Rhiannon Wilcock

“Undoubtedly helped me to obtain tenancy”
 pro bono helps pupil find her feet.

Rhiannon Wilcock, barrister at 3PB, undertook several pro bono cases with Advocate during her pupillage. She discusses the advantages of taking this step early in a career at the Bar.

How did taking a pro bono case help progress your career?

I undertook several cases for Advocate during pupillage, all of which I referred to in my application for tenancy. I distinctly remember being questioned in detail during my tenancy interview about an international relocation case I completed for Advocate during pupillage.

The committee were particularly impressed with my analysis of the case and my contribution to the desired outcome for the client. I would not have had the opportunity to take on such an interesting case for such a deserving client without volunteering for Advocate. It also helped me to increase the amount of time I spent in court during pupillage, which undoubtedly helped me to obtain tenancy. 

What inspired you to take on particular pro bono cases?   

I’m inspired by the impact my help can have. One case I undertook for Advocate was for a client with severe autism, ADHD and additional needs. I was inspired to take on this case because I could see that the client would be placed at a significant disadvantage without legal representation at the hearing. I arrived at court on the day in question and found my client in a very frightened state and shouting in the waiting area at opposing counsel who had not recognised my client’s additional needs. Without help from Advocate to obtain legal representation, my client may have struggled to achieve a fair outcome in the circumstances.

Why should pupils or young barristers take pro bono cases?

Advocate provides an opportunity for pupils to obtain vital experience in their chosen area of law and to undertake the type of cases that are rarely available at a very junior level. The clients are usually hugely appreciative for the help and the work provides an enormous sense of satisfaction. Through Advocate, I helped one litigant in person successfully oppose an application by his children’s mother to remove the children permanently from the jurisdiction. I will never forget his very kind email at the end of the case.