Congratulations, you now have a mini pupillage! But, now what do you do when you are on it? How can you make yourself stand out? There is an endless list, but these are the most crucial to ensure your mini goes smoothly.
Do take notes – not only is this useful to you for future references and applications, but they may even be relied on by the barrister, who said what and what questions were asked.
Do ask lots of questions – the barrister will be keen to know you are interested, but make sure you ask them at the right time! If they are talking to their client, don’t butt in and ask how they funded the bar.
Do take down the name of the judge, the case, the court and the time – it is attention to detail Inns and Bar Schools will be asking you about in interviews, if you don’t know these things, they make take it that you weren’t paying attention.
Do follow like a shadow – always be close to your barrister and see what they are doing at all times, don’t wander off as your case may be called in without you knowing.
Do tell chambers what you would like to see – it’s your mini pupillage, if you tell them what you are interested in, they are likely to be accommodating.
Do ask for work on the case – this shows an interest to get stuck in as well as to get a good understanding, it is especially useful if you are halfway through a case.
Do expect to travel – on a mini you will be sent all over London, or if you are outside, potentially all over the county, so be prepared for expensive travel tickets, and usually chambers won’t pay for your expenses, so mini’s are quite a costly experience.
Do show you have knowledge in the law – if something doesn’t add up with what you have studied, do query it, but do it in the right way rather than saying to your barrister you’re wrong as they may have a reason, there are always caveats in law!
Do wear a suit – in fact always wear a suit and blazer. As a barrister you have to look smart, so why shouldn’t you as a mini? For ladies, always dark tights and a skirt below the knee, and don’t wear revealing shirts!
Don’t suffer in silence with work – if you are given a task such as research and are struggling, don’t just sit there and look like you are working, ask questions. It’s better to do that than admit when asked about it that you didn’t’ know what you were doing.
Don’t read in court – cases can be long and sometimes a bit dull, but this doesn’t give you any excuse to start reading fifty shades under the desk! It has happened and often, you are caught out. If you take down notes constantly, this should stop your mind from drifting.
Don’t sleep in court – judges and jurors have been known to do it, but you will face probably a much harsher reprisal if you are caught doing it.
Don’t walk in when a judge is talking – whenever the judge is addressing the jury, defendant or when anyone is taking an oath, never enter the room or even move, it is a legally binding oath and there must be no distractions.
Don’t talk about the case – you would have signed a confidentiality agreement, don’t talk about the case with your barrister outside the court, a juror or even the other side may hear you and it could jeopardise the case.
Don’t take selfies – they know you are excited, but don’t take selfies in the court or anywhere really, they look unprofessional and chambers do look on social media and if they find an embarrassing selfie in your wall, you can count yourself out of pupillage
The most important thing is to enjoy it and above all – learn something!