As a practice assistant in a busy set of chambers, Thomas's days are full and varied. Find out more about his work, how his role has developed and how he hopes to progress in his career
What degree did you study?
I graduated with a degree in law from Anglia Ruskin University in 2016.
How did you get your job?
What's a typical working day like?
I start the day at 8am by checking my emails for any urgent work and drawing up a list of barristers who are in court for the day and the clerk who will assist. Between 9am and 10.30am, I would also help the barristers over to court.
For the rest of the day, until about 4.30pm, my work typically involves printing and general administrative tasks mixed with taking instructions, fee negotiation, bundling and lodging documents at court, fixing cases with the appropriate listing offices, and diarising and distributing work.
For the last two hours of the day, I send off court listing details for the following day’s hearings to clerks, barristers and solicitors.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The days go by very quickly due to the amount of work that comes through chambers on a day-to-day basis - so you are always very busy.
What are the challenges?
Initially, although not so much now, managing my barristers' expectations while keeping the clients happy was a difficult balancing act.
You will gradually learn the value of your barrister's work and how to negotiate a good 'deal' to make sure all parties mutually benefit.
In what way is your degree relevant?
I was fortunate enough to study many facets of the law, which have prepared me with a grounded foundation of knowledge in areas of law such as property, commercial and equity. Because of this, I'm able to immediately recognise which barrister's practice is best equipped to deal with the client's needs and expectations as I’m able to naturally empathise with the issues and resolutions they seek.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
Over the years my role has developed into a more traditional clerking role, directing more time towards assisting barristers with ascertaining work rather than general administrative duties such as ordering stationery and post-room duties.
My career ambitions are quite flexible to be honest - senior clerk/practice director is the aim; however, I seek challenge above all else.
What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?
- Communication and presentation are key.
- Don't be reactive, be proactive.
- Own up to your mistakes. It's best that you learn from them immediately and demonstrate initiative in working towards a solution.