Family law is hugely varied, and clients come from all walks of life. It is essential to have an ability to deal with complex financial disputes, often involving commercial issues, but also with child-related or other emotionally fraught and sensitive situations. A QEB pupillage is designed to help develop these abilities in preparation for a successful career at the Family Bar.
QEB is a leading set of family law chambers, particularly well known for dealing with the financial consequences of divorce, as well as all aspects of family law. QEB is a family law set with a “family feel”.
A pupillage at QEB is divided into three four-month periods each spent with a different supervisor. Each pupil shares a room with their supervisor and will be connected to the chambers network, which allows them access to our electronic legal resources.
The intention is that a pupil shares their supervisor’s daily professional life. They are expected to read their supervisor’s papers and attempt any paperwork the supervisor is doing – e.g., position documents, opinions and written submissions – as if they were themselves the barrister instructed. They will accompany their supervisor to court (both in-person and remote) and attend conferences between the supervisor and clients.
The aim is that pupils learn by direct experience how to prepare for hearings, and to do the necessary legal research, while at the same time developing an understanding of the non-legal, (but equally important) aspects of professional life, such as the relationship with lay clients and solicitors.
Each pupil is assigned a junior contact with whom they can discuss any worries or concerns that they might feel uncomfortable raising with their pupil supervisors. Moreover, a pupil is encouraged to accompany their junior contact to court during their first six so that the pupil can see some of the work that they themselves are likely to encounter during their second six months.
After six months a pupil becomes eligible to take on court work in his or her own right. We recognise that these first steps in court can be a daunting prospect and so we make sure that each pupil has undergone regular in-house advocacy exercises (as well as their own Inn advocacy training course) before they undertake their own work. A second-six pupil can usually be expected to be in court once or twice a week, with the volume of work increasing towards the end of their pupillage. Together with their own court work, pupils may undertake, on a paid basis, pieces of paperwork for members of chambers other than their supervisor (“devilling”).