On my first day of pupillage, I did not know what to expect. I knew the basics of what pupillage was supposed to be like but practically I really had no idea. I thought it would be like an extended mini-pupillage, however although in a mini-pupillage you get a taste for what pupillage is like, the “full-fat” version is more hard-work, more mentally stimulating, more stressful, more rewarding and more fun.
On my first day I came into chambers and was shown to my room. There I met my pupil supervisor and from then onwards I was immersed in my supervisor’s busy practice.
In the first week we were in court twice and in the second, I spent three days with my supervisor in Kent observing an Employment Tribunal hearing. Throughout pupillage, this continued and I was in court on average of once or twice a week, either with my pupil supervisor or another tenant. All of which was invaluable experience and each day felt like a new adventure.
My supervisor would give me the instructions he received first and I would work on them, whether it was drafting, giving advice or even prepping for a trial. This meant I was working on exactly the same cases that he was and gave me such a great insight into what it was actually like to be a barrister. We would discuss cases throughout the day and ask each other’s opinion. This opportunity to learn from an experienced practitioner was second to none and really what stood out for me as being the most rewarding part of pupillage.
The areas of work my supervisor specialised in were varied and ranged from defending personal injury claims to representing parties in the coroners court. Some cases could be weird and wonderful with interesting litigants in person and certainly prepared me to expect anything when on my feet.
Another rewarding aspect of pupillage was being able to bounce ideas off tenants. Everyone was very friendly and i did not feel like I was disturbing anyone when asking for an opinion, it was the opposite, everyone was so glad to help, but everyone in pupillage should be expected to get involved.
I had the opportunity to undertake work for other members of chambers too and because everyone had their own specialisms, I was able to work on even more varied cases in areas such as aviation and banking.
Outside of work, life in chambers was also great fun. Whether it was drinks at the pub on a Friday night or the sponsored London Legal Walk, you really felt like a member of the team and these opportunities were a great chance to get to know everyone.
Whether I had been in court, drafting, giving opinions, in the library researching, writing articles for the chambers’ website or even socialising, first six pupillage at Chambers was a package and one that I know prepared me not only for my second six, but also set me up for my first years as a junior practitioner.