What to Expect from Pupillage
Each pupil at One Brick Court has a principal supervisor, but additionally sits with approximately 4 other supervisors over the year. Pupils also do work for other members of Chambers, including silks.
The pupil supervisors provide a solid grounding in the core areas of Chambers’ main work – defamation, privacy, data protection, breach of confidence, harassment, freedom of information and other media-related law such as reporting restrictions and contempt of court. Pupils shadow their supervisors closely, attending conferences and court hearings and reading and working on their supervisors’ ongoing cases. At the start of pupillage, pupils benefit from close supervision of their written work (including on statements of case, skeleton arguments, advices, and first drafts of documents to be prepared by counsel), so that they are equipped to deal with what is a steep learning curve. As pupils progress through the 12 months, the standard of their work is expected to improve so that, by the end, the work is of sufficiently high quality to be comparable with that of a new tenant.
The day-to-day focus on supervisors’ work means pupils are encouraged to get involved in discussions as to the strategic, commercial and any ethical dimensions of their cases.
Pupils ordinarily have the opportunity of spending a few weeks at the in-house legal departments of media organisations, to develop pre-publication skills and litigation experience. Former pupils have found this a rewarding experience.
Due to the specialist nature of Chambers’ work there is no opportunity for pupils to take their own work in the second six months. Pupils will however undertake two advocacy exercises. These are attended by members of Chambers who assess the pupil’s performance during the exercise, by reference to criteria set out in advance. These advocacy exercises, as well as unassessed advocacy exercises during the year, give pupils experience of being on their feet. In addition, pupils who wish to undertake pro bono work, for example by taking a case with FRU (the Free Representation Unit) or doing a case for the Bar Pro Bono Unit in their second six are encouraged in such activities.