Disclaimer

This blog represents my views and opinions. They are not necessarily those of any other member of my Chambers, none of whom contribute to the blog, or assist me with it.

Editorial

Now moved to http://pupillageandhowtogetit.wordpress.com/ for reasons of convenience and ease. Come and see.

Friday, 4 May 2007

The Mini Pupillage

You should do these. Remember that the vast majority of mini-pupillages these days are assessed. There is, therefore, an element of risk.

It pays to:
1. Write your application letter on the basis that it's as hard to get a mini-pupillage as it is to get an interview.
2. Say why you want to go to that set of Chambers.
3. Apply early. I emphasise this point. Often first come is first served.

It pays not to:
1. Do your first mini-pupillage at your dream set.
2. Fail to clue yourself up on the place you're going to and the type of work they do.
3. Fail to turn up at all, or fail to turn up on time every day, or ask for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off. Don't laugh - it happens. Actually, do laugh; if the competition wants to commit hari-kiri why should you worry?
4. Fail to dress the part. I'm sure I shouldn't have to say this but Court Dress still means something. Think about the message you're sending in your velvet jeans (female) or sarong (male). It might just be me getting old but I don't think so.

Once in Chambers you will inevitably come into contact with the members. Ask, why are they called 'members' of Chambers? Right. So, unless you have specifically been told that you are being looked over with a view to an offer, it is unlikely that your mini-pupillage will register with anyone to whom you are not directly attached. Therefore, please don't tell everyone about your burning desire to be a barrister. They already know. Everyone has a burning desire etc etc...

Your aim as regards your mini-pupil master should be for him/her to say what a joy you were to have around. No-one but the poshest or most pretentious sets expects you to be at a stage to contribute very much. Everyone remembers the mini-pupil whose company they enjoyed.
If you're given something to do don't say that you can't do it - the person who asked you already knows. Do the best you can with the knowledge you have.

Remember, in most sets everyone who takes you somewhere will add something to your record. By and large the decision to interview you or not will be made very shortly after you leave.
Also, you should expect the person you're with to buy your lunch. If they don't then think twice before applying. You are entitled to be looked after properly and that means that your pupil-master should be nice to you as well as the other way round.

Don't be aggravating. This is important. We know you're nervous. But asking bloody silly questions shouldn't make you feel better. If you can look it up then you should have done that already. If you have looked it up and can't find the answer it's either a very good question or a very bad one. Well, this is a job centring on judgment. Choose.

Don't be a space invader. If your mini-pupil master's trolley is running over your feet, you're too close.

Do enter into the spirit of it all - go for a drink, have a laugh. But try and be average. I had a pupil who drank so much on their first weekend out with Chambers that they suffered an embarrassing accident... No one will ever forget but ask yourself, is that why you want to be remembered? And if the answer to that question is 'yes' then stand for Parliament.

1 comment:

Oliver said...

Simon,

Just a general comment about your blog-

I think you should be congratulated for providing honest, realistic advice that aspiring barristers can trust. A vast number of sources will tell the future Law student that the Bar is a risky profession to enter, but that sort of advice is much more credible when it is given by an experienced practitioner. Thank you for taking the time to maintain such a useful resource.

Best wishes,

Oliver.