Home > News > Joel Semakula’s article ‘The Pupil Experience’ published in TargetJobs Law Pupillage Handbook 2021

Joel Semakula has produced an article highlighting his time as a Pupil barrister for TargetJobs Law Pupillage Handbook 2021.

“I am in the final month of my pupillage at Landmark and am very excited to begin life as a junior tenant. Prior to pupillage, I had heard stories from my peers about how hugely demanding, challenging and tiring the pupillage year could be. I expected to give up my hobbies, disappear from my family and friends and for sleep to become a luxury. Although the learning curve was steep, that was not my experience.

Chambers puts so much time into ensuring its training meets the needs of its pupils. I have never been expected to stay late in Chambers or come in on weekends. The few times that late-night work was required, members of Chambers would regularly check in and ensure everything was okay.

This became even more important during lockdown where pupillage became virtual and the regular rules around working habits seemed less clear. I would speak with my supervisor virtually at least once a day (more if required) and a lot of effort was made to ensure my training and work/life balance did not suffer as a result of the pandemic.

I have had four, three-month seats across Chambers’ main practice areas. Throughout, I have completed a range of tasks from drafting pleadings, to writing advice, to conducting legal research and helping my supervisors prepare for hearings. Most of the work has been “live” and it has been useful to compare my supervisor’s final product against my drafts. Both pre- and post-COVID, there has been a good mix of paperwork, conferences with clients and attending hearings.

I have continued to feel very supported and benefit from the well-established open-door policy (albeit virtually). No matter the problem, both junior and senior barristers are very happy to talk through an issue, answer questions or recommend any books.

As with many pandemic pupils, getting enough advocacy experience in the post-lockdown world has been a challenge. However, Chambers provided multiple opportunities to take part in practice hearings and continues to assist me with securing advocacy opportunities, where possible.

As a second six pupil, I have started taking on a few cases in my own right in all of Chambers’ key areas. An exciting moment was being instructed on the A Level results challenge. The Practice Managers have helped me hit the ground running in developing my practice and members remain on hand to discuss any concerns. I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed pupillage at Landmark and will proudly wear the crown of being the first member to receive his tenancy decision via Zoom.”

To view the full article, please click here.  To find out more about Pupillage opportunities at Landmark Chambers, please visit our Pupillage page.

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