Weak Argument

Post103

My new pupilmaster’s first case was about a statute that stated certain contracts must expressly be agreed in writing. We had a hearing in the Court of Appeal where my pupilmaster was going to argue this statute could be interpreted to include implicit oral agreements. ‘Good luck with that one,’ I thought. Continue reading

Room Without A View

Post102

During a break in the court calendar, chambers arranged some paid employment in a law firm. All four pupils worked in a basement and it was taken as an unspoken competition to bill the most hours. We worked all day and into the night. Given it was the holidays and the other pupils were wealthy, before long they began to go home at 10 or 11 p.m. I was hungrier, literally, and worked the longest hours by far. It probably counted for nothing to the barristers in chambers, but I earned good money there. Afterwards, I transferred to a second pupilmaster in order to get exposure to different cases and mix with other barristers at Two Oak Court. My new pupilmaster called me into his room and laid down the rules for my six week stint with him. Continue reading

Stress

Post101

One morning, I walked from the clerks’ room across Oak Court toward Jeremy’s room and saw Bertie Dewitt speaking to Giles Twatte, who had his back to me. As I got closer, they continued talking. Continue reading

All England

Post100

I was tested every day – sometimes it involved a reasoned application of law to facts – and other times it was off-the-cuff. While working on some papers, Jeremy asked me about a legal principle. From memory, I gave him the name of the relevant court case. He asked for the law report and year. Continue reading

Into Court

Post99

I spent a lot of my time in the High Court in London and, most days, Jeremy purposely strode off from Two Oak Court wearing a moth-eaten old horsehair wig on his head with a black gown flowing behind. I was usually walking either quickly alongside or trailing in his wake carrying a big pile of papers bound in pink tape. Around the Inns of Court, this was a common scene of barrister and pupil making their way to and from the courts. The vaulted ceiling of the Royal Courts of Justice entrance hall overlooked enormous, dark oil paintings of judges. The different numbered courts were up various stairways to the sides and along softly lit stone corridors. The vast doors to the courts opened up to wooden benches and panelled walls. Continue reading

Facing The Enemy

Post98

I walked across Oak Court to Jeremy’s room one morning and saw Giles Twatte. It was obvious he disliked me and the feeling was mutual. He was openly dismissive and seemed too impressed with himself. And one of us would necessarily have to beat the other in terms of graded legal work, seeing as we were in direct competition with each other. He caught up with me, looking self-assured in his expensive suit. Continue reading

A Different World

Post97

On the appointed date and time, I arrived at Two Oak Court to begin my non-practising 1st six months’ pupillage. My role would be to observe and assist a pupilmaster. I was the last pupil barrister to arrive at chambers as the other three were already sitting in the small waiting room. I looked around and said “Hello.” Bertie Dewitt was from Eton and Oxford. He was extremely well spoken and returned the greeting. George Marlinswell was also an Oxford graduate and got up to shake my hand animatedly. He was very friendly and easy to get along with. Then there was Giles Twatte, who half-glanced and turned away. He had a First Class Honours in law from Cambridge, but was surly and stand-offish. We all sat in an uncomfortable silence. Continue reading

Called To The Bar

Post96 copy

I felt like I was in a dream. After a happy tube journey, I got back to our small flat and told Michelle the news. She screamed and gave me a big hug. I’d done it. I had actually gone and done it! All that hard work and perseverance had paid off. Two days later and the letter arrived “Formally to confirm that we have offered and you have accepted a funded 1st six months pupillage with us… We are delighted that you are coming to us. The only condition is that you must have passed your Bar Finals first time round!” Continue reading

Pip, Pip

Post95 copy

I met a junior barrister outside the main entrance of Two Oak Court. He was in his early thirties, tall, upper class and friendly. He wore a wig and gown and we hurriedly made our way to the High Court. I walked beside him and took in everything he explained about the court application he was about to make. I tried to come across as extra keen. We entered the imposing entrance to the High Court and went through the tall, cathedral-like building. We spent the day in a packed court room and I struggled to understand what was going on. Continue reading

Testing Times

Post94

A week later, I turned up at Two Oak Court. After introductions to some barristers in chambers, I spent a few hours with Jeremy Higgins going through the facts and pleadings of a case he was working on. He’d been on the pupillage interview panel and was a very upbeat, cheerful and enthusiastic man with a flourishing practice. In his late thirties, he was balding, lean and wore a sharp pin striped suit with a thin red tie. He graduated from Cambridge with a First Class Honours in law. Continue reading