After having spent 6 months shadowing and learning the ropes, I was ready to get to my feet and start tackling my own cases. This was the moment that all pupils dream of and are itching for by the time they get to the 6-month mark. Unfortunately, like many others in my cohort of pupils that new found freedom and control was brought to an abrupt halt two weeks after starting my second six when lockdown was announced and my diary practically emptied overnight. I was back to shadowing my pupil supervisor whilst also attempting to find other ways to test my advocacy skills.
The comradeship at the bar is truly inspiring especially given that we are all in competition with one another at the end of the day. The troops rallied round to offer advocacy exercises, training and question and answer sessions for students, pupils and new practitioners. I tried to make the most of attending everything I possibly could but it simply wasn’t the same as the real thing. I was left feeling extremely frustrated and disappointed by each week that went by with no “appearances” in court.
I struck gold when a month into lockdown I was offered the opportunity to assist my head of chambers in a 5-week fact-find where she was being led by Cyrus Larizadeh QC. Due to unforeseen circumstances the case was extended by a further 3 weeks and I was asked to take over as junior on the case. I couldn’t believe my luck. I spent those weeks learning from the best, observing the different advocacy styles and gained some very helpful knowledge on how to approach expert witnesses. I was even afforded the opportunity to cross-examine one of the witnesses. This was single handedly the most terrifying moment of my career at the bar so far (and probably for many more years to come) as 5 QCs including my leader were staring at me through a computer screen. I survived and we were triumphant in our plea to clear our client’s name.
Now 6 months on from the collapse of our lives as we knew it, I am now a tenant, the diary is much busier and my worries about my future at the bar are starting to disappear. The message behind my little story is that when things get tough keep going as you never know what is around the corner or what opportunity is going to present itself.
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