NAME: HARRY SNOOKS
STUDY: BA POLITICS, DURHAM UNIVERSITY. COMMON PROFESSIONAL EXAMINATION/GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN LAW, CITY UNIVERSITY BAR VOCATIONAL COURSE, INNS OF COURT SCHOOL OF LAW, CITY UNIVERSITY
WORK: PUPILLAGE WITH CHAMBERS
HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR CURRENT CAREER PATH?
I had ideas from school age that I might want to go into law but what really made me sure was the mini-pupillages that I took in my year out after university. I did three placements and got a much more informed sense of where I wanted to work. I also worked as an assistant to a politician during my year out. Then I applied to study the CPE/Graduate diploma in law which is a one year full-time programme for non-law graduates who wish to start training for a career at the Bar or as a solicitor. This conversion course does take over your life but the lecturers inspire huge enthusiasm. I then went straight onto do the Bar vocational course, which takes a year. I’ve now managed to secure a place with criminal chambers for my pupillage and started in September. The pupillage is similar to the training contract for a solicitor and is the final step in my training.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT TRAINING TO BE A BARRISTER?
The feeling that you will be in a job which influences real people’s lives. I’m looking forward to employing the skills I have learned over the past few years. The job involves a lot of human contact and I’ll be meeting people I wouldn’t normally be in touch with. And as I’m going into the area of criminal law it will be very heavy on the court work, which I enjoy.
MOST CHALLENGING PART OF TRAINING?
It’s been a long hard struggle to secure a pupillage.
Out of about 30 applications only about a quarter offered me an interview. I had to pick myself up time after time after rejections. I had to be patient, persistent and positive and keep trying to learn by asking for feedback. In my future career, I anticipate the most challenging part will be the feeling that you’ve let a client down if you lose the case.
ADVICE TO OTHER STUDENTS?
Don’t go into this with your eyes shut; get as many mini-pupillages as you can. It’s not always easy to get a feel of chambers, so unless you’ve done a mini-pupillage at one you’ll rarely know what they are like.
The Bar Council recommends that students start pursuing mini-pupillages as early as possible. These placements usually last two weeks and are obtained by contacting chambers directly. They aren’t mandatory but they do help you understand the environment that barristers work in and the work they do. Other ways of obtaining this experience include marshalling, where students shadow a high court judge for a week. These posts are obtained by applying directly to the courts.