Chambers offers a single twelve month pupillage of two six month stages (reviewable after the first six months). A scientific qualification to degree level would be an advantage but is not essential.
Chambers’ pupillage is funded. The award is currently £55,000 for the year, divided into a grant of £30,000 for the first 6 months and an income guarantee of £25,000 for the second 6 months. The pupil’s travel expenses (apart from normal travel between home and chambers) will be paid (or reimbursed) by Chambers. Chambers will also cover any expenses reasonably incurred by the pupil on attendance at courses required to be attended as part of pupillage.
Pupils are chosen through the Pupillage Gateway system and all pupillage applications should be made via that route.
Chambers is committed to equality and diversity. It recruits pupils and tenants, and provides pupillage, in accordance with its obligations under the BSB Handbook (in particular Core Duty 8, Rule C12 and the Equality and Diversity rules making up rules C110-C112), the Authorisation Framework promulgated by the BSB, including the Curriculum and Assessment Strategy, and the Bar Qualification Manual.
Chambers looks for the following in its pupils:
- high academic achievement achieved consistently throughout the candidate’s academic career (however, in accordance with Chambers’ commitment to the principles of flexibility and accessibility the reviewers adopt a flexible approach to prior learning and experience, by taking into account each candidate’s individual circumstances insofar as they are apparent from the application form);
- an ability to think clearly, absorb and assimilate large amounts of material and to identify information relevant to the task in hand;
- an ability of the candidate to work hard and diligently, particularly when essentially unsupervised;
- an ability both to understand and work with technical information and material;
- excellent written skills;
- excellent oral skills;
- an understanding that practice at the IP Bar is first and foremost a commercial enterprise;
- excellent inter-personal skills;
- a genuine interest in the area of intellectual property law.
First six months
In their first six months of pupillage, the pupil will sit with one or more of the established junior tenants and pupil supervisors. In that period the pupil can expect to be exposed to a wide range of intellectual property disputes. The pupil will go to court with their pupil supervisor and will sit in on any conferences. At the same time the pupil will be given the opportunity to work on their pupil supervisor’s papers, drafting both pleadings and written opinions. Generally during the first six months the pupil will be able to attend at least one major trial with their pupil supervisor but this will inevitably depend on the schedule of work. We also aim to take pupils to the European Patent Office in Munich at some stage during pupillage.
At the end of the first 6 months the pupil’s progress will be reviewed with their pupil supervisor(s) and discussed with the Head of Chambers. Progress to the second six months pupillage will depend upon a satisfactory first six months.
Second six months
The second six months of pupillage will usually be spent with different pupil supervisors. The emphasis at this stage is on experience of the kind of work carried out by the most junior members of chambers, in preparation for a possible tenancy.
During the second six months pupillage, there are opportunities for pupils to work on their own account. This tends to take the form of involvement in a major piece of litigation as a junior or second junior barrister as well as some advisory work. Pupils do appear in court on their own to a limited extent in their second six months as well as undertaking paid devilling work for other members of chambers
Recruitment of tenants
Chambers’ aim is to recruit tenants from pupils in chambers and pupillages are offered on that basis.