Networking Your Way To Pupillage

Your Networking Key to Pupillage Success!

Your Networking Key to Pupillage Success!

One of the conclusions that I seem to be left with from my personal experiences, is that attaining a pupillage within a particular set of chambers would seem to be more likely driven by the ability to network successfully with one or more its members, than down to the credibility and worthiness of the individual.  With this in mind, it was with interest this week that I read the press release from the Bar Council upon ‘Setting the Pace on Social Mobility’.

As a mature student entering the profession, I have been confronted on a number of occasions with such remarks as, “you will find it difficult to practice at the Bar at your age” or “you would be better staying in your current profession”. All of which one feels most encouraged by.  So it was with trepidation that I began to read the report.

It was quite pleasing to read the comments by the Chairman of the Bar, Desmond Browne QC, who stated:

“As today’s report shows, the Bar has always tried to set the pace when it comes to social mobility. No one, either at the Bar Council or in the four Inns of Court, wishes to see anything hindering entrance to the Bar by those of sufficient ability, regardless of their social or ethnic background. The life stories in No bar to the Bar, ranging from students and pupils to a QC and a Lady Justice of Appeal, show that today the Bar really is for everyone. Determination and hard work are what matters.

Misconceptions that ‘the Bar is just not for me’ are long outdated, and must not be allowed to become self-fulfilling prophecies.”

It was at that point, my thoughts turned to the previous comments that I alluded to earlier. Maybe I should bring these to the attention of the Bar Council and specifically to Desmond Browne QC?

Determination and hard work are what matters! States DB.  Hmm…..perhaps this is where I turned down slippery path to the point of no return!

You see, speaking for myself, I feel that I can fully demonstrate determination and hard work having accomplished being called to the Bar whilst studying part time, working full time, raising a family, engaging in mini-pupillages whilst also promoting a successful career as both a law lecturer and advocate. But perhaps this was not what DB had in mind?

It was shortly after this point within the press release, I began to feel a little scepticism creeping in, especially as I have experienced along with colleagues who have approached the Bar later in life, a very different life experience.

As the final words fell off the page, it was only then it hit me! This commentary upon professional etiquette does not address key issues such as ageism within the profession. Yes, it clearly promotes a sense of transparency within the ranks which would be specifically identified as targeting a younger generation’s access to the Bar. In my opinion, ‘Setting the Pace on Social Mobility’ seems to fall short in promoting a sense of all round equality for the more mature members who are called to the Bar or address key substantive matters at issue in respect to the contentious parity of pupillage awards as has been outlined in previous blogs.

As always,
Justin Time

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