We are no longer part of the Pupillage Gateway. We accept applications only made on our own application form which has been designed to identify and elicit the key criteria we are looking for in our potential pupils and which forms the basis for the decision whether to invite to interview.
Our Application Form and Equality Monitoring Form can be downloaded here:
Every application form is marked independently by two members of chambers of differing seniority forming a “marking pair,” awarding scores for each of the following criteria: Academic Achievement, Advocacy Ability, Demonstrable Interest in Crime, Additional Achievements.
Applications are generally distributed between 7 marking pairs. Consistency of marking is monitored by the Pupillage Committee by the independent re-marking of a selection of applications looked at by each marking pair.
A marking pair will recommend a selection of top scoring candidates for first round interview. If, in the opinion of a marking pair, a candidate has demonstrated outstanding potential but for some reason has fallen short on a strict analysis of their score, the pair is able to recommend that the Pupillage Committee should review that candidate’s application to identify whether it merits an invitation to interview.
First Round Interviews:
We aim to interview around 35-40 candidates in the first instance. Every candidate is asked the same series of questions in order to ensure that every candidate has an equal opportunity to shine. Marks are awarded for both content and presentation of each answer. First round panels comprise either 2 or 3 members of chambers; interviews last no more than 15 minutes. Recommendations for second round interviews are based solely on the scores achieved in the first round.
Second Round Interviews:
We aim to interview around 15 candidates in the final round. A brief based on a real case is provided to candidates 7 days before interview, together with the core legal material required. Instructions are provided to prepare a written document and an advocacy submission which candidates are invited to present at their interview. Marks are awarded for both content and presentation of the written and oral submissions.
Following the advocacy exercise, a further question or questions will be asked, commonly relating to a topical legal issue upon which the candidate is asked to express an opinion. Again, marks are awarded for content and presentation, although we are more concerned with assessing how opinions are expressed and justified with reasoned argument rather than the opinion itself.
Second round panels comprise the Pupillage Committee and additional members of chambers, usually to a maximum of 8 people. Final round panels are often interventionist during the interview; interventions, although challenging, are intended to encourage the candidate to develop and analyse their submissions or answers to enable them to demonstrate ability, potential and excellence in their advocacy skills. Interviews last up to 30 minutes.
Panel members independently score each candidate on the interview performance and written exercise and rank them in order of merit. Each candidate is then awarded points to reflect their rankings, which enables a final ranking hierarchy to be determined. Pupillages will be offered to the top candidates in the final ranking.
In the event of a tie between more than one candidate, the final round panel members will express individual preference between those candidates until they are separated. If that cannot be achieved, the final decision will be made by the Chair of the Pupillage Committee.
The final round panel may also recommend that a number of reserve offers are made, should any of our pupillage offers be declined. The number of reserve places is dictated solely by whether the final round panel believes the candidate is meets our high expectations for prospective pupils. If no candidate sufficiently demonstrates the outstanding qualities we look for, then no reserve offers will be made.
We know that the competition for pupillage is demanding and intense. We are only too aware of the disappointment that follows unsuccessful applications, particularly because the overall standard of the competition every year is very high. We endeavour to provide feedback upon request to those unsuccessful at interview. Given the number of applications we receive each year, we cannot guarantee to provide individual feedback for candidates not invited to interview.