My Experience as a Pupil at Central Chambers – Pupillage Series

As we get ready for the offers of pupillage to be sent out this week it seems appropriate for our current family pupil, Gabi Ashby, to reflect on how she has found the experience so far. She says:

As I reflect on the first seven months of my pupillage, I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. You hear about many different experiences of pupillage, but nothing can truly prepare you for it. It is a whirlwind. On my first day, I met my supervisor Joe Lynch at Chambers, where he introduced me to the clerks. He gave me my ‘introduction to pupillage’ talk whilst briefing me on his expectations from pupils, this included information regarding Chambers and pupillage in general. By lunchtime, we were heading off to Manchester Civil Justice Centre for day 1 of a finding of fact hearing. What a way to start. There was another member of the family team on this case, so it was incredibly useful to get to know her and make that connection straight away.

Throughout my pupillage I have seen a variety of both public and private law. Shadowing different members of Chambers has enabled me to observe different styles of advocacy and its preparation. I was able to develop my own style through this and through the various advocacy exercises I undertook within Chambers overseen by my supervisor.

One thing I would advise any future pupils, is there is no need to panic. It is likely I am not the first person to say this, but the first six months of pupillage are there to help you. They are what you make of them. Ask whatever questions you think will benefit you, I know I did, and whomever I was asking, was always more than willing to help. Make sure if there is something you are uncertain about, you seek clarification. Most of all, enjoy it, your second six comes around faster than you will ever imagine, so have fun!

Pre- pupillage I was slightly concerned about how to successfully create a work-life balance and its maintenance. From my experience, if you can manage your time, you have nothing to worry about. It goes without saying that lots of hard work is essential, and it certainly is not easy. There is no hiding that being a barrister can be a stressful job, but with successful time management you can maintain those hobbies you enjoy doing!

I am now entering week 6 of my second six, and I am loving it. It is a drastic change from the first six months, but every change feels positive. I have done a lot of private work which has really helped develop my advocacy, gain a lot of confidence, and find my feet (pun intended). The care work I have done has been equally beneficial. Feeling terrified on your first day, after much reassurance, I realised is entirely natural and shows you care. The stakes are high and feeling nervous, not being complacent, and being able to be personable with clients will assist you greatly.

Everyone at Chambers, Joe, the clerks, and all members, especially the family team have made my pupillage incredible thus far. I love being part of a Chambers with such incredible people and inspirational barristers. My experience has been made much more enjoyable thanks to them. I know if I ever need anything, they are always there. They have all helped me feel super supported and confident. I definitely look forward to continuing through my second six with Central and the team.