Mini-pupillages are one of the best opportunities to gain an insight into the world of a barrister, but making the most out of one can really give you a push towards deciding if the Bar is for you, and will allow you to make the best impression possible at the chambers; but how should you make the most of a mini-pupillage?
- Show enthusiasm for a career at the Bar
No matter how mundane the task may be, show enthusiasm! Ask to see bundles, ask about the facts of cases, and ask about why the barrister has decided to employ the style of advocacy they have. Keenness towards the tasks, and a willingness to immerse yourself into the work of the barrister you are shadowing will give a good impression, and may even help with future pupillage applications.
- Be willing to learn, no matter your prior legal knowledge
It is likely that, when under taking a mini-pupillage, you will still be a student and therefore will not have the full skill-set a barrister is required to have. No matter if you are a first year undergrad or a BPTC student, being willing to learn new skills and legal principles will help you develop new skills to transfer to your studies.
There is always something new you can learn from each experience. Different barristers will have honed different techniques over the course of their careers, and in a similar vein, you will learn different things from barristers at the junior end of the bar when compared to barristers at the senior end.
- Make notes during your mini-pupillage
If you do not wish to make notes all the time during conferences, court hearings, and interviews, I have found it easier to keep a form of diary, and write down what happened during the day in the evening. Whatever your method, keeping notes of what skills you’ve learnt, the cases you’ve watched, and anything else you have done will really help in applications and interviews at barrister’s chambers, as they are likely to ask about work you have encountered on mini-pupillages. They can also help you when working out what to write on your CV!
- Research the barrister you are shadowing
If you know the barrister you are due to be shadowing for the duration of your mini-pupillage, try to read up on them and their past cases, when they were called to the Bar and from which Inn, and other information about them. This will allow you to make a lasting impression with the barrister, and will help you to make connections for future opportunities and careers. Another good way to make a lasting impression is to try to find some common ground between yourself and the barrister you are shadowing. This can be anything, maybe you both share a love for football and can have some banter about that, or maybe you share a love of music or film – dig deep and try to find something that you can chat a bit more informally about.
Having knowledge of their previous work will also help you to tailor the questions you ask, allowing you to make a more informed choice regarding a future career at the Bar.
- Be polite, professional and on time!
As with all placements, showing these basic skills will help you to make a good impression with the chambers. Additionally, if you adopt a positive attitude to the experience, you will get the most out of it, aiding you in your studies, career, and personal development.