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The Pupillage Interview/Acceptance/Rejection Thread 2012

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    (Original post by Wildman)
    The great thing about applying for pupillage at the independent Bar is that you avoid all the box-ticking HR feckery that you get in most other industries.

    Looks like extreme HR gymnastics need to be performed to obtain pupillage at the CPS. Easy if you know which boxes to tick, not so easy if you don't.

    But at least the CPS' process appears to be much fairer, ie you must all these tests first before you selected for an interview, in contrast to chambers who might just pick you coz of your educational institution, background etc.
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    (Original post by Kessler`)
    Personally, I feel that undertaking a pupillage in the CPS is a dangerous move for a wannabe future practitioner. There's a real chance that you could lose your perspective, which is one of the elements that make the Bar so strong. To be able to prosecute successfully, objectively and efficiently surely one needs to have a deep understanding of how the defence operates? Vice versa, if you have a pure defence practice, it's entirely possible that you could lose objectivity and foresight in the long run. FWIW, I wish that criminal practitioners were required to prosecute and defend as much as possible!
    I think I would disagree with you there, and it is also something very easy to say after securing pupillage. (Which by the way is an incredible achievement).

    6 years ago when I started my Law degree all I wanted was to prosecute, and be an advocate and the CPS was the perfect place to do this. When they froze recruitment, I was extremely disappointed. During the BVC this changed slightly, and I realise I had a keen interest in defence work as well, and family law.

    However, my main goal is to be an advocate, whether that be at the employed or self employed bar. Unfortunately there isn’t the luxury of choice anymore, and if an organisation is offering potentially 15 pupillages, and you were interested in crime, you'd be a fool not to apply.
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    Phoned Farringdon law chambers just now and asked for an update. The clerk said that they are currently considering applications and will get back to us very soon.
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    (Original post by theresagreenjnr)
    hi there, has anyone heard back from any criminal sets of chambers? charter chambers, pump court chambers, 23 essex st, 7 bedford row?.. or does anyone know when we might be hearing from them? I'm guessing that the lack of contact isn't a good sign!
    Most criminal sets last year didn't get in touch until June. I wouldn't worry quite yet, it's still so so early in the game.
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    (Original post by littlewig)
    I think I would disagree with you there, and it is also something very easy to say after securing pupillage. (Which by the way is an incredible achievement).

    6 years ago when I started my Law degree all I wanted was to prosecute, and be an advocate and the CPS was the perfect place to do this. When they froze recruitment, I was extremely disappointed. During the BVC this changed slightly, and I realise I had a keen interest in defence work as well, and family law.

    However, my main goal is to be an advocate, whether that be at the employed or self employed bar. Unfortunately there isn’t the luxury of choice anymore, and if an organisation is offering potentially 15 pupillages, and you were interested in crime, you'd be a fool not to apply.
    I understand what you are saying, and I agree that it really is a case of getting your foot through the door. Nevertheless, I would hope that - after completing the pupillage period - CPS advocates were encouraged to spend some time in the independent Bar. Maybe as a third six or (probably more sensible) with a couple of years under their belt. Speaking from personal experience, the job which I currently do means that I see a lot of cases where the CPS lawyers (and advocates) are very short-sighted and narrow in their view of, as one example, their CPIA duties. That could be helped hugely by understanding the mindset and process of a defence through personal, hands-on, experience.

    Something to consider anyway, and perhaps a subject for a separate thread
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    (Original post by Wildman)
    That's what they said to me 2.5 weeks ago, almost exactly. The Clerk sounded quite apologetic when I asked. It makes me wonder if they are reconsidering whether they have enough funds for a pupil? I note that one of the two pupillages was meant to have started in April, so either that has been chopped or shunted to a later date.
    He said that it's apparently a Ms Pinkus who looks at them. She is stuck in a very big case though and thus she looks through them as much she can right now.

    I think we spoke with the same clerk. The one I spoke to perfectly fits the description you gave.
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    (Original post by Kessler`)
    I understand what you are saying, and I agree that it really is a case of getting your foot through the door. Nevertheless, I would hope that - after completing the pupillage period - CPS advocates were encouraged to spend some time in the independent Bar. Maybe as a third six or (probably more sensible) with a couple of years under their belt. Speaking from personal experience, the job which I currently do means that I see a lot of cases where the CPS lawyers (and advocates) are very short-sighted and narrow in their view of, as one example, their CPIA duties. That could be helped hugely by understanding the mindset and process of a defence through personal, hands-on, experience.

