Blanchards Bailey's junior lawyers argue mock trial

Our lawyers take their professional development and training seriously. As a firm we know it is key to invest in our staff through ongoing training and support, to enable them to consistently provide a proactive, quality service to our clients.

Recently our Litigation and Disputes Team ran an internal mock trial where two of our junior fee earners prepared and presented their case before a “Judge” (Managing Partner Paul Dunlop) in an imitation courtroom setting.

With legal processes becoming more streamlined, the need for many short hearings has been removed which historically junior fee earners would often attend. This training for our junior lawyers, although not a traditional practice by law firms, provided participants with practical learning opportunities actually undertaking a trial, rather than simply observing one. This mock trial allowed us to throw them in at the deep end, but with training wheels still firmly attached, as the outcome did not affect a client’s case.

We asked Beckie Abell and Alex Andrassy, junior lawyers in our Litigation and Disputes Team, to recount their experience at the mock trial and what they learnt from the experience:


“I am currently studying CILEx level 3 as an apprenticeship with Blanchards Bailey. I was asked as part of my development within the firm, to prepare for and attend the “mock trial” as the legal representative for the Claimant. This involved using pleadings (court documents) from an existing case, agreeing a hearing bundle with the other side (my colleague Alex) and attending the mock hearing on “my client’s” behalf.

I had an advantage over Alex as I was already familiar with the case and had drafted many of the pleadings myself. However, Alex’s experience in preparation and legal research exceeds my own. In preparation for the hearing, I used my secretarial background from working on litigation files to prepare and generate correspondence to send to my opponent and the court in advance of the hearing.

I have previously attended hearings as a secretary transcribing notes for the solicitors in my team as well as Counsel. The mock trial was my first experience conducting advocacy before a judge (albeit the Managing Partner of the firm). I was extremely nervous to appear before ‘District Judge’ Dunlop but was grateful to receive constructive learning examples before I represent future clients. It was particularly interesting to see how my opponent rose to the challenge and the different points he considered.

Alex impressed me with his research on case law and had he had the opportunity to “file” his own pleadings (rather than rely on those already in existence), I am not sure the outcome would not have been in my favour. However, I used my experience from attending hearings for the firm to submit that the Defendant had not pleaded its case and on this occasion was successful before ‘District Judge’ Dunlop.

As part of my development, the mock hearing was a useful tool in giving me the experience of conducting advocacy at a court hearing. I’m excited to use the experience to progress my knowledge and assist clients going forward.”


“I am an LLB (Hons) law graduate and I am completing the remainder of my legal qualification with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). I have over 3 years of legal work experience based in Dorset, and joined Blanchards Bailey as a litigation executive in May 2021.

To supplement my legal education, I was invited to take part in a mock trial in which I was to represent the Defendant as well as carry out my own pre-trial preparation.

The trial concerned the recovery of an unpaid invoice by the Claimant from the Defendant. As my opponent and colleague, Beckie, has identified she was familiar with the case having worked on progressing the file in the past. As such, Beckie had the advantage of in-depth knowledge of the file whereas I was not familiar with the matter. I therefore relied on my previous case handling experience, legal knowledge and research skills to prepare a defence within a short space of time. A valuable experience in itself! Fortunately, I was already aware of the relevant case law and legislation I would seek to rely on at the trial. During the course of studying for my law degree, I was able to gain experience in mooting (essentially a mock trial where two sides argue a point of law in front of an acting judge who, based on the presentation by each side, decides who wins) and so I found my previous advocacy practice to be particularly useful.

As well as being presided over by our Managing Partner acting as the District Judge, my colleagues in the litigation department also watched the trial from the ‘public viewing gallery’.

I felt nervous at the start of the trial having only recently joined the firm, although I quickly realised that this was a safe and supportive environment in which to practice my advocacy skills.

My opponent Beckie, presented a clear, articulate and well-presented argument in which a number of points caught me off guard. However, I enjoyed the challenge of thinking on my feet to come up with a response to the Claimant’s submissions. There were a few occasions in which I required help on what the next steps were during the trial. On those occasions, being mindful that I was still learning, District Judge Dunlop was very helpful in guiding me on what to do next. I also appreciated the constructive feedback I received from the team at the end of the trial.

As an aspiring solicitor who wants to expand into an advocacy role in future, the mock trial was an excellent learning opportunity and I am looking forward to the next one so that I can put the team’s advice into practice.”

“District Judge” Paul Dunlop said: “Both advocates conducted themselves extremely well considering this was their first experience of advocacy outside of education. The team and I were extremely pleased to see some nuanced and well-reasoned arguments being made as well as a serious “real world” approach applied to the preparation.

To contact a member of our Litigation and Disputes Team call 01258 459361 

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