I graduated from the University of Reading in 2015 and studied the BPTC at the University of Law graduating in 2017 with a Very Competent. I am currently undertaking my pupillage at East Anglian Chambers primarily in criminal law.
Pupillage is a strange way of training those who are just starting out in a profession how to do something that, in all likelihood, is completely alien to them. I can think of no other jobs where the training consists of six months of following people around and, generally having little or no say over the trajectory of the project being worked on. Then suddenly, six months and a day after you started training, you are on your own.
It might seem that the presumption of innocence should mean that Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon – both of whom spent many years in prison because of convictions which have now been overturned – will be treated as innocent men. However, it is well known that the law is lacking with regard to individuals who are the subject of a miscarriage of justice at the hands of the state, despite the incredibly damaging impact that this has on a person’s life.
Last year the Supreme Court heard two appeals in relation to the award of compensation for those wrongly convicted of criminal charges. The case concerned two men whose criminal convictions were overturned after they had spent many years in prison.
This week a partner at the law firm Tuckers received a death threat for representing Jack Shephard, dubbed by the media as the ‘speedboat killer’. The letter stated: “Accidents happen, people get stabbed in London, pets get poisoned, children run over” and was signed off “Heil Hitler”.
The BPTC is designed to give people the skills to practise as a barrister. However, before embarking on at least one year of intense study, it is worth giving some thought to whether you are also ready to spend five years applying for pupillages and whether you are likely to obtain one in that time.