What do we offer?
From September 2023 a pupillage award of £70,000 is offered to all pupils in Chambers. Up to £30,000 of the award may be drawn down in advance during the BPT year or to pay BPT fees. The balance of the award is paid in instalments monthly in advance over the course of the 12 months of pupillage.
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 to assist in funding their GDL and/or BPT years. Applications for these awards should be made to the Inns.
We only offer pupillage to candidates who demonstrate that they have the ability and skills to become tenants in Chambers. We have no limit on the number of tenancies offered in any given year and so they are not in competition with each other. We have for many years recruited as tenants most or all of our pupils. Provided a candidate meets the requisite standard based on their own performance, a tenancy is offered. We welcome applications both from law and non-law graduates and recognise that training in other disciplines can be good preparation for a career at the Bar – we have in recent years offered pupillages and tenancies to those with law degrees and those who converted to law after their undergraduate degrees in roughly equal numbers.
In light of the emphasis we place on advocacy training (see below), our pupils are not expected to practise during their second six prior to the tenancy decision. After the tenancy decision, pupils who have been offered tenancy may be offered certain work provided their pupil supervisor gives permission.
Life In Pupillage
Pupils are assessed over a 40-week period. Pupils usually sit with four pupil supervisors, with each rotation lasting 10 weeks. Pupil supervisors are mid- to senior-level juniors and only ever have one pupil at a time. You will sit in your pupil supervisor’s room, accompany them to court and arbitration hearings and mediations/other settlement meetings and (other than for exceptional reasons) attend their conferences and telephone conferences. This gives you broad exposure to the major tools of the commercial barrister’s trade – advocacy (written and oral), drafting pleadings, opinion writing, legal research, preparation of notes on evidence, trial preparation (including witness handling) and negotiation skills.
ADVOCACY TRAINING AND ASSESSMENT
Further, at regular intervals throughout the pupillage assessment period, you will participate in Maitland’s in-house advocacy training and assessment programme. Each individual exercise takes the form of mock hearings, for which you prepare from a set of mock 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 in court.
These exercises have a two-fold purpose: they are both part of your assessment process, and are also designed to help you develop the oral advocacy skills you will need as a practitioner in a supportive environment. We believe that success in our profession ultimately depends upon a barrister’s level of accomplishment as a court advocate and, accordingly, we consider the advocacy training and assessment programme a key part of the pupillage process.
A further key aspect of your training is in 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.
LIFE IN CHAMBERS
We recognise that pupillage is demanding, but we do our best to make it as interesting, enjoyable and rewarding an experience as possible.
Each year, there are two pupil mentors who are junior practitioners with recent experience of having undertaken pupillage. They are available to speak to pupils, in confidence in appropriate circumstances, about personal and professional issues which any pupil cannot or does not want to raise with their supervisor.
Pupils are not expected to work late in the evenings or at weekends, although, due to the nature of practice, there may be times when some longer hours are necessary.
Pupils are welcomed into and encouraged to participate in the social life of Chambers. During pupillage, pupils will often have lunch with their pupil supervisors and other members of Chambers (juniors’ fish and chips on a Friday is a regular event), and are welcome at Chambers' social events, such as Thursday evening’s post-work drinks.
THE TENANCY DECISION
We take our decision as to whether or not to offer tenancy after around 40 weeks of assessment.
We believe in providing continuous constructive feedback to our pupils on their written work, which is done through an objective grading system, so you have a clear idea of how well you are progressing. Pupil supervisors provide detailed feedback on individual pieces of work and at the end of each 10-week rotation.
The advocacy assessors also provide detailed feedback as soon after each individual advocacy exercise as possible to help you identify existing strengths and areas which require improvement. The objective grading system used by the pupil supervisors is also used by the advocacy assessors.
Chambers is committed to making every effort to find good homes for any of our pupils who are not offered tenancies. The overwhelming majority find tenancies at other good Chambers.
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 one of the largest of the leading sets in our field, we have the highest levels of administrative support. You will have access to excellent 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. You will have your own room in Chambers but 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.
Whilst barristers are self-employed and, to some extent, earnings therefore vary depending on how individuals wish to run their practices, our experience is that the average earnings of first year tenants at Maitland far exceed the pupillage award and compare favourably to first year earnings at other commercial Chambers and city solicitor firms. Maitland also 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 and further details can be provided on request.
Your pupillage application
Maitland is a member of the Pupillage Gateway and the timetable for applications in 2022 can be found on their website here.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Academically we look for a first or upper second class honours degree.
You must have an aptitude for and general enjoyment of complex legal argument (both orally and in writing). Successful applicants often have some experience of mooting, debating or some other public speaking, but we recognise that there are different ways in which a candidate can evidence such skill.
We receive around 100-150 application forms each year from which we select on average 30 first round interviewees and between 10 and 15 second round interviewees. We generally offer up to three places for pupillage per year.
All applications are read by two or three members of Chambers in order to select candidates for interview. The readers mark the applications in accordance with a set of assessment criteria and a moderation process then takes place.
First-round interviews last for approximately 25 minutes and are conducted in front of a panel of three members of Chambers. They involve general questions, including one designed to test legal reasoning.
Second-round interviews last for approximately 30 minutes and involve the more detailed study of a hypothetical case (which makes allowance for the fact that some applicants may not have completed law degrees). This case is then discussed with a panel of up to five barristers, including one or more of our QCs. Interviewees are asked to come to chambers in time to allow themselves 60 minutes of preparation.
From the application forms and interviews we make assessments by reference to an objective set of marking criteria about a variety of core skills, including: candidates' academic ability; aptitude for the Bar, advocacy and commercial and chancery work; articulacy; literacy; clarity of thought; reasoning ability; judgment; practice management temperament and interpersonal skills. All members of Chambers involved in the process have received fair recruitment training.
Unsuccessful applicants for pupillage may apply for a second time in a subsequent year. However, we do not accept further applications from candidates who have applied twice previously.
Our current policy is that consideration will be given, on a case by case basis, to requests to defer an offer of pupillage. If you would wish to make such a request, it would be helpful if you could indicate that fact (together with the reasons for deferral, and the length of deferral which you would seek) in your application form or, if that is not possible, as early as possible in the application process.
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 welcome applications from people from all sections of society regardless of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief or age and encourage applications from groups presently under-represented at the commercial and Chancery Bar.
Disabled applicants who would like to discuss reasonable adjustments to the application process are asked to contact the Pupillage Secretary.
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THIRD SIX VACANCIES
We are not seeking currently applications for Third Six Vacancies.