(a) Number of Pupils and Finance
Each year Chambers offers up to two funded 12-month pupillages.
For the year 2013/2014, Chambers is offering pupillage awards of £19,000 to each pupil. £9,500 of the award will be paid monthly in advance as a grant in the first six months. In the second six months, the further £9,500 is paid on a "guaranteed earnings" basis. In this arrangement, any earnings received in this period (i.e. not work billed but payments actually received from clients) are offset against the award paid. In this way, pupils are guaranteed a minimum income of £9,500 during this period and if they were to receive fees of more than £9,500 in their own right they will retain all those earnings with no deductions for Chambers expenses.
In the case of fees which are collected after completion of the pupillage period for work done during that period, Chambers levies a 10% percentage fee to cover its clerking costs. There is no such levy on fees collected during the pupillage period.
Once offered a confirmed pupillage place, the future pupil may apply to draw down up to 20% of the award in advance to assist in meeting his or her costs arising during the Bar Vocational Course training (or any other suitable education or experience undertaken in the year before the start of pupilage), subject to signing an undertaking to repay the sum so advanced in the event of not eventually taking up the pupillage place.
In addition, Chambers will pay for all training courses which pupils are required to complete during their pupillage, currently including the Bar Council's Advice to Counsel course and the Compulsory Accounting course.
Third 6-Month Pupillages
All vacancies for third 6-month pupillages will be advertised on the Bar Council website. Such pupillages will not normally be funded.
(b) What is pupillage like?
Currently, pupillage is divided between two pupil supervisors, each supervising the pupil for six months. In addition, pupils are encouraged to travel to court with, and to do paperwork for, other members of Chambers.
The role and duties of a pupil include reading papers, drafting proceedings, researching and writing opinions, attending conferences and Court hearings.
It is also the pupil's duty to ensure that his or her pupillage file is completed correctly (Chambers use the General Council of the Bar's General Common Law Pupillage Checklist), to undertake the required further training in advocacy and the Advice to Counsel course and to study the rules of conduct and etiquette at the Bar.
In summary, at Crown Office Row, pupils gain a wide experience of Court and paperwork in a variety of different specialisms (as described in the Areas of Law section of this website) and receive a thorough training in the skills and techniques that are needed to pursue a career at the Common Law Bar.
Furthermore, given that Chambers emphasises the importance of specialist advocacy, in their second 6-months pupils are generally regularly in court on their own account, whilst also continuing to be given interesting written work by, and attend Court with, members of chambers.
Lastly, we aim for pupillage to be an enjoyable, as well as an educational, experience in the close-knit community of Chambers.
(c) The Selection of Pupils - What are we looking for?
Chambers selects pupils (and tenants) solely on merit. We are committed to a comprehensive equality and diversity policy and the age, sex, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, political views or religion of any applicant is disregarded. Disability is also disregarded, save in those limited circumstances in which it is genuinely material to a person's ability to be a tenant or pupil in Chambers.
Applications will be evaluated at each stage by considering how each applicant meets the following selection criteria:
(i) an analytical mind;
(ii) an ability to express ideas clearly and persuasively, both in writing and orally;
(iii) an ability to think under pressure;
(iv) a commitment to hard work;
(v) an organised approach to work; and
(vi) a capacity to understand, and to show understanding of, the needs and problems of those for whom and with whom they work.
Successful applicants tend to have at least a 2.1 degree and often have higher degrees. Extra-curricular experiences which would assist our applicant in pursuing their chosen career (eg publications, successful mooting or debating experiences, lecturing skills, etc) are also viewed favourably.
(d) Recruitment Process
Chambers selects pupils solely on merit and recruits through the Pupillage Gateway Scheme.
Applications are first considered and graded to enable a shortlist to be drawn up. The selection of the shortlist is decided at a meeting of those who have graded the applications, including the Head of Pupillage (who also attends the final interviews), and is monitored for compliance with the equality and diversity code.
The final interviews are conducted by a panel, consisting of a number of Members of Chambers of varying seniority in accordance with the timetable established by the Pupillage Gateway Scheme. All candidates will be assessed against the agreed selection criteria (see above) and in comparison with other applicants.
As regards applications for third 6-month pupillages, the selection process is similar to that in respect of funded 12-month pupillages and the same selection criteria will be applied.
Interviews will take place at our Brighton conference rooms.
Any queries should be directed to Yvonne Lisik, preferably by email to email@example.com or if urgent by telephone 01273 625625.
As stated above, specially qualified applicants, such as a qualified and experienced solicitor are permitted to apply directly to Chambers outside the above timetable and should contact Chambers directly for more information. Specially qualified applicants will also be selected solely on merit and in accordance with Chambers equality and diversity policy.
Lastly, applications for third 6-month pupillage must also be made directly to Chambers. Any vacancies will be advertised.
Where applications are made directly to Chambers they should be addressed to Richard Ager, Head of Pupillage.
The offer of tenancy to our pupils is quite a regular occurrence at Crown Office Row.
The decision as to whether or not to offer a pupil a tenancy is made by a full Chambers' meeting, which all members of Chambers are expected to attend. This meeting usually takes place in June each year.
In deciding whether to offer a tenancy, Chambers considers the merits of the candidate, Chambers resources and the fit with Chambers practice needs at the time. Pupils will be assessed on the basis of their performance throughout their pupillage and fully in accordance with the non-discriminatory principles set out in our Equality and Diversity policy. Performance is assessed against the following criteria –
a) an analytical mind;
b) intellectual ability;
c) an ability to express ideas clearly and persuasively, both in writing and orally;
d) an ability to think under pressure;
e) a commitment to hard work;
f) an organised approach to work;
g) a capacity to understand and to show understanding of the needs and problems of those for whom and with whom they work;
h) good interpersonal skills.
Pupils who are not offered a tenancy are permitted to remain in Chambers at the conclusion of their pupillage for a reasonable period or until such time as they are able to make alternative arrangements. Chambers will make every reasonable effort to assist such pupils to find a further pupillage, a tenancy or employment elsewhere. The early scheduling of the tenancy meeting enables pupils who have not been taken on to make applications for third 6-month pupillages elsewhere in good time.
For those who are offered tenancy, Chambers waives any rent payment for their first year of tenancy and heavily subsidises rent during the second year.
In respect of all working pupils and junior tenants in their first three years of practice, Chambers operates a fully monitored fair rotation system of all unallocated work coming into Chambers to ensure that it is distributed fairly in a way consistent with our equality and diversity policy.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
"Steps to the Bar" - published by the Bar Council and available from:
The General Council of the Bar,
Education and Training Department
289-293 High Holborn
Tel: 020 7242 0082
Each Inn has a guide in relation to its awards and scholarships.