Your journey to pupillage
I went back to university at the age of 26 to study law part-time alongside working at a law firm. During this period, I realised that it was the Bar or bust for me.
At this time, I was taking part in lots of mooting and there were many highlights, including winning the National Speed Mooting competition and appearing in front of Lady Hale PSC in the Supreme Court.
Then, while I was in the last year of my undergraduate degree, I applied for pupillage and scholarship. I was fortunate enough to be offered both, one of which was pupillage by Kings Chambers, which was my first-choice set.
The pupillage experience
I was first drawn to Kings Chambers by their reputation for excellence, the quality of their work, and the friendliness of barristers and staff when I visited the mini-pupilage fair.
This initial experience carried on into pupillage which proved to be thoroughly enjoyable and productive. I learnt a tremendous amount.
In the first six, there was a real focus on drafting and my writing improved significantly, but there was also always an explanation as to the tactical thinking surrounding JSMs, trials and applications. There was a real education in the aspects of litigation too which you don’t really find in books, and I felt that I developed a commercial understanding of how to run a case, as well as a legal understanding.
In my second six, alongside doing my own work, I was fortunate to be able to continue being involved in my second six supervisor’s practice. This was really beneficial, as conducting your own cases and trials gives you a different perspective from which to absorb information and learn.
One thing that really helped with my development was always receiving extensive feedback on every piece of written work which my supervisor and I would discuss. On top of this, there was a monthly review which gave me a clear idea of how I was progressing and highlighted the areas that required improvement.
From the very beginning of my pupillage I was also fortunate enough to be involved in complex multi-million-pound cases which were a real learning curve.
I’m pleased to say that following my pupillage, I continue to have great relationships with both of my supervisors who I often turn to for advice about my own practice.
The whole team at Kings is incredibly supportive, and I came out of my 12 months of pupillage with a book of contacts who are genuinely happy to help wherever they can. This makes you feel very secure.
From start to finish you are supported every step of the way, and also have fantastic opportunities to network, attend events with law firms, and build up relationships. My pupillage experience at Kings Chambers is one that I’d recommend to anyone.
The transition from pupil to tenant
It was a really smooth experience as I was already doing my own fast track trials during pupillage which continued into early tenancy.
The work did progress soon after that, however the day-to-day of being on your feet was largely the same.
I’d also say the transition was aided by the fact that, at Kings Chambers, you are treated as a member from day one and are always consulted about your practice and workload even as a pupil.
What is your practice like now?
I am in court every day covering various matters, and my paperwork practice is ahead of where I thought it would be at this stage.
I have also already had the opportunity to settle pleadings which have been issued in the High Court, conduct inquests, and start a practice in military work.
Fortunately, the progression to clinical negligence work was quick, and the opportunities to develop your practice are plentiful.
Of course, it can be intense at times, there is no denying that, but that is life at the Bar, and if you enjoy the work then that helps enormously. Plus, the clerks are always on hand to accommodate holidays or time off.
What is the culture of chambers?
The best way to describe the culture at Kings Chambers would be friendly excellence. Everyone at chambers is top of the class at what they do and while you are expected to rise to that, you will always receive maximum support in reaching those levels. Ultimately, everyone wants to see you succeed and be happy while doing so.
Another standout feature is the quality of the clerking and support teams, who are exceptionally good. I’d heard about their reputation before I arrived, but it is only when you start to work with them that you realise just how good they are.
Outside of work, we have a very healthy social life too. Events are held every month and are always lots of fun!
Top tips for those wanting to become a barrister/secure a pupillage at your chambers
My top tip would be to download the Professional Statement from the BSB website. This document outlines what our regulator considers to be the key attributes a barrister needs on the first day of practice.
Refer to it regularly and ask yourself how you could evidence each attribute. If there are any gaps, try and fill them!