Readers’ memories of serving articles have now entered a fourth decade, with Melanie Benn’s recollections of joining ‘a very large South Yorkshire firm’ in 1989.
‘We had the luxury of electric typewriters. No articled clerk was allowed to use them, though, for fear of breaking them! We were still using the very large paper for wrapping round briefs as well and the secretaries measured out the pink string and hid it when not in demand to prevent waste. What they thought we’d do with it is another matter entirely…
‘My police station rep training consisted of a copy of a training course that the outdoor clerks had been on, a visit to the cells with one of them, and then the second time I was just told to get on with it on my own. The local force was not known for its enlightened policing methods, and so it was a steep learning curve. You could smoke in interviews at that time as well, which was useful if the robbery squad got a bit shouty.
‘The most useful thing about articles in those days was that the firm got paid for you to sit behind counsel. It made a huge difference to your confidence and abilities once you qualified and got on your feet yourself, as you had probably observed how to deal with most eventualities. It is a real shame that the LAA stopped paying for it.’
If you have any more memories for the collection, please email firstname.lastname@example.org