Pupillage and Mini-Pupillage
At 5 King’s Bench Walk, we regard pupillage as an essential investment in the future of Chambers and the Bar.
Chambers seeks only to select those applicants who have the potential to become exceptional advocates. Prospective pupils must be articulate and well-motivated individuals who can demonstrate academic excellence, high standards of presentation and communication skills, sound judgement and a practical approach to problem solving.
Chambers recruits for 1st and 2nd Six Pupils via the Pupillage Gateway.
The application timetable for pupillages commencing on 1 October 2021 is set out below and applicants are asked to make sure they will be available on these dates:
- 28 November 2019: Applicants may access the Pupillage Gateway to browse vacancies.
- 7 January 2020: The submissions window for Pupillage Gateway applications opens.
- 7 February 2020: The submissions window for Pupillage Gateway applications closes.
- 8 March 2020: First round interviews
- 16 – 20 March 2020: Second round interviews
- 7 May 2020: Offers made.
An Overview of Pupillage
Chambers has no tenancy quota. The number of places available is reviewed each year and Chambers has offered up to four 12-month pupillages in the past 3 years.
The funding for pupillages commencing from October 2020 onwards will be a package equivalent to up to £24,000 for 12 months, made up of £8,000 for the first six, and guaranteed earnings (receipts) of £8,000 for the second and third six months.
1st Six Months
During your 1st Six at 5 King’s Bench Walk, you will have one pupil supervisor. You will share your pupil supervisor’s room and will have an opportunity to meet other members of Chambers. During your 1st Six (and 2nd Six when you are not in court) you are expected to accompany your pupil supervisor during the working week.
During the 1st Six Months you will learn by reading briefs, preparing draft written work, carrying out legal research for your pupil supervisor and other members of Chambers and attending court and conferences. This period is not only designed to ensure that you observe work which is interesting, informative and thought-provoking, but also to ensure that you are properly prepared to begin your own practice. Chambers uses the Bar Council Criminal Checklist as the basis of the work that should be undertaken during the course of pupillage.
Pupils will be provided with an Oyster card covering travel from zones 1-2 in London. If your pupil supervisor is appearing outside this area, he or she may make arrangements for you to accompany another member of Chambers.
If your pupil supervisor is absent from Chambers (or working outside the Greater London area) for a prolonged period for any reason, Chambers will arrange for you to be assigned temporarily or permanently to another member of Chambers.
2nd Six Months
You will be allocated a new pupil supervisor at this stage. During the 2nd Six Months you will appear predominantly in the Magistrates Court. Preparation for this stage will have been comprehensive during your 1st Six and Chambers will ensure that your progression to getting on your feet is accomplished smoothly.
At this stage your own practice will assume priority as far as your responsibilities are concerned, but you are still required to assist your pupil supervisor or other members of Chambers. During this period you can expect to be in court most days, if not twice a day, initially in the Magistrates Courts but shortly thereafter in the Crown Courts where pupils will deal with matters such as pleas and directions, mentions, etc. before moving on and undertaking their own Crown Court trials.
Towards the end of the completion of your 2nd Six, you will be invited to apply for a tenancy or a 3rd Six.
3rd Six Months
The volume of work in Chambers ensures that 3rd Six pupils enjoy a busy diary and are in court almost every day, a significant part of which is in the Crown Court. In addition, through contact with members, they have an opportunity to gain experience in different areas of criminal law as well as an insight into more complex and serious cases.
Assessing Your Progress
Throughout the course of pupillage, you will be assessed for the skills set out in the selection criteria for junior tenants by your pupil supervisors, members of Chambers for whom you have carried out significant work and any who have had the opportunity of seeing your work in court. We make every effort to ensure that the assessment process is open and fair. We are committed to a structured appraisal system thereby ensuring an open and frank discussion from which all parties can benefit. Every pupil supervisor should encourage his/her pupil to approach him/her at any time in order to discuss any difficulties that the pupil may be encountering.
In-House Advocacy Programme
Chambers runs its own in-house Advocacy Programme. The main purpose of this programme is intended to be educational, however, it does give members of Chambers the opportunity to assess the advocacy skills of pupils. The programme is conducted throughout the pupillage period and consists of individual monthly sessions, during the course of which pupils perform advocacy exercises in front of members of the Pupillage Committee and other tenants. Chambers organises a mock trial for all pupils, in a London court, designed to provide an authentic experience of court before getting on their feet. All members of Chambers are invited to participate in or observe this exercise.
Pupils applying for tenancy are invited to submit a letter to the joint Heads of Chambers with a CV and references from solicitors for whom they have worked and, if possible, judges before whom they have appeared in court. Any final decision on tenancy will be made at a meeting to which all members of Chambers are invited. All applications are considered in strict confidence.
3rd Six Applications
Applications for a 3rd Six Pupillage should be made in the form of a CV and covering letter addressed to Nicki Crew: firstname.lastname@example.org
We offer a number of mini-pupillages every year to those who may be interested in a career at the Criminal Bar.
Successful applicants will spend up to a week shadowing one or more barristers in Chambers. Our clerking team makes every effort to ensure that mini-pupils see a variety of cases during the week and you can expect to be in Court every day.
The purpose of a mini-pupillage is to meet members of Chambers and to get a brief experience of life at the criminal Bar.
Those interested in undertaking a mini-pupillage in Chambers should send a copy of their CV and a brief covering letter to Nicki Crew: email@example.com explaining why they are interested in 5 King’s Bench Walk and a career at the criminal Bar.
Please note that applicants must be 16 years old or over.
Please also note that due to high demand, mini-pupillages will now be granted for the year commencing 2020.