Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Moving on

Today was my last day at chambers. I've been pupil then tenant for seven years now but I am leaving for pastures new. A new set, though, not a new career.

Personal effects
The offer of a new tenancy was made Friday. On Monday some key people weren't in chambers so I waited until Tuesday to tell my head of chambers first, then the main members of my team. It was hard, and I am genuinely sorry to be leaving. I am excited to be moving on, though.

I called The Master to ask his advice. He is a QC now and left chambers several years ago. He has been difficult to track down, though, and I've finished in court too late the last two days to be able to catch up. I still hope for some sage words of wisdom in starting out at a new set.

My barrister colleagues all took the news well, expressing sorrow that I was leaving but congratulating me on the move. Initially I thought the clerks were going to be difficult. The news had spread faster than my legs could carry me and they heard on the grapevine rather than directly from me in person, which I regret. That was yesterday, though, and today, my last day, all seems well. I have been through my diary to work out what work should stay and what I should take with me and I have sorted my papers into three piles: comes with me, return to solicitor, money outstanding.

My abiding memory will be my final farewell this evening. I stayed late to organise my effects for collection tomorrow and delete my computer files. As I left, one of the original senior clerks was on the telephone to a solicitor in an otherwise empty clerks room. It is a scene with which I am very familiar. I gave him a wave and a smile, as I frequently but not invariably did, and he paused to mouth 'good luck'.

I promise you, there were tears in my eyes as I descended the stairs for the final time, just as there are now as I type this.