Pupillage at Littleton consists of four three-month periods with different pupil supervisors. Whilst the entirety of the 12 months is crucial for your training purposes, it is only the first 9 months which will count towards tenancy decision and that is always worth keeping in mind.
Whilst I had a practising second six, I did not have my own cases until July. From then on, I continued assisting my last supervisor with his work, but also had the opportunity to do preliminary hearings for myself, and draft pleadings for instructing solicitors.
During pupillage you will be exposed to all the key practice areas of Littleton. I was with an employment practitioner in my first and last three months, and with commercial practitioners in the middle six months.
The general thrust of pupillage is that you do work for your pupil supervisor, whether that be current work they are working on or past work which is used to develop your skills. The type of work and the type of courts or tribunals I experienced varied: I shadowed members of chambers in the Supreme Court; I drafted various pleadings (both for the Claimant and Respondent); I observed trials in the high court (for civil fraud) and also in the employment tribunal (for unfair dismissal, whistleblowing and discrimination); and I advised on various complicated (and sometimes unexplored) areas of both commercial and employment law.
In addition to work for my supervisor, I completed work for other members of chambers. This allowed me to continue to get involved in other areas of Chambers’ practice. For example, whilst I was with a commercial pupil supervisor, I advised on an employment matter, and drafted some pleadings in relation to a sports arbitration.
During the 12 months my co-pupil and I also had assessments, which tested both drafting and advocacy skills, and again involved the different areas of Chambers’ work. Following each piece of work for other members of chambers, and following each assessment, I received a mark out of 10 as well as helpful feedback. The entire process was transparent, and I always knew how to improve.
At the end of each three months, I had a handover with my previous and subsequent supervisors to discuss what work I had and had not done and what I needed to work on. I personally did not have the smoothest of beginnings, but Littleton really invested in me and wanted to see me succeed. The steep trajectory I then experienced was not just because of my own hard work, but also because of the efforts of those in Chambers with responsibility for my training. I am fortunate that I am now a tenant at such a supportive Chambers.
There is no shying away from the fact that pupillage is tough, but the people, the quality of work and the satisfaction you gain from life at the bar and at this Chambers, for me, made it all worth it!