Jim Duffy, One Crown Office Row

One Crown Office Row pupil Jim Duffy trained as a solicitor in Scotland and worked at Public Interest Lawyers before crossing over to the bar.


Name: Jim Duffy

Chambers: One Crown Office Row

Position: Pupil

Degree: LL.B Law with French (Hons); LL.M (Toronto)

University: University of Glasgow; University of Toronto.

Where did you study the GDL and/or the BVC? I studied the Bar Transfer Test at BPP Law School.

Hobbies: Singer/guitarist, diving, skiing, travelling.

When and why did you decide to train as a barrister? As a student, when I was part of a team that took a mock case to Strasbourg as part of the European Human Rights Project at the University of Glasgow. Working with top public law barristers as a solicitor increased my desire to cross over to this side of the profession.

Why did you choose human rights and public law? I have always been fascinated by the way law interacts with the democratic political process and enables individuals to effect real practical change. My work as a student advocate at the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Clinic and later as a solicitor at Public Interest Lawyers, deepened my interest in public law.

What has been the highlight of your pupillage so far? Working in clinical negligence for the first time and learning about the world of medicine at the same time as engaging in a new legal discipline.

What does your typical day involve? I tend to work on a completely new case every few days, drafting pleadings and attending court, sometimes interspersed with ‘chambers tea’.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? The intellectual challenge and the feeling of learning something new every day.

What are the worst aspects of your job? Pupillage is an unrelenting assessment process, which adds a significant layer of additional pressure.

What’s the biggest misconception of the legal profession? That lawyers are driven by money. Some are, but the vast majority are driven by nobler aims.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law? Not to follow the flock. Get plenty of experience, keep an open mind and don’t forget why the law attracted you in the first place.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a pupillage? Having interloped from the solicitor’s profession, I did not have much of a sense of how the pupillage process worked when I was applying and did not feel as well ‘schooled’ in the world of the bar as other applicants were.

What are the common attributes of successful candidates? Work ethic, confidence in their own ability and hunger.