Background

Pupillage

We want to hear from exceptional candidates committed to establishing a successful practice within Chambers.

We want to hear from exceptional candidates for pupillage who are committed to establishing a successful public/civil law practice within Chambers.

Our pupils are selected from applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experience, whether recent university graduates or those seeking a second career as a barrister.

5 Essex Chambers is a leading set for inquests, inquiries, police law, information and data protection, employment, human rights and regulatory work. It is recognised as one of the top public law sets in the country with a wide range of high-quality work for barristers at all levels, including the most junior. Chambers’ most junior tenants are currently instructed on significant cases including the Post Office Inquiry, the Reading Terror Attack Inquests, the Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan, and the Covid-19 Inquiry. 5 Essex Chambers has been nominated as Set of the Year for Inquests & Public Inquiries and for Professional Discipline in the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2023, and won the Legal Cheek Best Chambers for Quality of Work Award in 2023. Many juniors within Chambers have been appointed to the Attorney-General’s Panels of Counsel for Government work.

5 Essex Chambers pupils benefit from a well-established pupillage programme which aims to develop the key skills required to succeed at the Bar. This includes Chambers’ in-house advocacy training and a comprehensive talks programme designed to introduce pupils to our areas of work as well as life at the Bar. Pupils have three supervisors during their pupillage encompassing different areas of Chambers’ practice and are on their feet during their second six. Our commitment to pupils is reflected both in the structure of pupillage and in the excellent retention rate of our pupils as tenants. 5 Essex Chambers won the inaugural Best Chambers for Training Legal Cheek Award in 2018 and has been consistently nominated in this category ever since.

Chambers offers pupils a friendly, collaborative and constructive environment in which to learn and begin their practices. It received a commendation for Diversity & Inclusion in the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2022. It currently has 80% female silks and 41% female juniors, with 50% BME silks and 21% BME juniors.

5 Essex Chambers is currently looking to recruit one pupil to start in 2024 and two pupils to start in 2025. Applicants should be able to demonstrate impressive intellectual ability combined with a genuine interest in Chambers and our core practice areas.

Please apply through the Pupillage Gateway. Click here to view the link to our advert (kindly note that you will need to be logged in to Pupillage Gateway to see it).

Deadline for applications is 7 February 2024.

 

 

The 2023 Pupillage Brochure can be found here.

Every year since 2012, 5 Essex Chambers has published a detailed report on its process for selecting pupils. We were the first chambers to make this information public and have been delighted to see other sets adopting a similar approach. Each year, the report covers the whole process, from applications to final interviews. It offers an insight into our Pupillage Committee’s deliberations and contains information on the questions we ask and the answers that impress us. It provides, we hope, a useful guide for anyone seeking pupillage, whether at 5 Essex Chambers or elsewhere.

The 2023 Pupillage Selection Process Report can be found here.

For ongoing useful tips and updates, sign up to our mailing list here and follow us on Twitter @pupillages and our Instagram account @5essexchambers_pupillages which aims to capture a slice of life at the Bar and give students and future barristers a unique insight into our working lives. Two members of chambers also produced two series of Middle Temple’s Pupillage Podcast in 2019-2020.

The Application Process

5 Essex Chambers recruits up to two pupils a year via the Pupillage Gateway, the Bar Council’s online pupillage application scheme.

Potential applicants who do not fall within the Pupillage Gateway criteria, such as transferring lawyers who have been exempted from pupillage, should contact the Pupillage Committee for further information.

Your application will be considered by members of the Pupillage Committee. When looking at your application form, the Committee will consider the following factors:

  • Academic record (normally a degree at 2(i) level or above, with little or no weight placed on academic results prior to your first degree)
  • Experience – both legal and non-legal
  • Clarity and quality of presentation of the application
  • Other factors, including in particular your understanding of a career at the Bar and at 5 Essex Chambers and your motivation to practise successfully in our field

We do not require candidates to have undertaken a mini-pupillage in chambers, and we do not put weight on the number or nature of mini-pupillages undertaken elsewhere. For more information about mini-pupillages in Chambers, please see here.

We typically invite around 30-35 applicants to our first round interviews which are usually held in late March or early April at which candidates will be asked to analyse and discuss a number of legal and/or ethical issues.  We aim to shortlist around 10-15 applicants for second round interviews in late April. All interviewees are assessed by reference to:

  • Legal knowledge
  • Presentation
  • Motivation
  • Communication and interpersonal skills

Offers of pupillage will then be made in accordance with the Pupillage Gateway procedure.

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

5 Essex Chambers is proud of our tradition of retaining pupils as tenants. We therefore only offer pupillage to those whom we consider have the potential to become tenants in chambers. Chambers strives to develop all pupils so that they will become tenants in chambers at the end of their pupillage year. In the last fifteen years, we have had twenty-six 12-month pupils. All but four have been taken on as tenants.

5 Essex Chambers is committed to increasing the diversity of its members of chambers. To that end it particularly encourages applications from black and minority ethnic candidates, and from those with non-traditional backgrounds. Chambers has a firm policy against any form of discrimination and adheres to the Bar Council’s Fair Recruitment Guide. More information about our commitment to Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity can be found here.

Chambers is also committed to treating applicants fairly and transparently which is why we explain our process in detail in advance. We ensure that all candidates are informed of the progress of their applications at the same time (so those who are not selected for first or second round interview are told at the same time as those who are selected), and we provide general feedback to all applicants at the point a decision is made on their application.

Unsolicited feedback from applicants has included:

“I have been incredibly impressed with the 5 Essex Chambers pupillage recruitment process. It has been by far the best that I have gone through in terms of transparency, quick response and the degree of effort given to providing candidates with feedback. If only the rest of the Bar were to follow your example!”

“The approach in the interviews was both professional and friendly. I was left with an excellent impression of chambers”.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my mini-pupillage at 5 Essex Chambers and found the people I met in Chambers to be among the most down to earth and supportive barristers I have encountered at the Bar”.

“Your interviewing process was one of the most friendly, well-organised and positive experiences that I had during my pupillage search”.

Funding

5 Essex Chambers offers pupils a minimum of £65,000 during their pupillage year, comprising a £35,000 award and £30,000 guaranteed earnings. A drawdown of up to £10,000 is available.

In addition to the award, Chambers funds any compulsory courses and any travel outside London with a pupil supervisor, as well as providing study time for the mandatory Ethics exam.

A day in the life

A Day in the Life of a Pupil

Edmund Garnett was a pupil in 2021 and was offered tenancy in 2022.

Learn more

Life as a Junior Barrister

Zander Goss is a junior member of Chambers.

Learn more

Pupil Life

Jack Palmer and Paige Jones commenced their 12 months pupillage at 5 Essex Chambers in September 2022.

Learn more

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