Christianah Babajide is a second-year law student at The City Law School, she writes for Legal Cheek and Lawbore.net as a Future Lawyer, and runs her own law blog called Lawcommonroom. For this piece, she covers the following Pupillage Open Day.
Garden Court Chambers held an Open Day for prospective pupils on Saturday 5th November 2016, intended to provide an introduction to chambers and the pupillage process at Garden Court. The Open Day included a presentation from Dr Leslie Thomas QC, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers.
The presentation served to highlight several things that are important for aspiring barristers to know before coming to the Bar, but also apply to solicitors and others in the legal profession.
Being Different is not a Bad Thing If you do not come from what is considered to be a ‘typical’ background, do not let that put you off pursuing a career at the Bar. Leslie emphasised that being different is not only a good thing, it is something that will make you stand out. He added “if you are different, celebrate those qualities, because the world has many different people and this is what the future Bar and Garden Court needs.”
Preparation is Everything You can help yourself succeed in life by being well prepared. Leslie highlighted the importance of going the extra mile by doing further reading outside of the reading list. He warned prospective students against missing lectures and skipping tutorials. He added “try to complete all the work set by your professors”.
Achieve Your Dreams During the Pupillage Open Day, Leslie warned the audience of “naysayers” and advised them to ignore individuals who make it seem like you will never be able to achieve your goals. He referred to the poem, “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest. The message of the poem is as follows: try things no matter how impossible someone says it might be. Do not allow someone’s negative attitude to influence you because it will only prevent you from achieving your dreams.
Everything Counts Leslie made it clear that it all matters; everything you do during your law degree will aid your application in some shape or form. He emphasised the importance of candidates going the extra mile by completing work placements, internships and doing mini-pupillages. He encouraged joining organisations that reflect your passions in life and added, “get involved in public speaking, debating, mooting and campaigning.”
Believe in Yourself A career at the Bar is extremely competitive and it is belief in oneself that will keep you going. Leslie emphasised the importance of believing in yourself and the values you stand for. He advised the audience to choose an area of law at the Bar that accords to their moral compass. He added, “if you choose a job you love, you won’t struggle to get out of bed in the morning!”
A Final Word of Advice The Bar is an eminently competitive world and you are going to be competing against candidates that you think are better than you; either because they attend a better institution or because they are simply privileged. The important thing is to believe in yourself and realise that the very thing that makes you different is also what makes you stand out.