Aaron Mayers’ top three tips

1. You won’t have all the answers, so focus on how and where to find them.

No one is expecting you to be the finished article on day one. Developing the ability to find answers efficiently and accurately is an invaluable skill that you will continue to optimise throughout pupillage. You may not always get it right the first time, but refining your research process and learning from missteps is just as important as finding the correct answer.

2. Pupillage is a series of concurrent arcs, not a staircase.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could use discrete metrics to track our progress towards becoming the ‘perfect barrister’ on a daily basis? Unfortunately, the ‘perfect barrister’ does not exist, and the journey towards self-improvement is not linear.

Like every learning process, pupillage will provide ebbs and flows to your feeling of competence. Just as you gain proficiency in one area, another novel and daunting topic taps you on the shoulder. This is part of what makes this profession so terrific, so do not be discouraged. Expect and embrace the never-ending development journey. Don’t be too disheartened when you encounter a weakness, and don’t think too much of yourself when you are complimented for your strengths!

3. Yes, pupillage is a year-long interview, but reminding yourself of this every day won’t help. Pupils can often feel that they are under a relentless pressure to continuously impress and show progress. This can lead to pupils putting themselves under additional pressure by constantly thinking about whether people are judging them or discussing their mistakes.

In my view, this additional internal pressure isn’t conducive to development, and straying too far in this direction only leads to becoming unduly self-conscious and defensive.

Instead, I suggest diverting your attention to what is within your control. Absorb the most helpful feedback you receive, work diligently and conscientiously, and leave the decision-making to chambers!

Holly Challenger’s top three tips

1. Ask questions.

Pupillage is all about learning, so asking questions is key. Remember that your supervisor and other members of chambers want you to succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. When it comes to second six and taking on your own work, you will be glad that you asked the question. Keep a note of key learning points so that if the same issue comes up again, you will have a better idea of where to start.

2. Prepare thoroughly.

It might mean some long days and late nights, but it is essential that you prepare thoroughly for each case to get the most out of the experience. I have always been advised to prepare each case as you would want it to be prepared if you were the client. Don’t ignore difficult issues that arise during your preparation; they won’t go away. If you ignore them, you give yourself less time to deal with them.

3. Pupillage can be tiring and there will inevitably be some days/weeks where you work long hours.

Remembering to take some time for yourself during the quieter periods or at weekends will help to ensure that you don’t burn out.

Ryan Anderson’s top three tips

1. Be proactive.

Though we are moving back towards normality, the homeworking revolution means you may still face restricted opportunities to build relationships in chambers. My advice: seek people out if necessary. Send a polite email, perhaps highlighting areas of their work that interest you, and suggest a Zoom coffee. It may lead to a valuable source of support, or interesting work.

2. Be honest.

You are learning. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification of instructions, or further guidance if you are struggling – and if you still don’t know an answer, then say. Chambers will not want someone they think would bluster on in court if they did not know the answer to the judge’s question.

3. Be prepared.

I recommend having a dedicated set of laptop and phone chargers and power bank in your work bag, separate to the ones you use at home. (I also keep a dedicated umbrella, some cash, a bottle of water and a snack, plus my portable second monitor.) They never leave my work bag. When I go out, all I have to throw in my bag is my laptop, without worrying about forgetting any of those key bits!