• Wednesday, June 5, 2024
Trinity’s Six Pupils Share Their Experiences of Pupillage So Far

Trinity Chambers - Pupillage Blog

In October 2023 Chambers welcomed Thomas Langley as a Civil pupil, Sophie Johnstone as a Criminal pupil and Thomas Bannister as a Family pupil. They then each went on to commence their ‘Second Six’ in pupillage and have been on their feet since April 2024.

Following close behind, are Trinity’s second intake of pupils, Amy Nerou in Family, Estelle Chambers in Crime and Birju Kotecha in Civil who are reaching the end of their first 6 months’ pupillage.

As part of Chambers' Pupillage Blog they have each shared their experiences so far:


My second six has got off to a very busy start. Since I got on my feet I have variously:
  • Acted in multi-day unfair dismissal Employment Tribunal proceedings.
  • Assisted in an application for summary judgment/strike out and Part 18 Questions. 
  • Written advice and advised in conference in a discrimination/harassment Employment Tribunal case. 
  • Advised on a bankruptcy petition. 
  • Acted in proceedings for contempt of court related to anti-social behaviour, final injunction proceedings under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and resisting permission to issue a warrant of possession.
  • Assisted in nuisance and boundary dispute proceedings.
  • Appeared in a business and property case management hearing and drafted the defence and counterclaim.
  • Acted in road traffic accident liability trials, quantum-only RTA proceedings,  credit hire and infant approval proceedings. 
In all, the start of my second six has been a great mix of my main areas of interest – business and property, employment and housing – with a healthy spread of drafting, applications and oral advocacy. My diary for the rest of June has reflected this interest and I can't wait to continue in this vein until I complete pupillage. 
I am also thankful for the trust and support that the clerks have shown by allowing me to do such high quality, interesting work at such an early stage of my career.  Likewise from my more senior colleagues who have trusted me to draft and review work for them, which experience I very much appreciate. 
Chambers more generally has been an excellent resource.  The depth of knowledge and experience from the Civil team at all levels of call, my supervisor Andrew Crammond foremost among them, has really helped me find my feet.  In all, I’m very much looking forward to the rest of my time in practice.


At the date of writing this, I have nearly been on my feet for a total of 2 months. The past couple of months have been extremely busy and I am fortunate enough to have been in Court every single day since starting my own cases.

As a specialist Criminal pupil, I have appeared in both the Magistrates and Crown Court and have been instructed on a variety of cases from first appearance through to trial and sentence. I have prosecuted a variety of offences, including sexual assault, section 47 assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons, drugs offences and so on.

I have also defended in a variety of matters including racially aggravated assault and have represented defendants who face allegations of drink and drug driving. I have also conducted appeals, both against conviction and sentence. I have also been instructed by a Local Authority in relation to private prosecutions.

Since starting second six, I have learnt so much. Indeed, I learn something every single day, and I am told this never really stops. No matter the result – there is always something to learn, and self-reflection and analysis has become a huge part of my daily routine. I am incredibly lucky to have a proactive and conscientious pupil supervisor, Josh Normanton, who continues to encourage my development and we regularly de-brief after our busy days.

The support from all other members of Chambers is incredible. No matter the time of day, there always seems to be someone available for a panicked call to discuss a niche point of law, or for some friendly advice. The level of support that is available from all members of Chambers is a testament to the real investment that is put into pupillage and Chambers’ pupils.

The excitement of the job really makes all the hours of preparation worthwhile. Winning a case or obtaining a good result for the client fills you with a sense of pride. I am very much looking forward to the future months and seeing my practice begin to flourish. Having worked so hard for this moment of my career, it is so heartening to see things turning out so well.

On a final note, I have been given so many fantastic opportunities thus far, and I can only thank the amazing clerking team for making this happen and for managing my diary so well.


