Your journey up to now
I have always been interested in the law and knew that I wanted to practise law from when I was in secondary school. I studied for my law undergraduate and master’s degrees at UCL. Whilst at university I took part in mooting and negotiation competitions organised by the Law Society. During my year on the BPTC I also mooted in the Inner Temple Lawson Moot.
I started work with LPC Law in November 2017, shortly after completing the BPTC. During the course of my studies and after I started work, I undertook mini pupillages at chancery and common law sets, which confirmed my desire to be a barrister. I had applied for pupillage in each year after starting the BPTC, and I was successful in obtaining pupillage at 9 Stone Buildings to commence later in 2022.
Your decision to join LPC Law
My first encounter with LPC Law was at a careers fair in London. I wasn’t aware of LPC Law’s work until that point, but I was intrigued by the opportunity to get advocacy experience following the BPTC. Until that point I had only had the opportunity to practise advocacy in an academic setting, although I had seen barristers in court during my mini pupillages. I decided to join LPC Law to get that crucial courtroom experience.
What is your work like now?
My current workload ranges between one to seven hearings in a day; typically I will attend either one or two small claims trials, or a larger number of shorter hearings such as mortgage possession or bankruptcy matters. My typical working week has evolved over time; when I started work at LPC Law I would be instructed on relatively short and uncomplicated hearings, I am now often instructed on more time-consuming trials and heavier applications. Throughout my time as a self-employed advocate, I have experienced no difficulty in receiving enough work to keep busy, I can’t recall a time when I was available in the diary but not allocated a hearing to attend. In my experience, the flexibility of managing my diary has meant that I’ve been able to maintain a good work/life balance. Cases are usually assigned sufficiently far in advance to ensure that I have enough time to manage reading, research, printing the papers and liaising with clients. As with all freelance advocacy-based jobs, there is always the chance that an urgent or last-minute job will arise which can necessitate longer hours.
What are your future ambitions?
My ambition was to obtain pupillage and practise at the Bar. I would consider that my experience at LPC Law has proved invaluable in achieving that goal. Without attending court on a regular basis, I would not have developed my confidence in advocacy to nearly the extent that I have done. Attending court also means that advocates can get familiar with the practicalities of how courts work and how judges make decisions.
I would say that working on a self-employed basis for LPC Law has also helped me get used to working under time pressure, which proved useful when doing pupillage interviews. For example, in my daily work I have often dealt with last-minute changes to my instructions or new points raised by defendants. By getting used to those in a real-world setting, I was better able to cope with them in pupillage interviews.
What is the culture of LPC Law?
I have worked for LPC Law as an Assistant Advocacy Manager (responsible for ensuring that advocates’ hearings take place as expected and answering their legal queries – amongst much else) and as an self-employed advocate, which was my original role. LPC Law’s offices in Greenwich are modern and spacious, with each team working as a distinct unit. I found the atmosphere in the office very professional and supportive when I made the change from advocate to Advocacy Manager.
Everyone in the team would chip-in and support me on matters as varied as a particularly thorny legal question or simply navigating an unfamiliar IT system. That same atmosphere is reflected in the assistance LPC Law provides to its advocates, primarily through the Advocacy and Diary Clerk teams, but all teams pull together to try to provide as much assistance as possible.
As a self-employed advocate life is slightly different in that I work from home and travel to courts throughout the South-East and sometimes beyond. LPC Law arranges social events for advocates to attend on a regional basis, in addition to yearly training which typically took place in London pre-pandemic. At court, there is a decent chance of running into fellow LPC Law advocates, and it can provide a good way of building up contacts with people in similar stages of their careers.
Top tips for those wanting to become a barrister/advocate
My top tip for those wanting to become a barrister or advocate would be to seek out as much experience of advocacy as you can, whether that is through attending a court case that sounds interesting, doing mini-pupillages or volunteering. In particular, I would recommend trying to get experience of everyday cases such as the work done in the Magistrates Court or County Court as that is often where advocates and barristers will start out their professional careers.
I would also strongly recommend getting involved in mooting at university and beyond. The skills used in mooting transfer very well into courtroom experience.