Pupillage

We recognise that investing in our pupils is an investment in our future.

We offer up to two twelve-month pupillages.

Our application window is now closed.

If you have any queries about our pupillage programme, please send an e-mail to pupillage@1chancerylane.com.


Our Pupillage Philosophy

During pupillage we aim to equip pupils with the skills and experience needed to enjoy a successful and exciting career at the Bar. We hope to provide a stimulating environment, diversity of experience and an open, friendly approach that will enable talent to flourish.

The current system of supervision is that pupils have three supervisors during the twelve months, providing experience of a range of seniority, personalities and practice areas. If a pupil expresses interest in a particular practice area we will take this into account when allocating supervisors after the first four months.

Pupils can expect a range of court experience in their second six months that will provide good grounding for a career as an advocate. Pupils can expect to spend two to three days in court each week.

Pupillage at 1 Chancery Lane is not a competition. Pupils are not assessed by reference to one another, but against the transparent standards we expect and require pupils to achieve in order to be offered tenancy. Our policy is to recruit tenants from our pupils; accordingly we aim to work together through the year, using our popular pupillage structure and system of feedback and appraisals, to give pupils the best possible support to meet those standards.  We believe that the success of our recruitment policy is demonstrated by the fact that in the last ten years, every twelve month pupil has been offered tenancy at the conclusion of their pupillages.


The Selection Procedure

Pupillage vacancies will be advertised in accordance with regulatory requirements.  Currently, all vacancies must be advertised on the Bar Council’s Pupillage Gateway.  We cannot accept applications outside the timetable which is set by the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board.

Our selection procedure aims to identify pupils who we anticipate will be outstanding candidates to join Chambers as tenants at the end of the year. Whilst academic ability, clear thinking and lucidity of expression go without saying, we expect our pupils to have strong interpersonal skills.

Developing a rapport with professional and lay clients is a key skill for the modern legal environment. In light of this, it is fundamental to our recruitment process to discover who you are and what you can do, in addition to assessing your academic and non-academic achievements.

Applications are by the completion of an application form within the timetable period.  The applications will then be assessed on an anonymised basis in accordance with a published grading system, and the top candidates will be invited to attend an interview.


The Pupillage Experience

Henk Soede, our most recent pupil, now tenant, gives an insight into his pupillage experience:

Henk Soede

Pupillage at 1CL is structured so that you sit with 3 supervisors over the year – 4 months each. Each supervisor you sit with will work within a slightly different sphere of chambers’ practice areas, and this ensures you are exposed to the full range of work we undertake. As for the first four months, this period is designed to ease you into the experience and to prepare you for an inevitably busy post-Christmas period. This is the time to learn and make mistakes. You can expect to receive feedback on the written work you complete during this period and you will also attend court with your supervisor roughly two times a week. I found the mix of written and court work to be a particularly enjoyable aspect of pupillage.

At the end of each four-month period, you sit down with your supervisor to discuss your progress and identify areas of improvement. There is then an informal chat with the head of the admissions committee, who acts as a further sounding board for any concerns you might have regarding your progress or any other aspect of pupillage. Pupillage is and should be a collaborative effort, with chambers providing you with the training required to succeed in your tenancy application, and there is certainly a large emphasis on this at 1CL.

After Christmas there is a palpable change of pace. Not only are you preparing for your second-six, but you are also expected to start undertaking assessed work for the admissions committee. There are 6 pieces of work in total, one for each member of the committee, and each piece of work will most likely involve a slightly different area of law. Some examples of the work I was asked to complete include advising on issues relating to the recoverability of state benefits in a catastrophic personal injury claim; drafting a defence to a negligence claim arising out of a complex surgical procedure; and advising on a dilapidations dispute. My “AdCo work” certainly reflected Chambers’ wide-ranging expertise across the civil-common law spectrum.

The second notable feature of the post-Christmas period is the start of your second-six. Although ordinarily you can expect to be in court at least two or three times a week, my second-six intersected almost perfectly with the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately (and to the credit of the clerks), I still managed to attend court (albeit virtually) roughly once a week, with court dates becoming more frequent in May, June and July. The court work largely involved credit hire disputes, RTAs and procedural applications. This was supplemented by internal mock trials organised by junior members of chambers, which provided an invaluable opportunity for advocacy feedback.

Around the middle of July, the admissions committee (along with your pupil supervisors) get together, discuss your performance on the assessed work and decide whether to offer you tenancy. You are given plenty of feedback throughout the year, so any decision will not be a surprise. Although the pupillage year is invariably difficult and stressful at times, my experience was certainly less stressful than it might otherwise have been due to the genuinely friendly group of people at 1CL. What’s more, the work is interesting, varied and exciting. I would highly recommend applying.


‘Third Six’ Pupillages

‘Third six’ pupils, or probationary tenants, are recruited by chambers when there is a perceived need for junior tenants.

Further details can be found on our Probationary Tenancy page.

Subscribe for our newsletters, updates and seminars


Subscribe