Since writing my last pupillage blog update in January there have been a few changes - I rotated pupillage supervisors at the beginning of February and have been working under the supervision of Henry Stevens. Henry’s family practice primarily focuses on Matrimonial Finance/Financial Remedy and Private Children Law. Moreover, Henry has a busy Civil practice, part of which includes ToLATA disputes within a domestic setting. Working under Henry’s supervision for the past four months has allowed me to build my knowledge in these areas, something I have found to be invaluable since starting my second six.

My second six commenced at the beginning of April and naturally, I was a little nervous, but the overwhelming feeling was one of cautious optimism. Whilst I think it’s fair to say no pupil barrister can ever truly extinguish all self-doubt (and neither should they, given it’s an excellent source of motivation!), the supportive and collegiate environment that Trinity fosters genuinely makes you feel ready to tackle the professional challenges of any given day.

To date, the work I have undertaken in my second six has been hugely varied, encompassing areas such as Financial Remedy, Private and Public Children Law, ToLATA disputes and Non-Molestation/Occupation Orders. Within those varied areas, I have also been fortunate to be instructed to act in a variety of hearing types from First Appointments to Final Hearings.

A typical week will see me travelling to Courts throughout the North Eastern Circuit, including Middlesbrough, Durham, North Tyneside, South Shields, Newcastle-Quayside, and, of course, Newcastle-Barras Bridge. I appreciate that for some travel can be something of a chore, but thus far I am finding it gives me an excellent opportunity to collect my thoughts and further reflect on the arguments before arriving at Court. That said, it is becoming increasingly clear that preparation can only take you so far. Almost invariably, something will crop up that you could not have prepared for. This reminds you that it is important to remain agile and not stay wedded to any script unnecessarily.

I have also been fortunate enough to have some excellent instructing solicitors, primarily comprised of local North East firms and Local Authorities. These solicitors have made the transition from first six to second six that little bit smoother by providing detailed briefs and well-prepared bundles.

Speaking of smooth transitions from first six to second six, a word must be saved for the clerks, whose knowledge of just about everything you’d need to know when starting out at the Bar never fails to amaze me.

AMY NEROU – Family Pupil

I am Trinity Chambers’ newest Family pupil, having commenced pupillage late January 2024. I am under the supervision of Kate Fenwick.

In the first four months of pupillage I can safely say we haven’t stopped, and it has been an incredible learning experience. On day one (a day Kate had planned to keep clear to ease me in with some legal research), we jumped straight in with an urgent ICO representing a Local Authority; day two, we started my first final hearing as a pupil. Since then, we have done cases involving international abduction; parental alienation; medically complex children; a death of a child; wardship; judicial review; a committal; and two permission to appeals. The complexity and variety of cases has been beyond any experience I could have imagined during pupillage: four months ago, I couldn’t imagine working on a case with a Silk, now.

Whilst I have spent most of my time with Kate, I have also spent time with other members of Chambers. I have had the joy of doing some “family-inclined” Civil work, such as trusts of the family home. I have seen private law out of Court Arbitration, the principles for which we have applied to a “roundtable” in a public law dispute. I have also spent time with a number of exceptional colleagues in public law.

The learning opportunities have been invaluable and exceptional. For example, whilst working on a complex parental alienation case, I was able to attend the Nagalro conference exploring legal and social work attitudes to the very concept of parental alienation. I was then able to use that when we were drafting arguments, and when we later provided teaching on the topic to a Local Authority. Kate has taken the time to create written tasks for me, to allow me to develop my skills in areas not covered by her current diary. This has included skeleton arguments and conferences on questions of jurisdiction, or thresholds for cases of serious inflicted injury. Above all, I have been taught the value of a comprehensive chronology as part of my case preparation.  

One of the most enjoyable aspects of pupillage has been becoming part of the camaraderie of the Bar, especially within Chambers. I have been made to feel so welcome, and I cannot wait to attend more messes, Thursday cake afternoons, and spontaneous pub visits. I have also benefitted greatly from being one of six pupils currently at Trinity, who form an incredibly supportive group going through pupillage together.

