7 June 2019

A former Birkenhead Sixth Form College student’s law career looks on track to be a huge success after he won a highly competitive Bar scholarship.

Carl Whittam, who was part of the College’s Class of 2016, came through a selection process of around 5000 applicants to secure the scholarship with Inner Temple, worth nearly £20,000.

To be called to the Bar and practice as a barrister, lawyers must belong to one of the four Inns of Court, and Inner Temple, with its headquarters within the City of London proper, is one such Inn.

Having studied Biology, Applied Science and Geography along with Law at the College, Carl then went to the University of Northumbria to read for a degree in Law and is now in his final year before he can practice.

Carl said: “I had a few different career ideas before I started at the College. I’d never studied Law before and from the first year I was just really interested in it. I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t interested in the glamourised side of being a barrister from what you see on TV, but taking Law for A Level let me see what it’s like in reality and prepared me for what’s involved.”

Carl, second from left, while shadowing a tribunal judge while on the Pathways to Law programme which the College works with and send students on each year

During his time at the College, Carl was taught by Vice Principal and former solicitor Paula Blakemore, for whom Carl had glowing praise:

“I genuinely cannot stress how much of an influence Paula has had on me. I wouldn’t have got to university without her, I wouldn’t have got this scholarship and I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. College was two of the best years of my life.”

Benefitting from the College’s inclusive ethos and commitment toward social mobility, Carl has also found that the case with Inner Temple.

On beating thousands to the scholarship, Carl explained: “I think I might have been successful because of my background. I come from a single parent, low income family and I don’t think people see that too much in this walk of life. They saw how far my determination had taken me.

“Actually, when I walked into the room, the interviewers said that they’d been having an interesting debate about my application. I just replied ‘all good stuff, I hope’, but it was only after leaving the interview that I thought that I should have asked what it was that they were talking about. I plucked up the courage to knock and go back into the room, and ended up speaking to them for another 20 minutes. It was all about my background.”

Carl said that he wasn’t set on a particular area of law yet, but medical law appealed to him. In any case, given his track record of drive and ambition, he’s bound to make a success of anything he chooses.

For more on studying Law at the College, click here.