I started at DWF Chambers as a pupil, having just finished my BPTC and working in a corporate office job, so having relatively limited court experience. The unique and highly advantageous aspect of pupillage at DWF was that it offers unrivalled opportunities to get on your feet and into court quickly. Other traditional pupillages require their pupils to exclusively shadow for 6 months, whereas I was able to take on my own cases acting as a 'solicitor's agent' within my first 6. I stand behind the expression that 'the best way to learn is by doing'. As a result of this, I feel I have had a real head start by comparison to the other pupils in my cohort. Further, due to the nature of instructions that DWF Chambers receive, I have also been able to achieve wider range of experiences than many other pupils have. For example, I have already had the opportunity to be act in the preliminary hearings for multitrack claims, something that other pupils would rarely get the opportunity to do. The range has been not only in all types of different applications, CCMCs and trials but also in courts with varying styles of practice, such as the rapid fire Birkenhead style Stage 3 hearings. The breadth of this experience has given me greater confidence to take on new and unfamiliar work where the opportunities present themselves.
What made the faster pace and more rapid progression in experience possible was the unmatched support both from my pupil supervisor and across the wider team. I was able to learn in an environment where it felt safe to ask questions and make mistakes. Everyone was warm, welcoming and felt genuinely excited for me to do well. No question was too silly or small, whether that was 'which authority sets out the difference between bribery and 'half secret' commission in the context of credit agreements for motor vehicles?', or 'is it true that we aren’t allowed to wear brown shoes and shake hands?'. Each member of the team that I shadowed in court took extra time with me both before and after hearings. They were always ready to walk me through their process, go for coffee after a hearing to 'debrief', and answer questions to help allow me to gain a better understand any outcome, law or practice. More broadly, training was regularly available in the form of specialised sessions, as well as being offered a comprehensive handbook covering all areas that we come across on a regular basis. This is not to mention truly invaluable array of spreadsheets for calculating damages, interest, costs and cost consequences. DWF offers the perfect balance of support and independence to allow ambitious and enthusiastic pupils to thrive and excel.
If you are interested in learning more about the pupillage programme, or are interested in utilising the services DWF Chambers can offer, please feel free to contact Dan Monaghan.