Life as a Pupil

Annie Fendrich joined Chambers as a tenant in 2020, after completing her pupillage supervised by Victoria Ailes and Peter Ratliff. She talks us through her year as a pupil at 6KBW College Hill.

View Annie’s profile profile

In my first six, I was supervised by a member of Chambers whose practice centred on the public law aspect of Chambers’ work. I spent time drafting notes on the law and written submissions, on which I received in-depth feedback from my supervisor. I saw a fascinating range of work, covering issues such as unlawful detention, prisoners’ rights, and the relationship between EU law and domestic criminal law.

When I wasn’t with my supervisor, I attended court with other members of Chambers. Much of this time was spent with Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey) where I saw some of the most complex and high-profile criminal trials in the country, and some of the very best advocacy. I also observed proceedings in magistrates’ courts, as well as in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Towards the end of first six, Chambers arranged for each of the pupils to spend two days with a District Judge in a magistrates’ court. This was an invaluable opportunity to get a judge’s perspective on magistrates’ court advocacy, and learn some useful tips prior to starting on our feet.

As with all pupils at 6KBW, I took part in Chambers’ in-house Pupillage Training Course. This consisted of regular lessons in advocacy from senior members of Chambers, which covered, amongst other topics, cross examination, legal argument, closing speeches and extradition hearings. It was a real privilege to be taught by some of the best practitioners at the criminal Bar, and I learnt a huge amount. At the end of the course, a mock trial took place at the Old Bailey before a resident judge, with members of Chambers on the jury and filling the public gallery.

Just before starting second six, I changed supervisor, to a member of Chambers with a more court-based practice. As well as attending court, I helped (and learned from) my supervisor in relation to trial preparation and written work: analysing evidence, researching points of law and drafting case summaries and skeleton arguments.

During second six, I began taking on my own cases. I defended clients in the magistrates’ court and youth court at bail applications, trials and sentencing hearings, and prosecuted a number of ‘CPS lists’. I also attended the Crown Court frequently, covering PTPHs and case management hearings for members of Chambers.

Throughout pupillage, I undertook work for other members of Chambers (“devilling”), which often involved researching interesting points of law. Pupils at 6KBW are encouraged to undertake pro bono work if they wish to, and my co-pupil and I had the opportunity to provide pro bono advice to the charity Stonewall (supervised by Mohsin Zaidi).

All pupils at 6KBW complete six tenancy assessment: three written, three oral. These are spread out over the pupillage year, with the final advocacy assessment taking place at the tenancy interview. The assessments are designed to be challenging, but the process is extremely fair and feedback is provided on each piece of work.

Pupillage at 6KBW was hard work, but the environment in Chambers was encouraging and supportive throughout. I was given excellent start to my career at the Bar, and ended pupillage looking forward to life as a tenant.