A Pupil’s Perspective
Claire Overman: Pupil (2015-2016), Tenant (Since October 2016)
At Bar School, you occasionally hear some horror stories about pupillage. However, whilst my year of pupillage was undoubtedly challenging, I’m pleased to say that my experience was rewarding and enjoyable.
One Brick Court is a small set, and one significant advantage of this is that I worked with most of Chambers’ members during my pupillage year. I rotated between six supervisors of varying years’ call, and was given work by other senior members of Chambers. This allowed me to gain experience of the entire breadth of Chambers’ practice areas, as well as giving me the opportunity to get to know everyone, see how they work and show them what I could do. I had not studied media or information law prior to pupillage, and I consequently faced a steep learning curve. However, all members of Chambers took the time to give me comprehensive and detailed feedback for each piece of work I completed. I was encouraged to ask questions about all aspects of my supervisors’ work and made to feel that no question was ‘too stupid’.
Due to the specialist nature of Chambers’ work, there is no practising six months. Instead, I was able to spend one month on placement at two national newspapers, which gave me an insight into an important client base and the day-to-day legal issues which the media face. It also gave me an early opportunity to undertake some pre-publication work that makes up part of junior tenants’ practices. Since becoming a tenant, I have received instructions from those newspapers.
I had to undertake two assessed oral advocacy exercises, which almost all members of Chambers attended. Having had 15 or so seasoned barristers evaluate my every submission during those assessments certainly meant that I was less worried when I made my first court appearance.
Finally, and importantly, I was made to feel welcome from my very first day. All members of Chambers, as well as the clerks, gave their time generously to offer me advice, support and encouragement, and this strong support network has continued into my early years of tenancy.