Our Pupil Barrister, Lyana, has a variety of experience across all aspects of family law and started with us in December 2020 for a reduced six-month pupillage. We are really happy to have her on our team! We managed to have a catch up with Lyana at the end of her first week as a pupil barrister.
Q: Hi Lyana, we really hope you’ve had a great first week as a Pupil Barrister, it would be great to find out a bit more about you. What was your experience prior to joining us?
Immediately prior to starting as a Pupil Barrister, I was a practising solicitor, working in-house with Knowsley Council in the Child Protection Team (CPT). I completed the majority of my training contract with Gamlins Solicitors based in North Wales in 2005 and transferred the last three months over to the Council, where I qualified into CPT. I worked as a paralegal part-time whilst I completed the Legal Practice Course and transferred to full-time post-completion for several years before securing a training contract.
Q: Wow you have been busy! What inspired you to apply for the Pupil Barrister position at Unit Chambers?
Transferring to the Bar and applying for a Pupil Barrister opening is something that I have been considering for some years now. I went through the Pupillage Gateway process in 2017, but was unsuccessful, which was a real knock to my confidence. Then I applied to a set in Liverpool in 2018 but was unsuccessful. So the pupillage applications were put on hold so I could focus on my young family but also to build on developing my advocacy experience as a solicitor.
It was whilst I was assisting leading counsel during a trial in February 2020 which motivated me to reconsider applying for a Pupil Barrister role. I wanted to be the one on my feet arguing the case, not the one sat in the office waiting for feedback as to how the hearing went. However, by mid-March lockdown 1.0 was imposed upon the world and I found that many Chambers had put their pupillage process on hold.
By chance, when I was catching up with one of my friends, who also happens to be a barrister, I learnt that Lisa Edmunds, who I have regularly instructed in the past and someone I admire and respect, was setting up a new set of Chambers in Liverpool, namely Unit Chambers and they were taking applications for Pupil Barristers!
First and foremost, as a practitioner who wants to further develop my skills and expertise in family law, Unit was the most obvious choice for me, being the only set in the North West exclusively specialising in this area. Secondly, I was attracted to Unit’s desire to make the Bar more accessible. Certainly when I applied, I felt I was not simply judged on my academic credentials, but also on the experience I had gained over the last fifteen years as a solicitor in local government and my clear drive and determination in pursuing a career as a Family Law Barrister.
Q: You’ve been on quite a journey! What are you hoping to learn as a Pupil Barrister and what will your day to day responsibilities look like?
I am very much hoping that my training as a Pupil Barrister will allow me the opportunity to learn about how to be an effective and confident advocate not only in court but also in written advocacy. Furthermore I would like to develop my existing skills and experience as a family practitioner.
Having almost completed week one of pupillage, my role has been varied. I have had the opportunity to join remote hearings and observe experienced advocates, I have taken detailed notes of examination in chief to assist my supervisor, I have drafted documents including an order from private law proceedings and I have had the benefit of participating in detailed debriefs and discussions with the barristers I have shadowed.
Q: It sounds like you have been really busy already. Why then do you think people should consider a career with Unit Chambers?
At Unit Chambers you are really treated as a member of the Unit family from day one. No matter what your position or level of entry is. If you are passionate about family law and want to pursue a career at the self-employed Bar, then I would strongly encourage you to apply. A love for Liverpool and the North West may also be an advantage!
Q: We definitely agree with that! We know you haven’t been here long but what has been the highlight in your first week as a Pupil Barrister?
The whole week has been great! I’ve really been able to get fully involved. I have enjoyed observing the hearings and then having the opportunity to discuss them afterwards with the barristers in a debrief session. I have attended many hearings in my previous job but my role was simply to assist counsel or take notes to provide feedback to the client. The debrief sessions have been useful to analyse what happened during the hearing, why something happened, discuss the different styles of advocacy and how to manage client expectations and ultimately those of the Court.
If you are interested in discussing your career options with us, then please get in touch on [email protected]