Pupillage Policy

  1. This policy and terms of reference has been proposed by the Pupillage Committee and agreed by the Management Committee pursuant to clause 4.12(c) of Chambers’ Constitution.
  2. Chambers has a Pupillage Committee which consists of at least 5 members. The Committee members shall, so far as possible, reflect the composition of Chambers as a whole both in terms of seniority and areas of practice. It shall be the duty of the Pupillage Committee to select and monitor the progress of pupils and to report to Chambers towards the end of the Pupillage year.
  3.   Chambers is a member of the Pupillage Portal. All applications for Pupillage must be made through the Pupillage Portal save where the applicant is Portal-exempt.

The Pupillage

 

  1. Chambers offers up to two 12-month funded pupillages. The funding is £25,000. Each pupil will receive the funding in twelve monthly instalments. In addition to the funding, pupils will also receive all of their money earned in their second six months of pupillage. This will be subject to a 10% contribution on such sums billed during the second six months. If, at the end of 12 months pupillage, the amount a pupil has billed is less than £15,000 then Chambers will pay the pupil the difference. Such payment will (at the discretion of the Management Committee) be made either (a) in one lump sum or (b) in three monthly instalments.
  2. The pupils will usually (and subject to any contrary decision by the Pupillage Committee, notified to the Management Committee) spend four months with each of three Pupil Supervisors in order to see as broad a range of work as possible. Save where they are undertaking their own work in their second six months of pupillage, pupils will be expected to attend court and conferences with their Pupil Supervisor. Where the court / conference is within the M25 area the pupil must pay his or her own travel expenses. If the court is in any other area the pupil’s travel expenses will be paid for by Chambers or the pupil will be allocated to another member of Chambers for the duration of the trial / conference.
  3. The pupil will (where practicable) be given a desk in the Pupil Supervisor’s room. When the Pupil Supervisor is working in Chambers the pupil will be given paperwork by his or her Pupil Supervisor. Members of Chambers must not give any work to a pupil without asking that pupil’s Pupil Supervisor’s prior permission so to do. Only the Pupil Supervisor will provide the pupil with work during the first three months of their Pupillage. The Pupil Supervisor will use all reasonable endeavours to provide the pupil with the necessary training to equip him or her for a career at the Bar. It shall be the duty of the Pupil Supervisor to assist in the completion of the Pupillage Check List.
  4. Chambers will pay for compulsory Pupillage Courses, e.g. Advocacy, Accountancy, Practice Management.
  5. Pupils are entitled to take 20 days holiday (excluding Bank Holidays) during the Pupillage year. Pupils should refer to the Pupillage Handbook for details of arrangements to be made when taking holidays.

 

Marketing of pupillages

  1. The Pupillage Committee may advertise and otherwise market Chambers’ pupillages. In doing so, the Pupillage Committee must have regard to Chambers’ commitment to diversity. The Pupillage Committee may, in particular, market pupillages in a manner so as particularly to encourage applications from groups that are currently under-represented in Chambers. The Pupillage Committee must not exceed the budget allocated for marketing of pupillages except with the prior agreement of the Management Committee.

Selection for Interview

  1. Selection for interview shall be based on Pupillage Portal applications. Chambers does not accept any additional documentation from applicants. The Pupillage Committee will read and mark every application under the following criteria:
    • Academic record
    • Experience – both legal and non-legal
    • Presentation of the application
    • Other features.
  2. The top scoring applicants are invited for interview.

Interviews

  1. There are two rounds of interviews. The best scoring applicants from the first round will be invited to a second-round interview. So far as is reasonably practicable, all members of the Pupillage Committee will be involved in at least one of the interviews (and one member shall be involved in both interviews) to ensure consistency of approach. Both rounds of interview follow a pre-set formula.

First Round

  1. The applicant will be given a question sheet to prepare on arrival. The question sheet will have two or three questions of a legal and/or ethical nature.
  2. Following discussion of one or more of the legal and/or ethical questions in the interview, the applicant is asked a range of questions designed to elicit the qualities set out at paragraph 17 below.

