Thursday, 14 December 2006

The other pupil... currently in Jordan taking a witness statement in a child abduction case. Funded by the Legal Services Commission, too. To say I'm jealous does not begin to describe it.

Her Master specialises in child abduction cases and she's been doing quite a bit of work and research on the subject for him. She also has prior experience with the Department for Constitutional Affairs and Legal Services Commission, so she isn't straight out of law school and comes across as very confident, competent and efficient.

I didn't get a chance to speak to her before she went as it was all very short notice (I think I may have been living it up in Horsham at the time), but I bumped into her Master at Chambers drinks last night and he gave me some of the low down. Sounds like quite an unpleasant case, even by the standards to which I am becoming accustomed, and there seems to be some sort of sexual exploitation angle. I think I'll come back to the subject of the other pupil once she's back and we've had another chat. Suffice it to say for now that we get on well and there doesn't seem to be any jockeying for position or other tenancy competition related unpleasantness.

Unless she's just bluffing...

And, anyway, being as she managed to get sent to Jordan as an instrumental part of a major and difficult case by a leading solicitor in a niche area of law I think I can see who would come out on top in any straight fight. Not me.

Chambers drinks was a bit awkward. I was tired from getting up at 6am (that's very early by my standards) but managed to stick it out for an hour or so to put in some face time. I wasn't feeling on great form, so I chatted to someone I know well from before pupillage and also to last years' pupils. Interestingly, I also managed to talk to one of the two more senior clerks.

I have been getting a bit concerned about my apparently limitless ability to breach various unwritten protocols and the whole Mr Bean persona that I have somehow come to adopt in the presence of the clerks.

There are two senior-ish clerks (I'm not sure whether one is more senior than the other) and two quite junior clerks, plus a very impressive chambers administrator with a very interesting back story on whom I might do a post at some point. Every couple of days or so I've been venturing into their open plan room to try and find someone to tag along with to court. This involves me hovering awkwardly near the door trying to catch someone's eye while they talk about important things on the telephone to important people. Eventually (quite quickly, usually, to be fair, but it always feels like an eternity) someone takes pity and makes eye contact. I then seek to adopt a nonchalant air and pretend that I've just arrived or that I just happened to be passing by, meanwhile dithering about whether to stay in relative safety near the door or venture further into their domain. Unless feeling particularly cowardly or foolhardy, I do neither and hover just a little bit further inside the door, meaning I can't hear what they are saying to me and have to shout above the important telephone calls, thereby annoying everyone else in the room.

Why I behave like this entirely escapes me.

As soon as I have managed to get them to repeat a name and time often enough for me to decipher it, I thank them profusely and leg it.

The clerk reassured me last night that I've been doing fine and to carry on as I have been.


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