In March, we welcomed Natasha Khalique to the Unit Chambers team on a twelve-month pupillage. In light of recently announcing our newest pupils joining in October 2021, we thought it would be great to have a catch up with Natasha about her time thus far with us. Prior to joining the team, Natasha was a County Court Advocate with LPC Law for two years and before that she was a fee earning Paralegal at Stewarts LLP in London. Natasha is now a veteran of over 845 hearings across the Northern Circuit.

We managed to grab five minutes with Natasha to see how she has been getting on…

Q: Hi Natasha, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to have a chat with us! Firstly, why don’t you tell us a little more about your experience prior to joining Unit Chambers?

A: My journey into law and the Bar has not been conventional! Actually, far from it. I wanted to be a children’s heart surgeon when I was younger and my academic journey was very much geared towards that. I did a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Cardiovascular Science at UCL London. I did my thesis at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Institute of Child Health. This was a pivotal point for me, as I knew I wanted to work with children but wasn’t sure in what capacity.

I did a mini-pupillage on an international family case and I was hook, line and sinker committed to being a barrister. Immediately prior to starting pupillage, I was a County Court Advocate based in the Northern Circuit. During the two years I was with LPC Law, I undertook a total of 845 hearings ranging from interlocutory applications to contractual and RTA small claim trials. Before LPC Law, I worked as a Fee-Earning Senior Paralegal at the UK’s largest litigation only law firm, Stewarts LLP, in London for two years. I was part of the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence departments.

Q: What inspired you to apply for pupillage at Unit Chambers?

A: Days before we went into lockdown 1.0, I had observed a non-accidental injury case and a complex care matter. Lockdown 1.0 was a period of reflection and made me take stock of where I was going career wise. The cases I observed had invoked the interest in children’s welfare that had driven me to become a Paediatric heart surgeon. By the summer, in my mind I had made the decision that I was going to apply for a family specialist pupillage.

Fast forward to September 2020, I saw Unit Chambers advertising for pupillage. I didn’t even think twice. I just applied. Reading about their ethos, what they stood for and where they saw themselves going resonated with me. Unit Chambers is the only set in the North West specialising exclusively in family law and offering a family specialist pupillage, it was a no brainer. I was really attracted to the fact that not only did they present the traditional aspects of the Bar, they also had a forward thinking and novel approach towards delivering quality services to clients. What sold it for me personally, was that they offered a nurturing environment for the barristers and pupil barristers. This was something I was keen to experience in my own pupillage.

Amidst the uncertainty induced by the pandemic, Unit Chambers foresaw the legal landscape changing post-pandemic. That said, Unit’s pupillage was created with this in mind. For me, I wanted to be part of something that was new, exciting and embraced innovation with open arms.

Q: What are you hoping to learn during your twelve-month pupillage? What does your role look like on a day-to-day basis?

I am hoping to have an in depth understanding of the law and learn how to adapt my advocacy style to match the clients’ needs and circumstances. I get to spend a lot of time shadowing my pupil supervisor, Kerri O’Neill, and all members of the Unit Chambers team. This is something unique to Unit Chambers and it enables me to learn the nuances of advocacy from all the barristers. Being set tasks to draft submissions, cross-examination and skeleton arguments will enhance my drafting skills over the coming months. By the end of August, I’m hoping to have a solid foundation in terms of theoretical and practical knowledge, so that I’m ready for when I get on my feet in September 2021!

Q: What has been the highlight for you so far?

Everyday is a highlight! I’m so grateful for the opportunity and I’m enjoying immersing myself into family law in Liverpool. No two days are the same and I find myself learning something new every day. I’m very lucky having been taken under the wing of some incredible mentors who are the top of their game!

Q: Why do you think people should consider a career with Unit Chambers?

Unit Chambers is carving the way forward in the legal landscape post-pandemic. Being paperless and being located in a modern workplace in the heart of Liverpool, it’s equipped and geared up for practice post-lockdown. At Unit Chambers, you really are made to feel part of the family from day one. That ethos of being a family unit is palpable in chambers and amongst members of all seniority. There is a commitment to developing and nurturing the “next gen” of barristers in the North West. We’ve had external advocacy workshops with former District Judge Helen Conway to doing our own in-house education hours. That said, there is also a strong emphasis on welfare and wellbeing at Unit Chambers. They are dedicated to ensuring that members strike a healthy work life balance. It’s not every day you get to play table tennis with the CEO!

I would strongly encourage anyone who is passionate about family law to apply!

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