Second Round

  1. The applicant will be given an advocacy exercise to prepare on arrival.
  2. Following the applicant’s presentation of his or her advocacy exercise in the interview, the applicant is asked further questions designed to elicit the qualities set out at paragraph 17 below.

At Interview

  1. Marks are awarded at both interview rounds for:
    • Legal knowledge
    • Presentation
    • Motivation
    • Ability to work and mix with others

Following Second Round Interview

  1. The Pupillage Committee will deliberate and compile a short-list of the highest scoring applicants. It may then select up to two pupils. Offers of Pupillage will be made in accordance with the Pupillage Portal.
  2. The Pupillage Committee will prepare a report on the selection process which will be provided to the Management Committee and (subject to any contrary view of the Management Committee) shall be published on Chambers’ website. The report shall, in particular, analyse the diversity statistics for each stage of the application process.

Portal-Exempt Applicants

  1. The selection criteria for any Portal-exempt applicants will be the same as for Portal applicants.

Monitoring of Pupillage

  1. In the first six months of Pupillage, the Pupillage Committee will meet to consider the progress of the pupil.
  2. The Pupillage Committee also welcomes reports from other members of Chambers which may be made at any time and which may be referable to the work or character of any pupil.
  3. At the end of the first six months of Pupillage, and following on from the Pupillage Committee’s first meeting, the pupil(s) will attend a review meeting with the Head of the Pupillage Committee in order to discuss their progress.

Following Second Round Interview

  1. In the course of the second six months of Pupillage, the Pupillage Committee will circulate to all members of Chambers a questionnaire and invite their feedback on each pupil and their view as to whether or not they should be offered a tenancy.
  2. Any member of Chambers who objects to the pupil being offered tenancy shall provide the Pupillage Committee with a full written statement of his or her views. The Committee has the right to question the member or members concerned on their written objections in order to determine whether such objections are fair and reasonable.
  3. The senior clerk will prepare a report with his views as to the present and future availability of work at the junior end of Chambers and his opinion as to whether or not the pupil should be offered tenancy; this view will take into account any positive or negative reports he has received from professional and/or lay clients. The senior clerk’s report shall be provided to both the Management Committee and the Pupillage Committee.
  4. The Management Committee of Chambers shall be free at any time to advise the Pupillage Committee of any policy requirements or decisions reached by them which should be taken into account by the Pupillage Committee in determining whether or not to make a recommendation of tenancy (including any restriction on the number of tenancies that may be offered).
  5. The Pupillage Committee will meet to consider the returned questionnaires, the senior clerk’s report, any input from the Management Committee and reports form Pupil Supervisors. As a result of that meeting, the Pupillage Committee will make recommendations to Chambers as to whether or not the pupil should be offered tenancy or whether a Chambers meeting should be held.
  6. Criteria which the Pupillage Committee will take into account will include:
    • The level of progress demonstrated by the pupil
    • The level of competence of the pupil
    • The character of the pupil and the extent to which he or she has integrated into Chambers
    • Any policy requirements or decisions of which the Pupillage Committee is advised by the Management Committee
  7. The recommendations which the Pupillage Committee make to Chambers will be in the form of a written report. The Committee will endeavour to reach a unanimous view as to those recommendations.
  8. When the recommendations of the committee are promulgated, the committee shall set a date and time, within 4 days of promulgation, when they shall be available to discuss the recommendations with any members of chambers. Thereafter in the absence of an EGM, the recommendation will be deemed to be accepted.

Pupils not taken on as Tenants

  1. Chambers shall use its best endeavours to inform pupils by 30th June in each Pupillage year whether or not they will be offered a tenancy. If the pupil is not offered a tenancy, Chambers will not require the pupil to leave Chambers immediately. If the pupil so desires, he or she will be given a period of at least 3 months squatting in Chambers following the end of the Pupillage year.
  2. In any period during which the pupil is a squatter work will be allocated to members of Chambers before it is allocated to the squatter.
  3. Chambers will use all reasonable endeavours to provide assistance to the pupil in trying to secure a 3rd six month Pupillage or tenancy in other Chambers.

…. October 2012