Right then, an update as to my progress, in case anyone is interested…
The work that I am doing has increased both in volume, quality and, best of all remuneration. I got paid a four-figure sum for a small hearing that I did recently. Granted, I had to buy a train ticket to Devon and pay for a hotel room out of that, but I’m still smiling – or I will be if/when the cheque from the solicitors arrives. I’m now doing a bit of fast-track work which is nice because of the better fees involved….oh, I can’t do this….I have so much to tell you and am trying to procrastinate to build the drama. Oh well, here goes.
Firstly, my chambers has a ritual whereby the pupils have to fight it out in an advocacy exercise in front of all the members of chambers. This is done around three weeks before the tenancy decision and therefore has everything riding on it. I cannot begin to tell you how nervous I was. Being in court every day and trying to do as much [good] work for members of chambers at the same time it was difficult finding the time to prepare. The assessment was judged by a [past] member of chambers who is a High Court Judge. Everyone said beforehand that he was a thoroughly delightful chap who would not try to catch us out. Bollocks. He may well have been a thoroughly nice chap and, by all accounts, he is. But the very first thing he did was to throw me the biggest curve-ball in history. It had both myself and the other pupil scrabbling around the White Book aimlessly, trying to look as if we knew where redemption lay. We didn’t. The Judge addressed me. Help! I did the only thing I could: I blagged it. It seemed to work and we moved on. Anyway, long story short, we both did fine and it was over.
The chambers meeting for the tenancy decision came around three weeks later. Nervous though I was, I do not exaggerate when I say that I was considerably more nervous about the advocacy exercise. I felt a little numb as the hours passed on “the” day. When I was able to think logically and put emotion to one side, I thought that, overall, had performed fairly well during my pupillage, I had got on with everyone, not pissed anyone off (to the best of my knowledge) and so things should be alright. Those brief moments of clarity were but a drop in the ocean of ifs, buts and “if I don’t get it, I’m quitting the bar”, etc. I left chambers around 17.50, whilst all the excitement and the buzz had already begun in earnest all around me. I should have left by around 17.30 (meeting was at 18.00) but, impressively, I was still rather busy with work. I took a wander down the embankment and eventually found a bench near the London Eye. I sat. I waited for the call. I squinted uncomfortably in the late afternoon sun and thought about nothing else but tenancy. I tried reading but couldn’t. Made a few calls but they did not last long because I did not want to risk missing the call.
The call from my pupil-master came. Quite late (relatively). To find out what he said, keep reading and I will post again soon……kidding! I wouldn’t do that to you. It was good news. He shot the breeze with me for the first 30 seconds and made the odd joke at which point I thought he must have good news otherwise he wouldn’t be doing this – it would be too cruel. I was right. I was offered a tenancy and I quickly accepted. I am fortunate enough to belong to a great set and I have now achieved what I set out so to do, all those years ago. Now the real work begins….