Pupillage

PUPILLAGE

A pupillage at QEB offers top quality
training in a busy, friendly environment.

QEB recruits pupils through the Pupillage Gateway System (formerly called the Pupillage Portal).

A 12-month pupillage involves three pupil supervisors, but pupils are also encouraged to work with other tenants at all levels to gain broad experience.

Recruitment information:

• 2 Pupillages available each year (both for 12 months)
• Pupillage Award:  currently under review at £35,000 plus earnings (as a result of instructions received in the second-six).
• We have taken on six new tenants from QEB pupils in the past four years.

QEB operates an equal opportunities policy. Appendix 3 of that policy directly relates to the selection of pupils and tenants and a copy can be downloaded by clicking here. QEB also has a pupillage and tenancy policy copies of which can be downloaded by clicking here.

INTRODUCTION
Our aim is that a 12 month pupillage will provide training of the highest quality for each pupil and will build a firm foundation for a successful career at the Bar. We hope these pages will answer all the questions you might have about a pupillage with us but, if you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to email your query to clerks@qeb.co.uk marking the subject “Pupillage Information Request”.

Since QEB invariably recruits new junior tenants from its own pupils we invest an enormous amount of time and energy into every pupillage and we hope this is reflected in the information contained below. Most importantly we hope that what you read encourages you to apply to these chambers.
Please read what Chambers Student Guide reported after their visit to QEB

We also offer mini-pupillages at QEB. Full details of when/how to apply can be found on this PDF.

“The upshot of excellence past and present is that QEB is a no-brainer for those seeking a family law pupillage.”

Chambers & Partners Student Guide


WHY CHOOSE US
Expertise

QEB is one of the leading sets of Family Law chambers with particular expertise in matrimonial finance. Our work typically involves individuals with substantial assets and requires analysis of complex financial information raising issues of company and trust law. It is not uncommon for there to be an international element to our cases and for members of chambers to represent figures in the public eye.

Location

Queen Elizabeth Building itself occupies a magnificent position overlooking the River Thames, Middle Temple gardens, and Middle Temple Hall and is a short walk from the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.

Friendly Environment

Chambers prides itself on being a busy yet friendly environment in which members of Chambers, staff and pupils exchange views and ideas about their work during the day. We expect pupils to be very much a part of Chambers during their twelve months and to participate in almost every aspect of life in Chambers including our social events. We also have a party for our new pupils at the beginning of pupillage so they can meet all the members of Chambers in an informal setting.

By the end of pupillage it is expected that each pupil will have developed the professional skills which are essential to practise at the Independent Bar. It is also expected that a QEB pupillage will instil the confidence which lies at the heart of a successful career as a barrister.

A pupillage at QEB would mean regular exposure to intellectually demanding work of the highest quality, often in developing areas of law, from the leading firms of Family Law solicitors.

Members of Chambers are consistently praised in Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500 and other publications as leaders in their field. Chambers also has a proud record of appointments; currently, ten former members of QEB are Judges – one Supreme Court Judge, four of the nineteen Family Division High Court Judges, four Circuit Judges and one District Judge in the PRFD.


APPLICATION

How we choose you.

Application

Chambers is notified through the Pupillage Gateway system (formerly the Pupillage Portal) as soon as you make your application. After the closing date for applications, three members of chambers, separately, go through every single application to select a short list of candidates to invite for interview.

Interview

The short-listed candidates are invited for a single interview by a panel of four people, towards the end of July. The interview lasts 30 minutes. It includes a legal problem, which is provided to you on the day. No prior knowledge of family law is required or expected. The panel will be more interested to see a candidate argue cogently on legal principles than to display a wealth of knowledge of case law. The interview also includes more general questions and, of course, a full opportunity for you to ask us any questions you may have. Successful candidates will be offered a pupillage within the rules and timetable of the Pupillage Gateway summer season.

 

Policies

QEB operates an equal opportunities policy. Appendix 3 of that policy directly relates to the selection of pupils and tenants and a copy can be downloaded by clicking here. QEB also has a pupillage and tenancy policy copies of which can be downloaded by clicking here.


LIFE AS A PUPIL

QEB is a leading set of Family Law chambers, particularly well known for dealing with the financial consequences of divorce, as well as all aspects of Family Law.

QEB is a family law set with a “family feel” best reflected in this article

A pupillage at QEB is divided into three four-month periods each spent with a different supervisor. Each pupil shares a room with their supervisor where they will be provided with their own workspace.

Although pupils are expected to have their own computer they will be connected to the chambers network, which also allows them access to our electronic legal resources. It will also give them access to the internet and a chambers email address.

The intention is that a pupil shares their supervisor’s daily professional life. They are expected to read their supervisor’s papers and attempt any paperwork which the supervisor is doing – e.g. position documents, opinions and written submissions – as if they were themselves the barrister instructed. They will accompany their supervisor to court and also attend conferences between the supervisor and clients.

