The Legal Cheek View
Nestled in between Chancery Lane and Lincoln’s Inn, and accessible through the Dickensian Bishop’s Court’s alley, Hardwicke’s environs are about as barristery as it gets.
So entering the set is something of a surprise. Rather than wood panels and portraits of great judges of yesteryear, the visitor finds themselves in what feels like a little piece of the City of London transported to the Inns of Court.
“Modern and functional,” is how one insider describes it, while another praises the “reassuringly expensive” décor. Internal bike racks and a table tennis table add a hipness rarely found in this part of town, while a full-time chef is on hand to cater for regular events.
Hardwicke’s barristers to a certain extent reflect the surroundings, with a number of former solicitors among a host of career changers. Those who come straight from bar school are notably down-to-earth types. “Basically there’s no ‘template’ for Hardwicke membership – if you have the capability to be a great barrister, there will be a place for you regardless of background,” says pupil barrister Simon Kerry, who spent four years as an accountant at PwC before switching to law.
What The Junior Barristers Say
Simon Kerry spent four years as a tax associate at accountancy giant PwC before joining Hardwicke as a pupil. A “love for advocacy” prompted his career switch, he says, adding: “I like the excitement of being on my own and being responsible for performance and advice”.
The support during pupillage “could not have been better”, Kerry reveals. The 12-month pupillage sees pupils complete three City law firm-style seats with three different supervising barristers. This unique approach allows pupils to develop a broader understanding of Hardwicke’s specialisms and the different ways its tenants approach their work.
Pupils start their first six observing and learning from barristers in a “safe space where there’s no stupid question”, according to Kerry. This coupled with continuous feedback and open communication means pupils at Hardwicke are given the best possible start. “Everyone wants you to succeed and to give you every reason to succeed”, he adds. Pupils receive specialist advocacy training at the start of their second six through a series of advocacy exercises held in chambers. This prepares pupils for court and ensures they avoid simple mistakes.