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"My first graduate job was as a trainee (or 'pupil') barrister. This involved spending working days shadowing qualified barristers around the Courts of the South East of England. It also entailed preparing written legal advice on my pupil master's cases (purely for internal, within-chambers, assessment).With a view to securing tenancy, I was also expected to prepare written advice for other barristers in the chambers.
Given that the chambers had approximately one hundred members, spread over several different locations, I was expected to spend some weeks working out of offices other than my home base. The role involved a lot of travel, meetings with clients and attending Courts, often witnessing behind-the-scenes negotiations.
It was realistically necessary to take written work home to be completed 'after hours' every day. Constant legal research was required to understand the details of each new case.
Knowing someone else who was already an experienced barrister, whose brain I could have picked (in confidence) would have been tremendously helpful to save time and stress.
It was deeply competitive. I would advise any graduate interested in the law to seriously consider starting work as a solicitor. Once you are secure in your legal career (and finances) you could consider moving to the Bar - if you are still determined to become a barrister. Ultimately, it is a suitable traineeship only for someone who loves the law and wants to spend every waking moment thinking about it. I was fortunate - at least I was paid for the privilege."
ALEXANDER, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD