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A Day in the Life of 42BR pupil, Max Montgomery

A Day in the Life of 42BR pupil, Max Montgomery

Four months into pupillage at 42 Bedford Row, and it is safe to say that no two days have yet been the same. What has been consistent, however, is that each day has been fast-paced, challenging and enjoyable, and has brought me one step closer to getting on my feet at the beginning of April.

The non-practising first six of pupillage is split equally between family law and civil law. During my first seat, under the supervision of Philip McCormack, most days would begin with a train journey from London to a Family Court somewhere in the South East. This gave me an invaluable opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the day’s hearing and to generally tap into Philip’s wealth of experience at the Family Bar. Other members of Chambers could often be found on the platform at King’s Cross, so the journeys provided a great opportunity to meet them and learn about their practices.

Days at the Family Court would typically include attending a client conference, pre-hearing discussions with the other advocates and the hearing itself. I was lucky enough to attend a number of complex, multi-day trials with Philip, and also had the opportunity to shadow other members of Chambers’ family team, to ensure I encountered the full range of hearings I may undertake once I am practising.

After court, I might head back to Chambers to tackle the bundle for the following day’s case or work on tasks I had been set. Pupils are given opportunities to practise and receive feedback on written work, which during the family seat included drafting attendance notes, case summaries and Orders. Members of Chambers may also approach pupils to carry out legal research, which provides valuable opportunities to work with senior barristers on complex cases. Workload is managed by the pupil’s supervisor, who ensures the experience is productive and challenging, without becoming overwhelming.

Working in Chambers, when possible, is a great opportunity to meet other barristers and absorb as much as possible about their approach to the job. Pupils are encouraged to attend frequent training sessions and lectures in Chambers, as well as the monthly drinks and social events which are a great chance to unwind after a day spent running to court or lost in a bundle.

A few weeks into my employment seat, with Safia Tharoo, and I have attended unfair dismissal and discrimination trials, drafted a skeleton argument for a vanishing dismissal trial and attended client conferences in preparation for a case involving 22 witnesses. I have also prepared for and attended a client conference with another member of Chambers, in a landlord and tenant dispute, and have been given time to prepare for the compulsory pupil advocacy course with Gray’s Inn.

A day in the life of a pupil at 42 Bedford Row is not straightforward to summarise, but I hope the above gives a flavour of how varied, exciting and challenging it can be. Pupillage can be a daunting process, but I have found Chambers to be a thoroughly supportive environment in which to develop, where the primary focus so far as pupils are concerned is preparing them to be effective barristers. The practising second six, when I will take to my feet with my own cases, is fast approaching and will no doubt bring its own unique challenges and opportunities. I suspect pinning down exactly what a day in the life of a pupil looks like may not get easier any time soon!

Max Montgomery

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Max Montgomery




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