By my third 12 months of pupillage functions I used to be turning into disillusioned with the method. Since being referred to as to the Bar I had been working as a self-employed advocate for LPC – in court docket each day “reducing my tooth” with advocacy. I knew my pupillage utility was robust, however wanted to remain motivated. I utilized to Browne Jacobson as a nationwide agency, well-known for public sector defence and medical negligence work, two areas that I used to be notably concerned with practising in; nevertheless it was additionally a brand new path to pupillage.

When the agency agreed to conduct my first spherical interview by way of phone as I used to be on a month lengthy journey round Central America, I knew they had been ahead considering. Conducting the interview from an island in Guatemala, I used to be capable of show my expertise for future phone hearings. After my second spherical interview (in particular person, now again from the Americas) I used to be delighted to be provided pupillage to start out the next 12 months. I used to be additionally capable of work as a contractor for the agency within the eight months main as much as this, in order that I used to be already beginning to construct a popularity throughout the agency.

Hit the bottom operating

I used to be the agency’s second pupil. The primary was (and nonetheless is) on the agency growing a profitable apply and my pupil supervisor has been in apply over 15 years. As well as there was a former CPS barrister, one other barrister within the well being crew, and different solicitor advocates with greater rights. In addition to shadowing these colleagues as a part of my pupillage, working in a nationwide legislation agency representing excessive profile public our bodies meant I used to be additionally capable of sit behind exterior counsel on circumstances the agency instructed on. So it was the very best of each worlds.

I hit the bottom operating in pupillage – in my first week I attended a web site go to at Hillsborough stadium forward of the brand new public inquests into the tragedy, and so was concerned in getting ready for these proceedings and later capable of attend as junior counsel working with externally instructed senior junior counsel.

And for the entire of week two of pupillage I noticed my pupil supervisor representing an NHS hospital belief in proceedings which proceed to be broadly reported within the nationwide media following a legal trial and regulatory proceedings.

My first six gave me likelihood to look at all kinds of areas of apply earlier than totally different courts and tribunals together with legal trials, judicial evaluate proceedings, regulatory proceedings and civil claims. I additionally undertook analysis, drafting and advices which included getting ready indictments for prosecutions on behalf of the nationwide healthcare regulator and the fireplace providers, in addition to settling defences and half 35 questions for medical negligence and private harm proceedings.

In second six I used to be in court docket recurrently and capable of develop a profitable apply representing in small claims hearings, regulatory trials, interlocutory functions, inquests and on the occasional quick monitor trial.

Overcoming perceptions

“Will you be part of chambers after?”

“Do you ever go into court docket?”

“How do you keep your independence?”

These had been usually questions I used to be requested by buddies in chambers, fellow pupils or opponents. Most individuals had been happy I’d obtained pupillage however appeared sceptical of the coaching I’d obtain. That was till we began evaluating work diaries and so they noticed the extent of labor I used to be uncovered to.

This continued into my first few years of apply when a few of my friends had been struggling to make ends meet while I used to be attending multi-day inquests, regulatory hearings and quick monitor trials. Additionally they recognised the worth of a assured wage, notably as I used to be capable of efficiently apply for a mortgage the day after qualifying when beginning my new position as an employed barrister on the agency.

One of the best of each worlds

Browne Jacobson Barristers now includes eight certified barristers, two present pupils, and a number of other assistant advocates, with an additional pupil to start out subsequent 12 months. We perform as in-house chambers and have our personal lead clerk – with seven years’ exterior expertise in chambers – who manages our diaries and markets the crew.

The one actual distinction from self-employed apply is that our instructing solicitors are additionally our colleagues. There isn’t any obligation on anybody within the agency to instruct us so we now have to depend on popularity and excellence like every self-employed barrister. We nonetheless give impartial and frank recommendation, however our instructing solicitors can extra simply discover us within the workplace to ask for this.

We’re additionally instructed straight by regulators such because the Educating Regulation Company and Royal Establishment of Chartered Surveyors. We supervise file dealing with obligations on these circumstances, supported by authorized assistants, permitting us to draft allegations and form the course of the circumstances from the outset, in addition to presenting these at closing listening to.

Inside the agency we sit within the Public, Authorities and Advocacy crew and obtain directions from throughout the agency, together with the insurance coverage and well being and advisory departments. Though I proceed to be line managed by a fellow barrister and accomplice, which suggests I all the time have somebody to debate circumstances with and pull in further useful resource if required, I’ve plenty of autonomy over how my work is finished, with duty for my very own casework, and the liberty to make money working from home when not required in court docket. Extra just lately I’ve been promoted to an affiliate throughout the agency together with different colleagues of round 4 years’ submit qualification expertise.

My apply now specialises in public, regulatory and civil litigation for insurance coverage and public sector purchasers. Since qualifying I’ve been given the chance to undertake some high-profile and sophisticated work that somebody of my name would usually not be uncovered to in chambers. I’d positively advocate this route into the occupation.

Samantha Paxman is a barrister and affiliate at Browne Jacobson

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