Do Trainees And Pupils ‘Contribute Nothing’?

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At 2.30pm yesterday Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge was beginning to panic. The arranged guest for the #RoundMyKitchenTable podcast – hosted by Alex and rising star lawyer Kevin Poulter – had pulled out. With recording due to begin at 530pm, what was Aldridge going to do?

Lord Denning: disappointed to miss out on Legal Cheek podcast appearance

Grabbing his grubby laptop, the gutter legal journalist logged into the Legal Cheek twitter account and put out a desperate plea. Much to his gratification, thousands of people responded, including Cherie Blair, Kenneth Clarke and even the great Lord Denning.

But in keeping with Legal Cheek’s commitment to keeping it real, Aldridge selected @Safety_Valve, a pupillage-less BPTC graduate with a first class degree and an Oxbridge masters.

Hours later @Safety_Valve was sitting around Aldridge’s kitchen table, having wine poured for her by the always-attentive Kevin Poulter. The trio’s discussion – featuring unmissable chat about the ‘pupil vs coffee’ affair which saw Simon Myerson QC argue that pupils “contribute nothing” to chambers – is below for your convenience.

For #RoundMyKitchenTable on iTunes, click here.

1 Comment

Simon Myerson

Obviously Oscar Wilde was correct when he said that the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about, but I am bound to say that I have found this discussion rather unfortunate.

The discussion here proceeds on the basis that those taking part in it can read my mind. In context, my comment about pupils was made as a response to a proposal to pay a minimum of £25k a year. As I am entirely available, I would (gently) suggest that those who want to know what I think actually ask me, rather than speculate about it. That is not only polite, but it is also the intellectually rigorous way to approach the discussion.

If, on the other hand, the aim is just to beat up a bit of publicity, then I’m out. I write about pupillage for love, not money. The fees from the limited advertising on the blog go to the Middle Temple Scholarship Fund and I spend hours answering emails and looking at CVs. The proposition, adopted without any consideration of those facts, that I am dismissive of pupils and pupillage candidates is unhappy. I’m a big boy and, although, alas, not near retirement as suggested by some of the panellists (who perhaps had better things to talk about?) I can take it. But if prospective applicants are put off asking for help then that is a very real disservice. If we are serious about helping pupillage candidates then let’s have a real discussion: if we aren’t then I’d be grateful to be told.


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