Picture the scene. A young law graduate, eager to make his mark on the big wide world, standing amongst his fellow students at Middle Temple awaiting the start of his Call ceremony. “Congratulations”, the student officer lady says, “from now on, you can all call yourselves Barristers”. What she kindly forgot to mention was the minor detail of securing a pupillage. For those of you who haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about, a pupillage is a one year training contract for young barristers, where they shadow more experienced barristers, learn the ropes of advocacy and negotiation…and make lots of cups of tea. These pupillage-thingies are pretty hard to come by. In fact, one of the first things I was told at Bar school was how difficult it would be to get one. Nowadays, a pupillage seems harder to find than an MP without a second home (!!).
As I stood there in Middle Temple hall, wigged and gowned, surrounded by over 200 fellow student barristers, it suddenly occurred to me how difficult this Pupillage Quest was going to be. I wondered how many other people were looking for an opportunity at the same chambers as myself. To what extent would they go? How did their CV’s compare to my own? Little did I know back then that it would take me a good 2 years more until I found that Holy Grail of pupillage.
In the run-up to my pupillage interviews, I left no stone unturned. I read every newspaper article I possibly could. I perused every family case that came before the higher courts. But more than anything else, I kept up-to-date with the family law blogs. Before this year, I had no idea how useful blogging could be. Not that they knew it at the time, but I was (and continue to be) totally indebted to John Bolch (Family Lore blog), and Lucy Reed (Pink Tape) for their brilliant family law blogs, without which I would not have been able to keep so up-to-date with the law. They both had, I believe, a huge role to play in me obtaining pupillage- so thank you!
So here I am. 24 years old, just under 1 year until I start my pupillage. I thought it was about time I gave something back to the world of family law blogging. The Wigless blog will be my little critique on the most recent developments in the wild and wacky world of family law. I also want to try to help anyone out there who still seeks a pupillage in family law. My perspective is of someone who has only just recovered from 2 years ‘in the wilderness’ trying to find a pupillage. There is currently no body or organisation specifically designed to help student barristers in this situation, and I want to do all I can to help.