I Refuse To Be Beaten
It was soon time to sit with a third pupilmaster and I was actually allowed in his room. My 1st six months pupillage was nearing its end and all the pupils’ marks would soon be collated. I was given a Companies Act petition to draft and looked through the papers as my new pupilmaster spoke.
“The petition I have drafted for this conundrum is here,” he announced and patted a pile of papers resting on the corner of his desk.
“This is the final comparison between you and Giles Twatte.”
“Righto, I’m going out now for a few minutes.”
It was all very odd. Why did he tell me the answer was on his desk? I would never have known it was there otherwise. The door clicked shut as my pupilmaster left the room. Something felt wrong. I remained seated and read the instructions for the petition I had been given. I looked in a drawer and saw some photos of him leaning against his sports car with a ‘wet my pants’ smile. I was shaking my head when, without warning, he burst back into his room, looked at me, picked up his petition and strolled out. I realised he had set me up and tried to catch me out by looking at his petition. If he got his way, I would have been kicked out of chambers. I began drafting the petition and submitted it to him later the same day.
Toward the end of the week, there was a knock on the door. Giles Twatte entered the room to talk to my pupilmaster, who gave feedback on his petition in front of me. Despite a respectable 75%, the criticism was stinging, with disparaging comment layered with undisguised scorn.
“Haven’t you learnt anything in chambers here?”
“Err, well, I… I think…”
“Just get out.”
My pupilmaster threw the papers at Giles Twatte and they scattered across the floor. He knelt down and picked them up, then left the room. An uncomfortable silence followed. Sitting in that room overlooking Chancery Lane, I witnessed the disgrace of Giles Twatte. My pupilmaster turned to me.
“That needed to be said. Now, where’s your petition? Ah, here it is. Let me see, I’m giving you a mark of 90%.” He looked disgusted with me. “You can do better. I could tout you around Chambers, but this isn’t good enough so I won’t.”
He sat down and ignored me for a long time. I decided to get away from him and spent the rest of the day at the Inn of Court library doing some research for a legal opinion. I had all the evidence I needed that these people would never accept me. Despite the odds being against me, I had beaten Giles Twatte. I took a lot of pride in that because an objective assessment by leading barristers in London determined that a First Class Honours from the mid-ranked Oxford Brookes University had beaten a First Class Honours from the top-tier University of Cambridge. I’ve been called an anomaly. But I am relentless in a competitive situation.