In a recent conversation with a member of Chambers, I was asked to reflect what has surprised me most during these past months. I realised it was how quickly I felt comfortable in doing the jobs given to me. Prior to starting pupillage, the idea of drawing orders; drafting thresholds, skeleton arguments, and submissions; or conducting complex legal research for my seniors all felt incredibly intimidating. However, I have received so much support and so many learning opportunities that these tasks feel achievable, and I know the feedback I receive means I will continue to improve.  

The last few months have flown by faster than I could have imagined. I can only look forward with excitement to getting on my feet.


I am now in the last stretch of first-six, and seem to be reflecting more and more on all of the experience I have been afforded thus far. The last few months have flown over, but the experience I have gained is vast and invaluable. As I progressed further into first-six, I found myself drafting more documents, and becoming more involved with case preparation. My supervisor has allowed me to get stuck into his cases, whether that be by drafting legal arguments and defence statements, or by preparing cross examination and conference plans.

Although I am predominantly with my supervisor assisting in his cases which often involve serious violence and/or serious sexual offences, I have also spent a lot of time with other members of Chambers. This has allowed me to observe different styles of advocacy and case preparation which in turn assists in helping me find my own style. Through other members of Chambers, I have observed trials involving manslaughter, fraud, burglary, and an array of other offences.

I have been fortunate enough to spend some time marshalling a local Crown Court Judge during my first-six. This gave me an interesting perspective when watching advocates present their cases. I also got some hints and tips from the particular Judge I was marshalling on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of advocacy. First-six also involved completing advocacy training which is required in order to commence second-six and drafting two articles which have been published on Chambers’ website.

I have just over one month left until I start second-six, I plan on utilising this final month to ensure I have observed a similar level of work to that which I will be carrying out when I first start on my feet. I have some days pencilled in my diary for shadowing magistrates’ trials, as well as shadowing some junior-end prosecution work. I am excited to start on my feet but am also aware of the steep learning curve which is inevitably coming my way!


As cliché as it sounds my first day of pupillage feels like yesterday. Writing now, I am a month away from being on my feet in the second six of pupillage - a prospect that leaves me both excited and nervous although which of those emotions I feel most depends on the time of day.

I have continued to see a blend of work across Chambers’ Civil practice areas including employment, personal injury, housing and business. Early on I spent two weeks in Edinburgh and then Glasgow at the Employment Tribunal in two cases, where we first acted for an employer defending their decision to dismiss and later acted for an employee claiming they were dismissed unfairly.

A real highlight was watching my supervisor conduct a focused cross-examination which was a joy to observe and helped me appreciate the craft of framing the right question for a precise purpose.

More recently I have shadowed a variety of members in Chambers and noticed different techniques and approaches to clients and cases. There is no universal style to ‘being a barrister’ and different barristers adopt their own subtle methods. I have learnt a huge amount during first six, too much to list, including those things that might appear obvious. For instance, the importance of analysing your case from the Court’s point of view. In some cases that means the best option for your client will be to negotiate a compromise, even at the door of the Court.  

Throughout pupillage I have practised and developed my written advocacy - an understated but no less important skill. For instance, I have written a skeleton argument resisting an application for pre-action disclosure, closing submissions on whether an employment tribunal claim was brought out of time, a witness statement regarding a dispute concerning a commercial lease, and several opinions on cases ranging from the contested interpretation of contractual terms to a trusts dispute between a co-habiting couple concerning a residential property.

The work that has come across my desk has been incredibly stimulating and at no stage have I felt like my views mattered less because I was a pupil. Being self-employed at the independent Bar may feel like a solo endeavour but you are not far from a strong team at Trinity; there is ample advice available on the other side of the door, or on the other end of the phone.

Several years of training will culminate on my first day on my feet - the 9th of July 2024 - and I am already seeing cases in my diary. I can’t wait. 

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