Tuesday Tips : Second Six by Joanna

Second Six
For the last six months, you will have shadowed your supervisor and other members of chambers, probably developed some kind of back or shoulder problem from dragging a heavy case full of books and bundles and become used to a lack of sleep due to assisting with late-night case preparation.

Second Six is when the real work begins; the prospect of which is both exciting and terrifying in equal measures. Leading up to Second Six, you will likely feel as though you have learned a lot, whilst simultaneously feeling as though you do not know enough and would benefit from an extra few months to get to grips with everything. The reality is that you will never be able to learn everything prior to commencing Second Six; learning once you are on your feet really is a huge part of Pupillage.
After surviving the first month of second six, here are my 7 top tips:

1. There will be good days and bad days. Some days, you will feel completely out of your depth; other days, you will question whether you did everything within your power and capability to act in the best interests of your client. There will, however, be plenty of days when you leave court smiling, knowing that you truly helped your client and did a pretty good job of it too.

2. Trust your instincts. As stated above, it is impossible to learn everything prior to commencing Second Six, but you will have, hopefully, developed a pretty good sense of what is in the best interests of your client in any particular case. If something suggested by your opponent does not sit well with you, do not be afraid to disagree with them; they may be more experienced, but this does not mean that you are wrong or being unreasonable.

3. Take the train before the one you actually need to get. The last thing you want or need when you are (potentially) stressed about what may be a difficult case is being late to meet your client. Following this rule gives you plenty of contingency time and allows you the time to find a nearby café to sit in and to gather your thoughts for half an hour or so, before meeting your client.

4. Get to court early. Try to ensure you get to court prior to 9am or in any event, as soon as it opens, to ensure that you are able to grab a conference room. There is nothing worse than having to discuss confidential issues with your client in front of other people, particularly when you are not (yet) experienced at doing so.

5. Eat breakfast. Given that you have no idea how long you will be in court for or whether you will even have time to eat lunch, eating a filling breakfast ensures your brain is functioning efficiently for at least the first few hours of the day.

6. Make a precedent file. Adding sample orders to an easily-accessible file on your laptop makes for a less stressful experience when drafting orders at court.

7. Book all of your personal appointments in one day. Need to go to the doctors, the dentist and the hairdressers, but cannot seem to fit everything in? Use a day of annual leave to attend all of these appointments in one day so as to organise your personal life as efficiently as possible.

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