A rising second-year law student at Exeter, this summer I had the opportunity, thanks to Exeter College’s alumni network, to take up a mini pupillage with Mr Adam Solomon QC (1989, English), an employment barrister, a Queen’s Counsel and an alumnus of the College.
While I am hoping to become a barrister after finishing my studies, I am currently unsure of what area of law I would like to practice. Knowing that I needed more exposure to, and experience of, the different areas of law that I could practice in, I was keen to take up this opportunity.
To kick-off the week of my mini pupillage, Mr Solomon first gave me a tour of his chambers, Littleton Chambers, before we travelled to East Croydon for an employment tribunal case. Although Mr Solomon is a senior barrister, he was working on a case more typical of a junior employment barrister. I joined the case half-way through; fortunately, I was thus able to see Mr Solomon cross-examine the defendant. Having read Mr Solomon’s skeleton argument before attending court, I was able to watch how he approached questioning the defendant, and how his crafted questions were designed to build a narrative for his case.
The parties decided to settle on the second day of my mini pupillage. On one hand, this was disappointing, as I was looking forward to hearing the closing submissions from both sides. On the other, I realised that this is the reality of employment tribunals in practice. By observing the process of negotiating a settlement and drafting the terms of an agreement, I was able to see more of the reality of the life of a junior barrister and the work I could expect to do.
I am grateful to Mr Solomon QC for letting me shadow him for a few days over the summer, and I would encourage Exeter students to take advantage of the opportunities that the College’s alumni can afford us.