Name: George Mallet
Chambers: Henderson Chambers
Degree: BA in History
University: Bristol University
Studied BPTC at: BPP
Hobbies: Both playing and watching practically any form of sport, but especially football, cricket and golf.
How many rounds of applications did it take to get pupillage? 2
Number of interviews attended: c.8
Why did you decide to train as a barrister?
Like many other members of the Bar, I embarked on a different career after university. Sitting at my shiny corporate desk I missed the academic rigours of my degree. I also yearned for more freedom – in terms of when and where I did my work, yes, but, more importantly, how my work would be done.
After a number of discussions with friends, colleagues and acquaintances I became fairly sure that I would be suited to a career at the Bar. I speculatively applied for a GDL scholarship and when I was awarded it I knew immediately that my decision had been made.
What was the toughest pupillage interview question you were asked (at any chambers) and how did you answer?
I was given eight hours to draft an opinion on the prospects of success of a tax appeal. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I was called in to defend my advice in from of a panel of what seemed like scores of barristers.
They all sat in a semi circle and fired questions at me. There were so many of them that it was impossible to work out where the question had come from, and so I kept giving my answer to the wrong person.
Tell us a bit about the type of work you’re doing at the moment…
Chambers covers a wide variety of different practice areas. It is probably most renowned for defending group actions and product liability claims. I am currently involved in two claims; one relating to a defective medical product and the other arising out of military action in Afghanistan.
In addition, I do a large amount of smaller commercial and property matters – applications, trials etc. Doing your own work complements the larger claims as you spend more time in Court.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The diversity of Chambers’ work is very impressive. I can spend one day working on a claim concerning estate agents and the next concerning soldiers. It keeps things interesting.
What aspect of the job have you found most difficult to get to grips with?
Its very intense – every time you step into Court it is like doing an exam at university. The responsibility weighs heavy on your shoulders. You need to be up to speed with the papers so that you are ready to respond to any potential questions.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
The amount of time spent on my own. There can be long stretches – hours, days, weeks where you are head down in your room in Chambers. It can be a little solitary, particularly for sociable people like me!
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
It is from a silk in Chambers. He has been reviewing a document that I drafted for one of our clients. I am about to make some amendments and send it out now!
What’s your best ‘in court’ anecdote so far?
I removed a witness bundle from the witness box over the summer and noticed that it was covered in drops of sweat. I would have liked to think thought that the perspiration had been caused by the veracity of my cross examination, but I suspect it was more to do with the fact that it was 35 degrees + on the day in question.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I cant really imagine anything else now, but it would have to be something fast paced and exhilarating.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career as a barrister?
It is worth it in the end.
And finally, barristers tend to have a lot to say, so please feel free to add any extra words of wisdom here:
I am often asked what is the best bit of my job – the answer is easy, it’s winning. You work hard preparing for Court. You give it your all and sit and wait for judgment. It is an extremely satisfying feeling when you realise you’ve won.