    Something to consider anyway, and perhaps a subject for a separate thread
    Agreed! I think a lot of that may have come from CPS lawyers becoming advocates in the courts during the pupillage freeze when perhaps they didnt want to. Also from reading the profiles of past pupils, I think you do get to spend some of your time with a Chambers in your pupillage also, which is great!
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    Hi, I'm new on here and have found all of your comments interesting. I have applied to sets doing crime, professional regulation and some family work. At the risk of sounding confident in getting an interview, I have been preparing for that event. I am wondering what sort of prep other people are doing??
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    (Original post by EH2784)
    Hi, I'm new on here and have found all of your comments interesting. I have applied to sets doing crime, professional regulation and some family work. At the risk of sounding confident in getting an interview, I have been preparing for that event. I am wondering what sort of prep other people are doing??
    I think it depends on the type of person you are.

    I work in Law, I read legal updates for entertainment, and continue to do extra curricular activities related to the law because I enjoy them.

    I don't really see the need for any specific preparation in these circumstances.

    If you work in sales, have no time to read legal updates because of other commitments and can't get the time off to do any further activities, you may want to work specifically on what you might say in an interview to show that you still have an interest in law.

    Most of the time I see the same thing repeated, you have to show a commitment and a determination to be at the Bar.
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    (Original post by Mini Pupil)
    Especially a criminal barrister. It will be my JOB not to care about the feelings of the defendant's family, etc, and to see that justice is done.
    I instinctively disagree with this. I would care what the defendant's family feels - no matter whether I was prosecuting or defending. However, I would not allow this understanding of their feelings get in the way of making sure justice (or some form of justice) is done.

    I was talking about this sort of subject to a barrister just last Wednesday. We were moaning about two judges on the South eastern circuit who shall remain nameless. One is very compassionate, the other is a hard b*stard. The compassionate one is the better judge and was the better barrister.

    On a residential weekend my fellow wannabe barristers and I received an ear bashing from the Chairman of the National Victims’ Association and a nice lady he brought along who was fresh out of seeing the man who 'killed' her husband convicted of death by dangerous. The long and the short - there is nothing wrong with caring about people's feelings. I would certainly not say that it is your job not to care.

    Aside from that - I agree: the CPS questions are a real pain in the proverbial.
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    Would love to know what criteria you used to decide one was a better judge?

    I also tend to disagree with you and agree more with Mini.

    It is not your job to care about the families, it is your job to present, question or cast doubt on evidence, mainly to a jury if we talking about Criminal barristers here.

    If you start to worry about the families feelings, on either side, you will be ineffective in your job as your concerns may effect your choices when deciding which tactics to use in court.

    Not caring about someone's feelings does not mean walking up to someone and saying...yeah your bum looks big in that....it means doing what needs to be done properly, efficiently regardless of the impact that it might have on those around you.

    That is how I read it anyway.

    And sometimes, especially in Criminal Law, you are going to have to dredge things up, you are going to have to question victims and suggest they are not telling the truth, that they are lying, that the pain and suffering they went through in reality never happened.

    How can you do that if you care that their families are sitting behind you, and how they might feel about it?

    You got a job to do, sometimes it will make other people feel bad. You have to move beyond that, and that means not caring.
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    (Original post by InnerTemple)
    I instinctively disagree with this. I would care what the defendant's family feels - no matter whether I was prosecuting or defending. However, I would not allow this understanding of their feelings get in the way of making sure justice (or some form of justice) is done.

    I was talking about this sort of subject to a barrister just last Wednesday. We were moaning about two judges on the South eastern circuit who shall remain nameless. One is very compassionate, the other is a hard b*stard. The compassionate one is the better judge and was the better barrister.

    On a residential weekend my fellow wannabe barristers and I received an ear bashing from the Chairman of the National Victims’ Association and a nice lady he brought along who was fresh out of seeing the man who 'killed' her husband convicted of death by dangerous. The long and the short - there is nothing wrong with caring about people's feelings. I would certainly not say that it is your job not to care.

    Aside from that - I agree: the CPS questions are a real pain in the proverbial.
    Inner, I was on the same weekend as you by the sound of things. I found the presentation from the NVA to be really uncomfortable and, indeed at times, inappropriate - absolute textbook example of what happens when too much emotion gets in the way of a criminal case. I felt very sorry for the woman who saw her husband get killed, but the law is there for a reason - if the evidence simply wasn't there to convict of manslaughter (which seemed to be the case from the story the woman told) then the ONLY appropriate responses are a lower charge or acquittal.

