Garden Parties and High Living

garden party

This is from Counsel magazine but I think it deserves the widest possible circulation.

Derek Wood QC is conducting the review of pupillage. He is having a drinks reception on Monday 13th July in Lincoln’s Inn at 530pm. If you are a pupil, or a recently completed pupil, you should have had an invitation. If not then get in touch with Andrea Clerk at the BSB – aclerk@barstandardsboard.org.uk – and go along.

The review is genuinely interested in your experiences and your thoughts. So make sure that those conducting it know what they are. And ask for an amnesty for pupil bloggers…


6 thoughts on “Garden Parties and High Living

  1. Forgive me Simon, but I do not believe there is any purpose to this but a jolly. As minx said in her post from the previous blog, whistleblowing is a dangerous thing.

    Who is ever going to say – “my pupillage was terrible, I was constantly berrated by an older insecure tennant, told off in manner of a 5 year old for stuff which I hadn’t actually done, and had to pick dog sh*t off the floor when a client’s pooch cr*pped in the waiting room”, as I for a fact know happened to someone recently in pupillage. What would happen? They would IMMEDIATELY be black balled from ever being offered a 3rd or tenancy else where on account its just not the done thing to complain!

  2. I think that you overstate it, in terms of never getting anything anywhere (my tip – find a place where the Head of Chambers believes your previous Head of Chambers is roughly equivalent to a pupil) but I take the point.

    However, there are two matters which stop this being just a jolly (not that pupils don’t deserve the odd jolly occasionally). Firstly, Derek Wood QC is considering structure amongst other things. It is therefore possible to make your point in terms of the Profession’s view of and behaviour towards pupils. That way the event is anonymised/stripped of primary importance. I am sure that he would respect confidential information if it were sensitive.

    Secondly, the culture has to change sometime. I agree that the Bar is not good at dealing with complaints from within its number, and that too many of us still take the view that pupils should count themselves lucky to have a place (and paid as well – harrumph) and should do whatever they were asked. I was 11 years call when a leader told me to take my shoes off in his room and clean his new carpet because I had inadvertently got mud on it so this is not a new phenomenon, nor one confined to pupils! But that will not help us get on with ourselves, clients or solicitors. For a culture to change, people have to be prepared to come forward. I know it is difficult but the Garden Party scenario also makes it easier.

    As I have said in previous posts, the BSB is serious about tracking down abusers and breakers of rules. It is also serious about protecting those who come forward. But it can only do so much if no one says anything. Gossip is not a basis for action. If you want change then you have to say your piece and trust us.

  3. I suspect the bar is unique in holding a garden party as a forum for whistleblowers. Perhaps everyone could wear Venetian masks in order to maintain anonymity.

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