free, discreet online therapy by the NHS (IESO). Failing that speak to someone. A friend or family. A GP or consult Alcohol Aware.

In the alternative, I’m always open to having a chat.

Apologies for the long and disjointed post. I’ll be back on the law!

 

Until next time:

Jon

Their Life. Your Hands: Interning in a Mental Health Law Firm.

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A friend. A social worker. A listener. A mental health advocate is not any one of these things but a culmination of all three and so much more. Your client’s life. Your hands. Appreciation of the gravity of things is essential. I spent four months last year working at a law firm that specialises in mental health and given a considerable amount of responsibility as a Legal Assistant. It was challenging; draining and rewarding all the same. All the decisions made in this area of law has an overreaching effect on a person’s entire life. Arguably more than areas of chancery (property/business), where an individual can pursue through the courts and arguably more than crime where one relies upon a significant burden of proof as well as the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

If you are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, often referred to as “sectioning“, this has extensive ramifications on a person’s liberty and even their property. It has been said that the form used to admit someone under the Act is the most powerful bit of paper in the land. Detention for assessment under S.2 can be as long as 28 days. Further detention for treatment under S.3 can be as long as 6 months initially, extendable by another 6 and then continuously by another 12 subsequent. The requirement? A subjective assessment of the patient’s condition and the recommendation of two clinicians.

No evidence. No court. No judge. (or at least not yet anyway). A patient or their nearest relative’s chance to challenge their detention lies with the First Tier Tribunal. A panel of three chaired by a Tribunal Judge which sits in private makes the decision as to whether a patient can be rightfully detained or not. This said, patients have the right to make an informed decision as part of their Article 6 rights to have a hearing heard in public as a result of AH -v- West London Mental Health Trust [2011] UKUT 74 (AAC).

Mental health law is broad; challenging; varied and eye opening. Every client has their own story and we often come across them at the most turbulent and distressing chapter of it. If you’re lucky enough, you may well see that client through to another. Often, the revolving door of the mental health system opens itself up for you with others. It wasn’t uncommon to see six files for the same person  in the office. Having been detained multiple times, we’d often undertake the property affairs of that client; defend them against possession proceedings started by their landlord if we feel they’ve been discriminated against for their illness and so on.  Tribunals isn’t the be all and end all of mental health law.

You will need to subsidise your billable hours with additional fee earning work at times. Nobody can fulfill billable hours on tribunal appearances alone, private client will keep you afloat also. The pay isn’t as glamorous as that of Clifford Chance but you’ll be able to go home by 5 at the latest with a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You’ll not be stuck doing routine stuff or document review… trust me, they made the rest of us do it for a not insignificant amount of time!

You will need to have an open mind and remain focused during the most tense of situations. Clients in distress is not an uncommon instance nor is having to visit a client in a secure unit. My first visit was at a forensic secure unit in East London. Walls towering to the heavens; razor wire glinting in the torrid July sun and doors slam shut. I was greeted with a little pully thing to clip on my belt. “Is this an ID or something?” “It’s a panic alarm, tug at it and we will run.” …Sweet! It’s a shock to the system and mental health isn’t for everyone but it’s certainly rewarding for those who are up for the challenge.

In return for your enthusiasm and passion in improving people’s lives while at their lowest, you will find an environment that’s thriving and intellectually stimulating to work and study in. The promulgation of new law is endless. Statutory framework may remain constant but the precedent set by cases is continuous. It’s black letter law in it’s truest form. You will at times, intersect with other areas of law such as human rights; housing and even wills and intestacy. Court of Protection cases will become your mainstay. Cases which decide everything from one’s capacity to the displacement of a nearest relative or next of kin. Their life. Your hands. 

It was only four or so months but enter the mythbusters! No, there aren’t rousing therapy sessions on the ward. Closed doors and the occasional questionable smell reminiscent of school dinners, the sad state of our mental health system means that the average NHS psychiatric ward resembles battery hens in a chicken coop. No the average client isn’t violent and even so, you wouldn’t be left at risk of harm. Yes, they strip search us to get in… no of course not, don’t be stupid!

Your work doesn’t stop at getting someone out of hospital and into the community with suitable treatment. Some cases will be hopeless ones from the start, others will be someone who needs a helping hand in building their life from scratch.

Their life. Your hands. 

Tax Law: Are You Ready?- Life Studying The Tax Modules.

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Jaffa Cake: Biscuit or Cake? Brexit: Does it really mean Brexit and will we make a success of it? The past few months I’ve had to ask myself the big questions and all the others in between. From the role taxation plays in modern society to whether it’s fair that foreign athletes are taxed in the U.K. It’s 10am, Saturday morning at Torrington Square. In a room almost devoid of all natural light, a group of 13 are lined up regimentally and armed with MacBooks and a plethora of cups from Costa and Starbucks. Is that a soy latte or hot chocolate? Who cares, that’s not why I’m here. My thoughts are now disturbed by the dynamic discussion going on around me. Ah! double-taxation treaties. Got it.

Tax Law I and II.

The story starts in summer of last year, where I and many others at Birkbeck were left the daunting task to pick optional modules for the next year. By now I’m sure you can guess that I picked tax! I picked Fundamentals of International and UK Tax Law as well as the Advanced Issues in International Tax Law module. Context sorted.

The course has so far proven as intellectually challenging as it is broad in it’s scope. From the first module, hereinafter referred to as “Tax I”, I gained a comprehensive study of how the law operates around taxation in the UK. I also stretched and challenged myself with UK tax legislation pertaining to the EU; the effects of Brexit on our tax system (which remains a great unknown to this day). Tax is a black letter law topic, so if you like your law down to the tee then you’ll enjoy it. At a number of opportunities our discussions would deviate from the law and towards policy too. Put simply: Tax is a broad subject and you can latch onto and run with whichever bit takes your fancy. I’ve been fortunate to be taught by a practitioner who having once worked as a Tax Manager at PwC Caribbean then qualified as a Barrister on secondment. He’s now a Trainee Solicitor at a UK city firm. I couldn’t have been more privileged to get onto such a highly sought after module.

The concept of studying tax did not faze me, armed with a GCSE Maths at C grade and an E in my Economics AS level many moons ago (I don’t admit to that one often!), I was slightly gutted to see that there wasn’t much maths to it. Actually there is no maths to it! If you are willing to approach an area of law that is constantly changing with an open mind and a keenness to engage in debate then tax is probably for you. If you still have reservations; are looking for the fabled “easy module” then I encourage you to pick up a textbook and give the subject a serious thought. Davies: Principles of Tax Law by Geoffrey Morse is a comprehensive and simple enough  text to understand for the student and uninitiated “pre-student” alike. If you end up studying the module then you’d probably use the text routinely anyway.  If you still aren’t convinced or aren’t prepared for a module where you have to remain engaged you should probably review your options.

Where does this new found interest in tax leave me? In the midst of choosing my options after undergrad, I’ve started contemplating an LLM specialising in tax law. An LLM has always been my next step but in short, I think I’ve hit things off with tax, particularly relating to tax evasion and enforcement.

I’m in the process of writing up my notes for Tax I into my notebooks, so if you are curious as to the content of the tax modules then please do get in touch and I’ll be willing to chat things over with you.

FYI, to answer my question above: Jaffa Cakes are a cake for tax purposes. Chocolate covered biscuits are liable for VAT whereas chocolate covered cakes are not! 🙂 … if you were curious after all.

All the best with your studies chaps!

 

Jon