The new Counsel Magazine’s Bar Student Guide features Atkin Chambers pupillage committee member Nicholas Maciolek who was asked to talk about Chambers’ view on what it looks for in pupillage candidates.
The full article is available to view online here – Nicholas’ comments are reprinted below:
The persuasive advocate
“Atkin Chambers has four criteria which all candidates at interview are judged by: legal analysis, general intellect, potential as an advocate and commitment to working in our part of the Commercial Bar. However, one thing which can really stand out is when candidates are able to give a general view of their interpretation or argument which takes in all potentially relevant arguments in the round. When they look at a legal problem, that usually means adopting a range of analytic tools and drawing them into a coherent whole – textual analysis of words and sentence, the analysis of entire clauses, the overall purposes of the legal provision/contract and what its context and the consequences of one interpretation or another might be. Each of these aspects can be important on their own, but the best candidates balance them against one another to present a unified argument which pre-empts and addresses the potential counterarguments- that can be the difference between good legal analysis and something more like persuasive advocacy.
“When it comes to more negative impressions, two connected tendencies spring to mind. The first is repetition – we usually try to ask questions which draw out the complexities of an argument or issue. When we hear the same answer made in a variety of different ways, it gives the impression of inflexibility. Similarly, part of most interview processes involves giving candidates new information on the spot to see how they deal with it. Sometimes maintaining and repeating a point that has already been made in response to new material is the right approach, but the best candidates always think about whether their minds might be changed by the new information, and are not afraid to concede that their original argument needs to change in light of something novel.”