During the first six months of pupillage, a pupil will spend three months each with two different supervisors in order to ensure maximum exposure to different types of work and advocacy styles. The pupil will find themselves in Court virtually every day, accompanying their supervisor to trials and pre-trial hearings, sentencing hearings and appeals; outside of the courtroom, the pupil will attend conferences and prison visits.
A vital part of pupillage involves reading the case papers and preparing the case as if it were the pupil’s own trial - case analysis, drafting applications, preparing questioning and speeches - and discussing the outcomes with the pupil supervisor. We aim to ensure that feedback on written work and case discussion is ongoing during pupillage so that our pupils are thoroughly prepared, confident and highly skilled when they are first on their feet in second six.
There will be opportunities to work with and for other members of chambers in addition to the pupil supervisor. It is important to us that our pupils feel part of chambers - that they come to know a wide number of tenants and, importantly, that our tenants come to know our pupils well in advance of any tenancy decision.
Prior to the end of the first six, we encourage our pupils to attend court with working pupils and junior tenants to familiarise themselves with the process and procedures in the Magistrates Court and to acclimatise to the busy, high pressure world of the young barrister.
Our working pupils are exceptionally busy, commonly dealing with multiple hearings every day of the working week, including trials, in the Magistrates and Crown Courts all over London and the South East.
New supervisors are allocated every three months and perform a more supervisory role given how busy the working pupil’s diary can be, but they still provide a constant source of advice, reassurance and guidance as and when it becomes necessary. Pupils are given the opportunity to develop their practice and forge relationships with instructing solicitors with view to procuring work in their own name in due course and putting themselves in the strongest position for future tenancy applications, whether here or elsewhere.
At the conclusion of the second six, we invite pupils to continue into a third six with us so that they might enhance their written and oral advocacy skills further and build a practice to demonstrate their potential to become tenants in chambers. From time to time, we also take third sixes from elsewhere.
Tenancy decisions are based on availability of quality work for which additional junior practitioners are needed and, of course, the abilities of the working pupils under consideration. No pupillage or third six is ever “with a view” to tenancy; we would hope and expect, however, that exceptionally able candidates would be in a strong position to make their case for tenancy irresistible when the time comes.