What do our pupils and barristers say?


Iain Large, Pupil, Family Practice Group

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Why did you choose St John’s Chambers?

“Having always wanted to practise in the South West, St John’s appealed to me in particular due to its large, well-regarded and experienced family team and its commitment to nurturing pupils within a specialist practice area.”

Your pupillage experience so far?

“I have never known two months to pass as fast as the first two months of pupillage. Within the first week the inevitable worries and nerves are dispelled through the combination of a warm welcome and immediate absorption into the life of chambers. In my case, lunch in Bristol with other members of chambers is followed straight away by reading up on a two-day final hearing in Swindon starting the next day. Thereafter, I am busy learning and re-learning names, getting some of the fundamentals of family practice under my belt, and adjusting to the peripatetic nature of life on Circuit.

One of the real pleasures so far has been the process of getting to know some of the many barristers, staff and clerks who, without exception and regardless of seniority, have been welcoming, supportive and interested. It is already clear to me that St John’s invests seriously in its pupils and wants them to succeed. As a result, pupillage here is an intensely challenging but overwhelmingly positive experience.”

What are you currently working on?

“It is already difficult to pick out specific highlights from my pupillage diary so far. I learned a great deal accompanying a QC on a two-week fact-finding hearing involving allegations of serious non-accidental head injuries. I enjoyed attending a recent Court of Protection conference organised by chambers, giving me an insight into this growing area of law. I have been challenged by the process of drafting an advice on a potential human rights claim within care proceedings. While the first six months of pupillage inevitably presents limited opportunities to engage with oral advocacy – such a key part of family practice – I have taken opportunities to draft orders, write up attendance notes, and research points of law as they arise.

After focusing for a few months on public law children proceedings, I will move to a new supervisor in the new year and turn my hand to matrimonial finance. The benefits of spending my entire pupillage within the family team in this way are already apparent to me. Needless to say, the prospect of beginning practice in four short months remains an intimidating, almost unreal, one. However, I am confident that with the benefit of a specialist pupillage and the excellent support offered by St John’s, I will be in the best possible position when the first day in court finally arrives.”

What is your background?

“Iain was born and raised in the South West before reading History at Balliol College, Oxford and Harvard University. Turning to law, he spent two years setting up a Lottery-funded legal advice partnership in Exeter, while undertaking the GDL conversion course at the University of Plymouth. He currently also acts as a trustee of the South West Legal Support Trust.”

Dr Rachel Segal, Pupil, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Practice Group

rachel-segal-128Why did you choose St John’s Chambers?

“St John’s is quite simply a fantastic set.  I have always wanted to be a civil practitioner and so looked carefully for a prestigious mixed civil set outside of London with the very best advocates attracting really high quality work. St John’s Chambers is at the top of the rankings for my areas of practice and in so many more and I knew this would be a perfect environment in which to learn from a broad range of specialisms at a very high level.  It also has a great reputation for being a friendly but professional set for pupillage and my experience so far most certainly chimes with that perception. I am delighted and feel privileged to be here.”

Your pupillage experience so far?

“Chambers in my experience very much lives up to its reputation for being a friendly and supportive environment for pupillage.  We are, of course, expected to work hard and diligently and to produce the best work we can, and that is so much easier in this positive, vibrant and collegiate atmosphere.

From day one I was given access to cases in both clinical negligence and personal injury; the fact that this is a specialised clinical negligence/personal injury pupillage has meant that I am involved on a daily basis with much more complex, interesting and high value matters than would otherwise be possible.  I am learning a lot from my two concurrent pupillage supervisors, who have considerable specialism in very different areas of practice, and really enjoying the process.”

What are you currently working on?

“In the past week alone I have drafted a skeleton argument for a mesothelioma show cause hearing in the RCJ, written advices on prospects and quantum and drafted statements of case in relation to psychiatric harm in the context of Employer’s Liability, prepared briefs for client conferences in personal injury and clinical negligence, and attended a Highways Act trial.

My work has included drafting skeleton arguments for a three-day Occupier’s Liability Act trial and an interim application on costs, prepping for Joint Settlement Meetings and conferences and drafting advices on delayed diagnosis of breast cancer, diagnosis and treatment of orthopaedic injuries and gynaecological interventions, for both claimants and defendants.”

What is your background?

“Prior to embarking on training for the Bar Rachel was for several years a University Lecturer in Musicology (the academic study of music, encompassing analysis, philosophy, history, sociology, theory and criticism of music). Over time she became increasingly involved in Higher Education policy (Learning and Teaching) and associated research.  She then became a Senior Adviser in Pedagogic Practice and Policy with a portfolio of universities and conservatoires and went on to lead a national Research and Evaluation team in this diverse, highly politicised field. Over the past two years she was a freelance County Court Advocate working primarily on the North Eastern circuit where she enjoyed a diverse and busy caseload.  She represented claimants and defendants in numerous Stage 3 and infant settlement hearings, interim applications, CMC and CCMCs but also mortgage possessions and applications, insolvency proceedings, enforcement actions.”

Dr Kate Harrington, Pupil, Commercial and Chancery Practice Group and Family Practice Group

“I am undertaking my pupillage over two years while also continuing with my academic commitments as a lecturer in law at the University of Exeter. I applied to St John’s because I did a mini-pupillage here and it stood out as a very friendly set with a wide range of challenging work. I have found that my pupillage experience has not only expanded my understanding of law in practice, but also legal language in practice, giving me new perspectives to include in my research and teaching in both law and forensic linguistics.”

Barristers

Robert Mills, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Practice Groups

“I joined St John’s having successfully completed my pupillage in 2015. Pupillage was a busy year and I benefited greatly from the exposure to a wide range of work across the personal injury and clinical negligence litigation spectrum. The feedback which I received was invaluable and has provided a strong foundation for life as a junior tenant.

Life at the junior end of the Bar is no less challenging, and the opportunities to build and develop my own practice as well as building a reputation with solicitors’ firms are excellent. I receive instructions in fast-track and multi-track trials, as well as maintaining a good flow of work on the small claims track, MOJ Stage 3 and Infant Approval hearings. My paper practice is also consistently busy with advices on liability and quantum, as well as pleadings.

The opportunities to develop a first class practice are available for juniors at St John’s, combined with a caring and highly efficient clerking team, this is an excellent set in which to practice.”

View profile: Robert Mills

 

Charlie Newington-Bridges, Commercial and Chancery Practice Group

Charlie Newington-Bridges “After completing my pupillage in October 2012, I was accepted as a tenant of St Johns joining the Commercial and Chancery Practice Group. I do a wide range of work that includes court appearances as well as advice related work. I attend court on average twice a week, acting for clients in cases from small claims to multi-track trials in a variety of courts across the South-West and London, including the High Court, Tribunals and County Courts. My instructions have involved a diverse and challenging array of non-court related work, from writing opinions on professional negligence  to drafting pleadings. My clerks ensure I am kept busy with a steady work flow, and chambers as a whole continues to provide me with invaluable resources and support.”

View profile: Charlie Newington-Bridges

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