    Yes, it is vital to have an understanding of people's feelings, etc, but you absolutely can care too much about them, in my opinion - especially when you are, solely, an advocate seeking justice.
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    (Original post by Mini Pupil)
    Inner, I was on the same weekend as you by the sound of things.
    Sounds like it. The NVA talk was terrible. On the Friday, I happened to have dinner with a judge who sat on one of the earlier hearings concerning the woman's case. Chatham house rules etc - needless to say, the chat we had confirmed my suspicions.

    Without going into depth - although you quite rightly say that this was a case which could have been clouded by emotion, it was one where better communication and an understanding of her (the woman's) feelings may have taken the edge of, what I am sure, was a very surprising series of decisions by the Crown.

    (Original post by Konran)
    ..x..
    I was not just saying that one should care about the feelings of families. The same applies, I would suggest, to the alleged victims one may come across.

    On reflection - perhaps I was wrong to pick Mini up on the point he/she(?) made. I believe that as a barrister, one should be aware of other people's feelings. Is this the same as caring? Maybe not - and in that respect I am wrong. My apologies to Mini.

    As for how we assessed the judges - no science involved, just personal opinion. I have marshalled both, he [the barrister] appears in front of both regularly. They are both fairly well known. One was a member of his [the barrister] chambers.
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    As long as it is not about going out of your way to be mean or horrible for the sake of it, that end of "not caring" riding roughshod over people for no reason, then "not caring" in the sense of understanding you have a role and that sometimes that role might upset people and that although they will be upset, you still have to make those choices, I think that is a sensible way to think.

    I have to admit this is the first time, when considering a career at the Criminal Bar that I have ever even considered the families of victims or the accused. I just don't think that it should be a part of what we do.
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    (Original post by InnerTemple)
    Sounds like it. The NVA talk was terrible. On the Friday, I happened to have dinner with a judge who sat on one of the earlier hearings concerning the woman's case. Chatham house rules etc - needless to say, the chat we had confirmed my suspicions.

    Without going into depth - although you quite rightly say that this was a case which could have been clouded by emotion, it was one where better communication and an understanding of her (the woman's) feelings may have taken the edge of, what I am sure, was a very surprising series of decisions by the Crown.



    I was not just saying that one should care about the feelings of families. The same applies, I would suggest, to the alleged victims one may come across.

    On reflection - perhaps I was wrong to pick Mini up on the point he/she(?) made. I believe that as a barrister, one should be aware of other people's feelings. Is this the same as caring? Maybe not - and in that respect I am wrong. My apologies to Mini.

    As for how we assessed the judges - no science involved, just personal opinion. I have marshalled both, he [the barrister] appears in front of both regularly. They are both fairly well known. One was a member of his [the barrister] chambers.
    For what it's worth I don't think you need to apologise, I think we're both making nuanced points, and it seems we (actually) largely agree. Which is nice for both of us.
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    Anyone had communication with either 4 KBW (Mr Power) (decision was to be made by 11th May - I have heard zip) or Warwick House?

    Also, we're recruiting editors for The Pupillage Pages at the moment (Civil, Family, Human Rights and Commercial). Applications welcome - check TPP home page for details.

    Edit: 4KBW are still going through applications.
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    (Original post by Wildman)
    I would say that it is absolutely essentially to empathise with the victims, to have a comprehension of the grief they are experiencing in such a case, even if defending.

    Remember you are presenting a case to a jury. Part of that is getting the law spot on, and testing the evidence in that respect. The other part is understanding what the jurors' personal feelings will be, and tailoring your approach.

    If you go in like a robot then the jury may think you are a bad whopper.
    No one said you shouldn't empathise, only that you shouldn't necessarily (in some of our opinions) be swayed by the emotions of those surrounding the case.
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    Morning all. Has anyone else had a request for references from 7KBW? Just wondering if they ask every applicant or whether I should take that as a good sign!? Cheers!
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    (Original post by TakeTwo)
    Anyone had communication with either 4 KBW (Mr Power) (decision was to be made by 11th May - I have heard zip) or Warwick House?

    Also, we're recruiting editors for The Pupillage Pages at the moment (Civil, Family, Human Rights and Commercial). Applications welcome - check TPP home page for details.

    Edit: 4KBW are still going through applications.
    Take two -I understand that some people received an email from Warwick House (the joint Head of Chambers I believe) stating that they had received lots of applications and would get back to candidates soon - however, not everybody received this email - would be interested to know if anybody has heard anything else?
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    (Original post by Barnickle)
    Morning all. Has anyone else had a request for references from 7KBW? Just wondering if they ask every applicant or whether I should take that as a good sign!? Cheers!
    At this stage it's hard to read anything into the process, every Set operates differently. Last year none of my referees were ever contacted, at any point, and I had a number of interviews. It's just all a bit crazy.

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