I wanted to come to 12KBW for two main reasons, the amount of advocacy experience that pupils get in their second six and the breadth of chambers’ work within its areas of expertise.
Firstly, the breadth of work. For example, within our personal injury practice, sub-specialisms include international and travel, catastrophic injuries and claims arising from sexual abuse. I wanted to be able to explore different corners of the areas I want to practice in and 12KBW has given me plenty of opportunity to do so.
Unfortunately, my second six was pretty unusual because it took place during the Covid-19 crisis. My first hearings ended up being virtual hearings over the phone and video. Thankfully I have found the junior end to be brilliantly supportive. In chambers people knock on my door to check in and say hello. In lockdown this has gone virtual and so people have messaged and called to make sure all is going well.
12KBW also puts on a number of seminars and events throughout the year. These are usually chaired by a senior member of chambers and consist of a series of talks by barristers of all levels. They are great events for pupils: not only so that you can soak up some of chambers’ expertise but also because it means that everyone from first year tenants upwards can represent 12KBW in this way.
Pupillage is of course an assessment process building up to the tenancy decision, but at 12KBW it is easy to forget that. The amount of support you get from everyone you come across reminds you that assessment is not the sole purpose of pupillage. It is also about you being able to develop your own career, interests and skills. Everyone at 12KBW, from the barristers and clerks to the receptionists and facilities team, is rooting for you. It is a set that I hope to stay at for the duration of my career at the Bar.
A typical day in the first six
I began the day by proof-reading a piece of work I have drafted for my supervisor – fresh eyes help me to pick up on any errors that slipped through the net the day before. After sending that across, I started looking at the papers for a conference later that morning. I drafted my own conference plan to compare with the one my supervisor had drawn up. Once the conference was complete, I had some time for some lunch so met with my co-pupils for lunch in Middle Temple Hall.
After lunch, I was across the road to Central London County Court with a junior member of chambers who has an assessment of damages in a personal injury claim. This is typical of the work that pupils take on in the second six and so having the opportunity to see the trials at court and to ask the junior member of chambers as many questions as you need to feel comfortable, is vital.
After walking back from court to chambers, I was back at my desk to look at some papers that another member of chambers had sent through for me to draft an advice. 12KBW encourages pupils to do work for as many non-supervisor members of chambers as possible – not only so they can get to know us and our work, but so we can get to know them and theirs. The exposure to different styles of oral and written advocacy and different practice areas is what allows you to develop your own style and specialisms. You aren’t expected to fall in love with every part of chambers’ diverse practice, but having the opportunity to see it allows you to make informed decisions.
Once the day is over, I decided to go to a chambers’ seminar which was going to be followed with a drinks reception. I wanted to hear what 12KBW members had to say about military claims, but also to catch up with my friends in chambers and to meet solicitors in attendance. After the talk and a few drinks, I made my way to Temple station for some well-earned sleep, ready to do it all again the following day.