With COVID-19 restrictions and the majority of work at the family bar taking place remotely, many pupillages are currently being undertaken from home. If you live in a shared flat like me, you will know that means I am completing my pupillage in my bedroom.
One of the greatest challenges of my bedroom pupillage so far has been learning to grapple with the new technology that the family bar has innovatively adopted to see it through the pandemic. Mostly, Microsoft Teams, CVP, Skype for Business, Zoom and Lifesize. Learning to recognise and file in an orderly fashion the avalanche of links I can be sent in any given week for my diary full of pre-hearing discussions, advocates’ meetings and hearings is an organisational skill I did not expect to need.
With an average of 10 hours a day of screen time, it is no surprise that in my first few weeks of pupillage I had headaches and tired eyes. I was encouraged by members of my chambers who have worked out the best way forward for remote hearings to invest in my technology and make sure I have the right equipment. Following this advice has made my life a lot easier.
Another challenge of a bedroom pupillage is that it can sometimes be lonely. I crave the camaraderie of the bar that I have been told for years is one of the best things about being a barrister. I wish I could feel the excitement and adrenaline in a busy courtroom. I wish I could get home at the end of a long day and flop down on my bed kicking my court shoes off.
Instead, I take two footsteps from my desk to my bed shedding my slippers as I go. This can make it very difficult to switch off and separate the time I spend in a courtroom from everything else I do in my day. I am trying to make the most of the incredible opportunity I have been given and I remind myself that other pupils undertaking pupillage at this time are in the exact same position. We all must do our best to adapt to these unprecedented challenges and with some luck, overcome them.
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