For an insight into pupillage at 5RB, we asked Mariyam Kamil, our current pupil, a few questions:
Where did you go to university and what did you study?
I completed my undergraduate degree in law from Osmania University in India. Subsequently, I came to the UK to read for the BCL at Oxford and stayed on to pursue an MPhil and DPhil.
Why did you choose 5RB?
5RB was an obvious choice for me because I had an academic interest in privacy and data protection. I must confess that I very much stumbled my way into developing an interest in this area. Having completed the BCL, I was keen to pursue a research degree. After mulling over several potential topics, I chose the right to privacy in India. I enjoyed researching it tremendously on my MPhil and felt that I could develop it into a doctorate. On the doctorate, I had the opportunity to consider comparative aspects of privacy and data protection law. This sparked my interest in media law.
What’s the best thing about pupillage?
The best thing about pupillage is the quality of training you receive. Everyone involved in the process at 5RB is keen to help you to learn and succeed. My supervisors in particular have been very generous with their time and patience. They have given me detailed feedback on every piece of work that I have done so far. This has helped me improve my legal thinking and drafting substantially.
What’s the worst?
Pupillage is a year of constant evaluation. 5RB tries to make this process less stressful by being transparent about the assessment. It is especially helpful that pupillage here is well structured and includes periodical reviews.
Was pupillage what you were expecting?
I started pupillage just as the pandemic was beginning to recede. I was not quite sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Chambers had gone above and beyond to ensure that my pupillage is ‘in person’ as far as possible. As a result, I have had the advantage of sitting in my supervisors’ rooms, perhaps more than I had anticipated.
I was also not expecting to be in court as often as I have been. In the last three months, I have been fortunate to attend hearings in the employment tribunal, multiple county courts, the High Court and even the Supreme Court!
What advice would you give to potential applicants?
First, think carefully about your answers before articulating them. This is true for the written application as well as the interview. The written application and the written assessment are excellent opportunities to demonstrate your writing skills. Structure, clarity of thought and simple language go a long way. Be careful to avoid typos.
Second, a Chambers choosing you is almost as important as you choosing them. Think about whether you see yourself fitting into the Chambers’ culture. Can you imagine working with these members for the rest of your professional life? A mini pupillage is an invaluable opportunity to answer this question.
Third, be professional but be yourself.