Pupils are warmly welcomed by members and staff alike and are encouraged to take an active role in cases from the start of their time with us, enabling them to work with some of the brightest minds at the Commercial Bar and on some of the most interesting cases.
Beyond exposure to the talented people and stimulating work, our pupils learn to work together and gain essential communication skills. Pupils are encouraged to co-operate with each other, with a view to this supportive ethos being carried on through tenancy. Each pupil has a supervisor who offers opportunities to collaborate on case work and our approachable pupillage committee members can provide additional mentoring. This established training system helps pupils become successful barristers by identifying and nurturing potential for success.
Our goal is to provide pupils with broad and thorough training in the types of work done by Fountain Court members during the year-long pupillage.
Much of this work is commercial in nature and we have a training programme which is designed to prepare our pupils for starting in practice as a junior commercial barrister. Pupils are called upon to complete pieces of work for members which arise in their practices (not artificial assessments). In this way, pupils will get to know and be known by members and experience the full spectrum of work done in chambers. A lot of time is spent reading papers, and preparing pleadings, skeleton arguments, and advices and notes on specific questions of law are often required. The work is reviewed and discussed with the pupil supervisor and a pupil can expect to accompany members of chambers to trials, appeals and, more frequently, interlocutory hearings. If pupils wish to experience particular areas of work, that can usually be arranged.
It is unusual for our pupils to get work of their own during pupillage and we encourage paid advocacy work to only be accepted after the tenancy decision, because we think it is more important for pupils to learn in chambers during the pupillage year. After pupillage, we place a heavy emphasis on opportunities for advocacy work for junior tenants. It is vital that junior tenants appear in court on a regular basis on appropriate cases at this stage in their careers. Fountain Court has an excellent track record in this area as we have a dedicated clerking team whose principal role is to obtain and clerk advocacy work for the most junior tenants.
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