Case study

Junior team assistant — Eleanor Braham

As a barristers' clerk, Eleanor finds her days are extremely busy, but very rewarding. Find out what skills you need to succeed in this law career

What degree did you study and where?

I graduated with a BA (Hons) English from the University of Exeter in 2022.

How did you get your job?

I came across the role of barristers' clerk while researching careers in law. I was drawn to it as a career because I could use my communication and organisation skills. I applied for the role of junior clerk at 11KBW through ABC Chambers Solutions.

After a lot of hard work, I was lucky enough to be promoted to the role of junior team assistant, a position created for me with the responsibility of assisting the team leader's assistant in securing cases for the barristers.

What's a typical working day like?

Usually, I get to work somewhere between 8.30am and 9am. Firstly, I touch base with the barristers to see how busy they are, and how open they are for new work. After that it's all go, answering phone calls and emails from clients to help find them the right barrister for their case.

I take an hour's break for lunch in the gardens around Temple, which are a great place to unwind after a busy morning. I get back from lunch to a full inbox with messages from the barristers, solicitors and other clerks. The day always ends with the Workflow, a spreadsheet breaking down all the fees about to be charged to the solicitors, which I need to check before they can be sent out.

My day ends somewhere between 5.30pm and 6pm. After that, it's either back home, or sometimes to a marketing event to network with the clients.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The best thing about my job is the opportunity to meet and network with new people; I am a sociable person, and generally motivated by those around me. Clerking is filled with chances to interact with others, from phone calls with solicitors to friendly conversations with barristers and clerks in the coffee room, and drinks events with clients in the evening. So far, I have attended events ranging from a law conference, a darts night and a black-tie awards ceremony and dinner.

What are the challenges?

The most challenging aspect of my career is the amount of work which needs to be done. There is rarely an idle moment, and a lot of the things on my to-do list are urgent. However, if you have perseverance and are motivated by a challenge, you will find yourself feeling rewarded by it.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My English degree has solidified my language and analytical skills, which are crucial when communicating with the court and with others. Studying English has also given me something to connect with people about - thanks to my degree, I know a lot about literature, which is a great conversation topic when networking with lawyers.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

When I started at 11KBW, my days involved printing authority bundles for hearings, battling through queues carrying enormous boxes to and from court, and sometimes frantically running around with urgent documents.

Now I'm one step up, organising the diaries and trusted to put the right barristers forward for new, and often very exciting, cases. My responsibilities have increased (and with that my step-count has gone down) and I would love to find myself with even more responsibility. One day, I hope to be senior clerk somewhere.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?

  • Find something which motivates you and use that to drive you forwards at your interview.
  • Learn how to organise yourself well - when you have ten things to do before lunch time you will be thanking me.
  • Work on your people-skills. You don't have to be the loudest person present, but find a way of connecting with other people, whether that be with one person in the room or everyone. A lot of this job is networking so it's important to master your people skills.

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