21.2.07

Day 100 (week 21): Battleaxe

Today someone tried to guess who I am. There is no point but for the record, I do not have the initials “PL”. An American reader wanted to know exactly what pupillage is. That is a question I have been asking myself lately. Ostensibly it’s the final part of the training for the Bar. The reality is that most of one’s time is spent making coffee, photocopying and being a general dogsbody around Chambers. What this has to do with being a barrister I’ll never know. After six months of this then you might think that all I’d be qualified for is perhaps to aspire to be a supervisor at Starbucks. But no. Instead, come the 2 April, I will be given a provisional practising certificate and let loose on an otherwise unsuspecting public by being allowed to conduct my own cases in court. Six months after this and I become a fully-fledged practising barrister. So, there you go. Just so you know. It might even work if your pupilmaster wasn’t a corrupt, yellow coward who under-settled all his cases and got off with his solicitor behind his wife’s back.

Talking of which, I finally met the mistress last night. The Boss was celebrating another settlement (obviously) and insisted on taking me to the local wine bar for a glass (or seven) of champagne. In the last couple of weeks this (ie settlement followed by champagne) has become an increasingly frequent occurrence. He’s cashing in his cases early in anticipation of the possibility of being struck off in a few months. Anyway, she was not what I expected at all. I already have the impression of the Boss’ wife as demanding, expensive and generally high maintenance and I therefore expected his mistress to be some meek, pouting solicitor who assuaged all his many insecurities. Far from it. We shall call her Battleaxe. She has a laugh like a horse, a voice like a horse and in many ways even looks like a horse. And a packhorse at that. Even after a lot of champagne. Sturdy to the point of being almost square. She’d certainly struggle to fit into the Boss’ Ferrari. However, I should have seen it coming as no sooner had she opened her mouth to reveal staccato, clipped vowels than I suddenly realised that she was just an older version of my fellow pupil BusyBody with whom the Boss has also been flirting.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

So what wine bar were you in? Was it Daly's? I saw a couple there last night fitting this description.

Prof. Yabut said...

BabyB, Making and serving coffee is a useful and honorable skill. Pupillage sounds more socially-responsible than law school.

Monkeywrench said...

I was a pupil barrister about 10 years ago, but didn't get taken on. I'm delighted - or maybe that should be horrified - to see that nothing has changed...

Anonymous said...

Your blog is very readable, but very reminiscent of Harry Mount's equally cliche-reliant account of pupillage in his book "My brief career". Yours is better, if only by reason of your character's darker heart. I'd suggest you ask the Bar Council to pay you to stop: you'd make more than your pupil-master.

the default attorney said...

Battleaxe. Love it. I learned that a partner in a firm we regularly cooperate with has several girlfriends in different cities. Mind you, he is in his late fifties or early sixties, about 167 centimeters with his shoes one, and generally just NYC slimy. His LA girlfriend is a 26 year old massage therapist.

There is no justice.

Anonymous said...

I know who you are, but don´t worry, your secret is safe with me. Really nice blog...

ProfessorG said...

Thanks for articulating the abuses of the pupillage system. Whatever its shortcomings in practice, the theory of practical training before receiving an unrestricted law license is sound. American lawyers have steadfastly resisted efforts to implement an internship requirement. One of the myths of legal education in the U.S. is that graduating from an American Bar Association accredited law school and passing a state bar exam actually qualifies you to practice law. We don't let surgeons practice on live patients without a rigorous internship program, but we let lawyers practice on live clients all the time. Keep up the good work.

AngryBell said...

And here I was hoping that in a pupillage the pupil would get some more practical training than what we get in the American system. Here we get trained to do nothing, so we can learn a fake system of laws to pass the various state bar exams before finally being turned loose on the public as full fledged members of the bar.