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Insights from a Recent Pupil

Interview with Matthew Mills | Pupil 2017/2018

Matthew Mills

What attracted you to becoming a barrister at Radcliffe Chambers?

I enjoyed analysing cases and building arguments as part of my law degree, and the more I learned about self-employment the more I liked the sound of it. I applied to Radcliffe Chambers because I wanted to join a set with a strong traditional and commercial chancery practice and I had enjoyed my mini-pupillage here.

How would you describe your first week of pupillage?

Varied and rewarding. I attended the applications court, researched a point of contract law for an appeal and worked on an opinion concerning rights of way. Throughout my first seat, I got involved in all aspects of my supervisor’s work, which was invaluable in helping me to decide what I wanted to focus on in my own practice.

What was the highlight of your pupillage and what was the biggest challenge you faced?

Starting to practise during my second six was both the best and most challenging part of my pupillage. Radcliffe Chambers is unique among commercial and chancery sets in offering a proper practising second six and I cannot recommend it enough. It is an exciting experience and really smoothed my transition into tenancy. Naturally, there were times that I felt stressed, but my supervisors and our clerking team were extremely supportive throughout and overall it was a really positive experience.

What is the most important thing you learnt during pupillage?

Read and then re-read everything – both the law and the papers – as you will always find something new second and third time around.

What advice do you have for pupillage applicants regarding the interview process?

Be yourself and prepare thoroughly. Barristers are experts in cross-examination, so they are good at spotting bluffers. People are much more likely to want to work with you if you are genuine. Pupillage interviews can be nerve-wracking – there is a lot riding on the outcome – but preparation helps you calm your nerves and makes you look professional. It is also an essential skill once you are in practice.