This Is It
On a gloriously sunny morning, I went through the main gates of the Inn of Court. With the hall to one side and a square to the other, I walked until the shade of a single tree stood firm against the imposing buildings. I looked up at its leaves and then the dappled sunlight on the courtyard. Two Oak Court had daunting stone steps leading to the wooden door of the chambers. I wore black shoes, a cheap dark suit and white shirt. Adjusting the knot of my maroon tie, I paused as the steps loomed before me. I walked up with eyes fixed on the barristers’ names on the hand-painted board. Steadying my breathing, I felt calm. I had to perform under pressure this time. Inside, I walked down a narrow corridor and by the deserted waiting room. A greying clerk in his late forties smiled.
“Hello, what can I do for you Sir?”
“I’m here for a pupillage interview.”
“Ah yes, Mr Stanford? Please wait over here.”
I sat in a room with about half a dozen chairs lining the walls and old law reports hugging the shelves. Expensive-looking paintings of the Inn of Court adorned the walls. I was called into the interview and questioned by a panel of barristers, more about personal opinions than anything else. A big thing in the newspapers that week was company directors being fat cats. They asked for my view and I said they weren’t paid enough, provided that their companies exceeded profit targets. I may well have been a peasant without two pennies to rub together, but it was all very well received by the clearly rich barristers. A few hours after I got back to the flat, the telephone rang.
“Hello, this is Timothy Haddon. I’m a barrister from Two Oak Court in London… Yes, nice to speak to you again. We have rejected all the pupillage candidates except you. But this does not mean you are being offered a pupillage. You will have to attend chambers for two days and pass a written assessment before any offer is made. So, when are you available?”
We worked out the arrangements and the conversation ended. I was overjoyed! This was what I’d worked so hard for. And I was going to grab the opportunity with both hands.