The headline gives it away!
I’m proud to announce that from November, I’ll be a pupil barrister at the CPS, with a guaranteed job as Crown Prosecutor following pupillage. Thus, today’s news is doubly exciting. I’ve been offered (in essence) both a pupillage and a tenancy at the same time — ensuring my shot at a long career in criminal law.
Happy isn’t the word for it!
However, delighted as I’m feeling right now, I know the real challenge lies ahead.
Some proper celebration is called for. But soon, I must return to the books to refresh my knowledge of criminal procedure. I must re-acquaint myself with the elements of certain offences which I’m likely to be prosecuting (and advising police on) from next year. I must attend court on a regular basis — especially the Magistrates’ Court, where I’ll appear most often during my early years of practice. And I must ensure that my research skills are up to scratch, especially when using online sources.
All of this must be done prior to November, to ensure I’ll be ready to hit the ground running. But the rewards are most definitely in sight.
To any aspiring advocate who may discover this post, my advice is to believe in yourself and never give in. That’s a big cliché, I know. So let me illustrate with a personal example.
In 2013, whilst studying for my Masters, I entered the Birmingham Postgraduate Mooting Competition, where I made it as far as the semi-finals. The moot was judged by a well-known QC, who afterwards gave me this (public) feedback:
“Your advocacy puts me in mind of neighbours talking over a garden fence.”
That remark hurt. In fact, I felt embarrassed and humiliated by it.
But four months later, I went on to win a national mooting competition. The final was judged by a Justice of the Supreme Court, who afterwards gave me this (public) feedback:
“You’re a serious advocate.”
The following year, I entered the Birmingham Postgraduate Mooting Competition again. This time, instead of walking away humiliated, I won.
The moral of my story:
Only YOU can know whether you’re truly cut out to be an advocate.
You may endure setbacks. I certainly did. But you must overcome.
You may suffer embarrassment. I certainly have. But you must bounce back.
You may feel like walking away. I almost did. But remember why you started.
In the celebrated words of Winston Churchill, you must:
“Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never — except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
Or, in the poetic style of Charles Bukowski:
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. It could mean derision, mockery, isolation. You will be alone with the gods and the nights will flame with fire. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. All the way. All the way.”
Well folks, I did it!
Now where did I put that champagne… ?