When choosing where to do your pupillage, it is important that you feel confident about the reputation of chambers. Maitland is generally recognised as a leading set of chambers in the field of Chancery commercial litigation, having occupied the first place in that category in Chambers UK Guide to the Bar since 2001.
Our major appeal for you lies in the combination of high quality instructions we receive, the breadth of the work and the volume of advocacy we do. We are instructed in a huge range of cases, ranging from major international litigation to domestic contractual and property disputes of all kinds. The majority of our work is done in London, though we frequently advise and appear for clients in other parts of the United Kingdom and abroad.
Life as a Junior Tenant
As soon as you become a member of chambers, you will take on responsibility for running your own cases, typically in the fields of property, insolvency, company, partnership, trusts and general business litigation. In addition you are likely be led by silks or senior juniors in heavier commercial disputes, which will give you invaluable experience of seeing established practitioners conducting litigation. This combination of independent practice and collaboration will develop your skills as both an advocate and a tactician from the outset. Our junior tenants are encouraged to develop their expertise across all of chambers’ main areas of work; but equally are free to specialise if they wish.
As the largest of the leading sets in our field, we have the highest levels of administrative support. You will have access to unparalleled resources and a dedicated team of staff to help you manage and grow your practice.
We also offer exceptional professional support in the early years of practice. You will be welcomed into an open and friendly environment, where members look out for each other and offer a strong network of mutual support. Your colleagues’ doors will always be open, whether you want to discuss a difficult point of law or just drop in for a quick chat.
What are we looking for?
We generally offer up to three places for pupillage each year. We look for a first class mind, a sense of commercial practicality, and someone who will enjoy and be stimulated by the challenge of advocacy.
Academically we look for a first or upper second class honours degree. Not all members of chambers have law degrees. Of our ten most junior tenants, the majority read subjects other than law at university. We therefore recognise that training in other academic disciplines can be a good preparation for a legal career.
You must have an aptitude for and general enjoyment of complex legal argument. At the application stage, we look for evidence of mooting or debating. During pupillage, we assess this quality in our in-house advocacy exercises.
Training during pupillage
We regard a key purpose of pupillage to ensure that you are ready, on the first day of your tenancy, to undertake the work that Chambers does.
At regular intervals throughout your time in chambers, you will participate in advocacy exercises. These take the form of mock hearings, for which you prepare from a set of exercise papers given to you in advance, just as you would in practice. Senior members of chambers act as the tribunal, dealing with your application as it would be dealt with if genuinely made. They, together with other members of chambers, then provide detailed feedback immediately after the exercise, to help you identify existing strengths and areas which require improvement.
These exercises have a two-fold purpose: they are both part of your assessment process, and are also designed to help you develop the court skills you will need as a practitioner in a supportive environment. We are passionate about this aspect of our pupils’ professional development, as we believe that success in the profession ultimately depends upon a barrister’s level of accomplishment as a court advocate. In light of the emphasis we place on training, our pupils are not expected to practise during their second six.
The other major tools of the commercial barrister’s trade – written advocacy, drafting, opinion writing and legal research – are constant features of your day to day work with your supervisors. By the end of your first six months, you can expect to have developed an aptitude for each of these skills by dint of exposure to a wide range of scenarios, from advising on complex points of property or trust law, to drafting statements of case in High Court disputes. We believe in providing continuous constructive feedback to our pupils on their written work, which is done through an objective grading system – so you would always have a clear idea of how well you are progressing.
Finally, a central aspect to the training you receive at Maitland arises in the area of professional ethics. We run a workshop devoted to the barrister’s professional obligations, during which you are asked how you would react to particularly testing scenarios. Again, detailed feedback is provided at this workshop, which is run by senior members of chambers who draw upon many years of experience.
We take our decision as to whether or not to offer tenancy around nine months into pupillage, and there is no limit to the number of offers we can make in each year. Our pupils are not in competition with one another; as a general rule, if you are of the requisite standard based on your own performance, you will be offered tenancy.
Funding and awards
From October 2017 a pupillage award of £65,000 is offered to all pupils in chambers. Up to £20,000 of the award may be drawn down in advance during the BPTC year or to pay BPTC fees. The balance of the award is paid in instalments monthly in advance. We also fund the compulsory courses required of pupils by the Bar Standards Board. Prospective pupils may also be able to obtain awards from the Inns of Court. Applications for these awards should be made to the Inns.
Chambers operates a Cash Flow Assistance Scheme for the benefit of junior tenants who have successfully completed their pupillage. This scheme operates within the first two years of practice. Further details can be provided on request.
Equality & diversity
Maitland is committed to promoting a working environment which is conducive to the professional growth of its barristers and employees and to the promotion of equality of opportunity. This applies to all aspects of our work, whether in recruitment of barristers and staff, the day to day work of our members and pupils, or in dealing with clients.
We therefore encourage applications from people from all sections of society regardless of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief or age.