2.10.06

Day 1 (week 1): The Boss

Well, here it is. Truly the diary of a nobody. A pupil barrister on his first day in Chambers. The letter offering me the place simply told me to arrive for 8.30am in the Clerks Room where I would be introduced to my pupilmaster who, for these purposes, I shall call the Boss. Obviously, I’d already had a brief chat with him on the telephone and I’d checked out his profile online. Educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge it was a pretty traditional upper middle class barrister background. Upper second in law and the called to the Bar in the Middle Temple in 1988. He’d therefore been a barrister for some eighteen years and I’d found with a bit more of a google search that he was married with two kids. Official interests: chess and tennis.

I’ve been warned about pupillage by those who have gone before. A glorified coffee-maker and under-paid photo-copier are the most common descriptions so far. Such is the Ordeal through which the Bar Council continues to force their brightest and best. Interviews and offers might be sufficient for Goldman Sachs or McKinzies. Not so, the Bar. Twelve months living in close proximity before they decide whether to take you on or not. A sort of upper class reality show in microcosm where every one of your foibles will be analysed, where a blackball system exists such that if you annoy one person, you’re out. As with Big Brother, you’re playing to the lowest common denominator. Attempting to be as inoffensive as possible in the sound knowledge that it won’t be the votes for that get you in but the lack of votes against. Sure, they’ll go through the motions of checking my work and ticking the Bar Council’s Equal Opportunities forms. But the crunch comes in the unsaid so-called ‘Tennis Club Test’ – would they have me in their club…or not.

So, there are my pre-conceptions. It’s now 7.30am. I’ve spent the Summer working for Starbucks in preparation for this day and now it is time for me to set off on my hour-long commute to the Temple.

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