Ellie Rush interviews City Law School alumni Pawel Guzik, about his experience with the COIN scheme and his current practice.
Please introduce yourself and where you currently practice.
“My name is Pawel Guzik. I am a pupil barrister at XXIV Old Buildings, a leading commercial and chancery set of chambers in London.”
What areas of law do you practice in and what are your usual duties on a typical day?
“In my practice, I focus on various aspects of commercial and chancery law, including contracts, trusts, wills, civil fraud, aviation, arbitration, and company disputes. As a pupil barrister, I work closely with my supervisor, handling a wide range of tasks such as drafting pleadings, constructing skeleton arguments, and researching and preparing written advice.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to the Bar?
“My journey to the Bar began in Poznan, Poland, where I grew up. After earning a first-class degree in law from King’s College London in 2019, I went on to achieve a Distinction in the MSc Law and Finance programme at the University of Oxford. I later completed the LLM Bar Vocational Studies degree at City as a Lord Denning Scholar of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and was called to the Bar in 2021. Before embarking on my pupillage, I gained valuable experience as a law lecturer at UCL, KCL, LSE, and QMUL. My areas of expertise during this time included land law, contract law, and EU law.”
When did you join the CO.IN Scheme? What were your motivations for joining?
“I joined the CO.IN Scheme shortly after beginning my Bar training at City. As I had not previously studied company and insolvency law, I viewed the CO.IN Scheme as an ideal opportunity to delve into these areas of law and hone my clinical skills in preparation for pupillage interviews and my future practice as a barrister.”
What was your favourite part of the CO.IN Scheme?
“My favourite aspect of the CO.IN Scheme was expanding my knowledge about just and equitable winding-up petitions and having the opportunity to write a concise note about them for the CO.IN blog.”
What skills did you develop?
“Through my participation in the scheme, I was able to develop vital skills such as client management, communication, teamwork, and note-taking.”
How did you manage your weekly tasks?
“To stay organised and manage my weekly tasks effectively, I maintained a diary, which allowed me to keep track of both my CO.IN responsibilities and other commitments.“
What was the most challenging aspect of the CO.IN Scheme?
“Initially, the most challenging aspect of the CO.IN Scheme for me was adapting to the fast-paced nature of winding-up court hearings. However, with time and experience, I became more comfortable navigating them.”
How has the CO.IN Scheme assisted in your career?
“The CO.IN Scheme has been invaluable in my career by providing me with essential legal volunteering experience and a deeper understanding of company and insolvency law. This knowledge proved beneficial during pupillage interviews and in my work as a pupil barrister.”
What would be your advice to students enrolling on the CO.IN Scheme?
“For students considering enrolling in the CO.IN Scheme, my advice would be to approach winding-up court hearings with an open mind and not be overly concerned if you do not understand everything at first. As you gain experience and knowledge, everything will gradually become clearer!”
Ellie Rush is a City Law School alumni, who worked on the COIN scheme as part of her studies on the BVS LLM (Clinical Legal Education).