So recently I was grateful to have had the opportunity to undertake a mini pupillage with KCH Garden Square Chambers in Leicester, as one of several selected recipients of the Midlands Circuit Scholarship, a fantastic scheme which enables you to undertake a fully funded mini pupillage. In case you aren’t aware, a mini pupillage is a work experience placement, often lasting around a week as in my case and involves shadowing Barristers in chambers and court, much like you may do in the initial stages of a full pupillage. It is a great way to experience what life is really like at the Bar, as well as if a career as a Barrister is indeed for you. For me personally, I am undecided as to which career route I wish to go down, and so this was an invaluable opportunity to gain a better insight as to what the career entails.
There are a wide variety of mini pupillages out there, and therefore each one may be a varied experience. For some, it may be a busy week at the Chambers and thus a lot more to do and note, though for others there may simply just not be much going on. For me, I checked in at the chambers each morning, and the week was spent in its entirety at Leicester Crown and County Court, giving me the opportunity to shadow a number of barristers practising in either criminal or family law – two areas which I am potentially interested in.
Getting to see what the daily life of barristers entails (both the positives and negatives!) was a highly insightful experience. I was able to shadow and sit in on them undertaking things like client and witness meetings, court trials and had the opportunity to look at case notes, court bundles and criminal evidence such as witness testimonies. It was a great way to have a first-hand opportunity to speak to the barristers regarding the career, and I was able to learn a lot regarding the workings of a criminal court. For example, there is a lot of waiting around for some barristers as I soon learnt that some cases are ‘floaters’, meaning they are not allocated to a particular court or judge and have no fixed time to begin, and thus can take place once there is one free. Otherwise, they may simply take place on another day as opposed to fixed trials which happen when they are scheduled for.
Overall, it was a very interesting and useful opportunity. I would definitely recommend you take on at least one mini pupillage during your time at university, regardless of whether you are interested in becoming a barrister or not as it is definitely an eye opener and who knows – you may be attracted to the career more than you think!
I hope this was useful in some way; let me know if you have any questions!