Fond and not so fond memories of the days of articled clerking continue to arrive. Rosemarie Tiffen recalls signing up in March 1963 after six months of searching – ‘females were still at a great disadvantage’.
Her salary? Two pounds a week, rising to three when she passed the Part 1 Qualifying Examination. ‘After passing part 2 with four distinctions, I was offered a salary of £1,100 per annum but was advised that there were no partnership prospects as the existing partners’ sons would be next. Needless to say, I didn’t stay long!’ She believes she was one of the last to qualify without a degree at the age of 21.
‘Other recollections of that five-year period include attending an exhumation from a pauper’s grave, travelling to the Isle of Wight to attend a completion, waiting outside an oxygen tent while the patient stabilised enough to sign his will and getting lost in the Bear Garden at the RCJ. Happy days.
‘My thoughts on the training I received – excellent. A five-year training period interspersed with examinations gave me an excellent preparation for the legal world. After nearly 40 years in private practice, I was appointed as a tribunal judge and discovered that many of my new colleagues had also qualified the same way. We all agreed that “learning-on-the-job” training was by far the best way of acquiring all the necessary experience to be able to face all the challenges that a solicitor can experience.’
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