A day in the life of a pupil…at Gatehouse Chambers

08 Sep 2021

Ryan Hocking, an English graduate and former pupil now practising in Commercial, Insolvency, Property, Professional Negligence takes us through what life was like when he was a pupil.

8.30am: I stop for a chat at reception, and pass through the practice room on my way up to my supervisor’s room.  One of the Practice Managers is keen to hear how I’m getting on, and tells me a little bit about one of the solicitors who has recently instructed me for a hearing the following week.

8:45am: I settle down in my supervisor’s room and drink the coffee I grabbed on my way into chambers while I check my emails and wait for my supervisor to arrive.  My inbox is fairly quiet this morning, but I respond to an email from the marketing team asking for a volunteer to write an article and make a note on my to do list, as well as gratefully agreeing with the fee suggested by a Practice Manager for a piece of work.

9:00am: My supervisor arrives, and suggests that we go over a piece of written work I finished yesterday so that I can get some feedback.  We go through my draft pleadings line by line, and my supervisor explains how they would do things differently and why, and gives me a copy of their own work on the same case to look through.

9:30am: Once we have finished going through my written work, my supervisor gives me some additional papers for the hearing in an insolvency case he has this afternoon so that I can read through them.  He asks me to research one particular point from his opponent’s skeleton, and I start looking through practitioner texts and authorities.

10:30am: I email the helpful authorities I found over to my supervisor, and we have a brief discussion of the results of my research and how my supervisor plans to present the issue in his submissions.

11:00am: At Gatehouse Chambers, we have three supervisors during the course of pupillage, and two wingers for each supervisor.  I go to speak to one of my wingers to ask her for some written work (preferably on a property matter, so that I can develop my experience in that area).  After a conversation about how pupillage is going and how busy everybody in chambers seems to be at the moment, we get down to brass tacks: I am given a set of papers and asked to write an opinion on the merits of a summary judgment application.  I go back to my supervisor’s room to start working on it.

12:30pm: My fellow pupil and I have agreed to go for lunch, and we head to a nearby café to get a bit of time away from chambers and share a bit of gossip.

1:30pm: I walk over to the Rolls Building with my supervisor and meet my supervisor’s instructing solicitor before the beginning of the hearing.

4:30pm: We get back to chambers following the hearing and discuss how it went.  My supervisor asks about the work I was given by my winger earlier, and runs through my to do list with me.  He tells me that he won’t be in chambers tomorrow, but that another member of chambers has a spare desk in their room that I can work at for the day (and that they may even have some work for me to look at if I find myself running out of things to do) and that he will be available if I want to talk anything through on a video or telephone call.

5:30pm: My supervisor tells me that he will be staying late to work on something urgent, and that I should feel free to leave for the day.


Ryan Hocking

Call: 2014


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