The Master is dead. Long live The Master.
I am feeling unusally bright and cheerful today, not exactly my default condition for the past few months since starting. I arrived at 9am and settled down in The Master's room to start work on my pupillage checklist. The room was empty, and after a meeting a few weeks ago with The Master, I expected it to stay empty. The other occupants are quite senior and rarely show up in chambers. I plugged myself into someone else's network cable and downloaded what I needed.
An hour later, I was reflecting on how lonely the next few months would be. Tucked at the end of a corridor with no passing trade in gossip, war stories and panic, stuck in a room with another absent Master and two senior ghost counsel, there was a risk I could die alone, perhaps from a severe paper cut or ring binder injury, be partially eaten by kittens and that it would be days before my discovery.
However, another hour down the line and The Master had materialised, transmogrified, sent my CV off to a major player solicitor who is looking for advice on intervening in a House of Lords case -- as a genuine part of his own angling for the role of junior in the case as I'm apparently part of his team now and would allegedly be invaluable -- agreed to let me take a day off for a long weekend for my thirtieth (boo!) shortly and is keen for me to do more training work to raise my profile.
It's as if the carpet were made of clover.
However, the more serious business of my pupillage checklist is proving vexing. I feel I can legitimately tick many of the boxes necessary. When it comes to part five, on the specialist area of my pupilmaster, however, I'm in a bit of difficulty, as barristers sometimes say. I simply haven't seen more than one case involving ancilliary relief and that didn't cover all the right bases. I've got no idea about various types of injunction. Even on child cases, I've got a good grounding in most public law principles (even then, I've only seen adoption stuff fairly tangentally) but haven't seen much private law at all.
I tried to email the Bar Council but, to their credit, very quickly got an email back from the Bar Standards Board. The Bar Council seems to have split into two parts, although I haven't yet had time to look up why or get to grips with this. I assume it's something to do with making the profession look better regulated. The email response suggested I just write down what I've done and send it in with as much of the checklist as I can complete.
I'm hoping they aren't too serious about being better regulated and that this is some sort of prelude to a rubber stamping exercise. I'm not sure that sending a link to this blog and an essay on the arts of photocopying, hole punching and stapling will do the trick.
I bumped into The Other Pupil at the shared computers while printing the checklists out. She's been ticking hers off as she went, which is admirably organised and farsighted of both her and her Master. I highly recommend this approach to any pupils or potential pupils out there reading this. In contrast, I'm now going to have to tout myself around chambers fairly frantically over the next couple of weeks to try and cover a few more checklist criteria.
I got a call from the old Master in the afternoon. He has a back injury, won't be in chambers for some time and wanted me to check his cheque folder and pigeon hole. Like in the old days. I was more than happy to do so, and will probably tag along to a couple of big hearings he has coming up for which I've been involved in the preparation work. I tried not to sound too upbeat or excited on the phone, especially as he was clearly feeling pretty rotten.
For the first time in quite some time, however, I am actually quite upbeat and excited. Long may it last!