The aim is that pupils learn by direct experience how to prepare for hearings, and to do the necessary legal research, while at the same time developing an understanding of the non-legal, (but equally important) aspects of professional life, such as the relationship with lay clients and solicitors.

Junior Contact

Each pupil is assigned a junior contact with whom they can discuss any worries or concerns that they might feel uncomfortable raising with their pupil supervisors. Moreover a pupil is encouraged to accompany their junior contact to court during their first six so that the pupil has the opportunity to see some of the work that they themselves are likely to encounter during their second six months.

Second Six

After six months a pupil becomes eligible to take on court work in his or her own right. We recognise that these first steps in court can be a daunting prospect and so we make sure that each pupil has undergone regular in-house advocacy exercises (as well as their own Inn advocacy training course) before they undertake their own work. A second-six pupil can usually be expected to be in court once or twice a week, with the volume of work increasing towards the end of their pupillage. Together with their own court work, pupils are also given the opportunity to undertake, on a paid basis, pieces of paperwork for members of chambers other than their supervisor (“devilling”).


AFTER PUPILLAGE
Tenancy

All pupils at QEB are automatically considered candidates for tenancy within chambers. The decision as to which, if any, of the pupils are to be taken on as tenants is made at a full chambers meeting after approximately ten months of pupillage. Each pupil supervisor is required to conduct a monthly review of a pupil’s work and write reports on each of their pupils for the meeting.

Our aim is that a pupil is never kept in the dark as to their progress and, as well as receiving regular informal feedback from their supervisor, a pupil will be given their reports as and when they are written and invited to comment upon them. At QEB we think it important to make objective comparisons and therefore pupils will undertake written assessments and a formal advocacy assessment so that informed judgments can be made as to the pupils’ respective abilities.

The formal advocacy assessment involves the presentation of a case to a panel of three senior members of chambers. The emphasis is not on the “right” legal answer, but rather assessing a pupil’s ability to argue a case persuasively.

Placement

While we recognise that pupillage can be an anxious and challenging time, it is our firm aim to ensure that the experience is enjoyable and that there is a healthy balance between assessment and training. QEB pupils who are not taken on have a very strong record of going on to obtain tenancies elsewhere. We endeavour to do all that we reasonably can, by way of advice and assistance, to help pupils not taken on to find a suitable placement on completion of their pupillage with us.


MINI-PUPILLAGE
Mini-Pupillage

Our mini-pupillages are informally assessed and we keep a record of your time in chambers.We invite those you spend time with, so far as they are able in the time you are with them, to indicate whether they consider you demonstrate the qualities and abilities we look for in our pupillage candidates and accordingly whether, were you to apply, you should be invited to attend an interview for pupillage. It is not necessary for you to undertake a mini-pupillage for you to be considered for interview.

You need to answer three important questions:
• Do I want to be a barrister?
• Do I want to specialise in family law?
• Would I want a pupillage at QEB?

Mini-pupils spend much of their time at QEB (up to one week) accompanying members of chambers to court. The area of family law you are most likely to be exposed to as a mini-pupil is financial remedies (formerly called ‘ancillary relief’) work; however, members undertake a wide range of family work.

Travel to and from court will be paid for by chambers. In addition, in order to attract the best candidates regardless of background, we now have the discretion to offer up to £100 to those selected for mini-pupillage to assist in covering the cost of travel from outside London and/or, if necessary, accommodation in London (to be paid against suitable receipts).

Applications

Applications for mini-pupillages should be made using the mini-pupillage application form, which can be found here.

Once you have completed the form, please save it to your computer and send it to the QEB mini-pupillage e-mail address at:
mini-pupillage@qeb.co.uk.

Prior to the recent introduction of the mini-pupillage application form applications were made by CV and covering letter. Those applicants who have already completed an application using this method need not apply again and will not be prejudiced if they have done so. However, we kindly ask that all new applicants use the application form.

If you have any questions regarding the completion or content of the mini-pupillage application form, or about mini-pupillage in general, please e-mail mini-pupillage@qeb.co.uk. The mini-pupillage secretary will endeavour to respond to your query as soon as possible.

Chambers does not accept applications for mini-pupillage from applicants who are under 18 years of age.

Timetable

Chambers adopts a time-table for the allocation of placements. Applications for mini pupillages will be considered four times a year only. The time-table is set out in the table below:

Mini-Pupillage PeriodClosing date for application
Oct - Dec31st August
Jan - March30th October
April - May31st January
Jun - Sept31st March

Applications will not be considered prior to the closing date and any applications received after the relevant closing date will not be considered for that period.

If you would like to download the mini-pupillage pack please click here.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is it worth applying to QEB if I have a 2.2?
A: QEB only considers applicants with a 2:1 degree result or above save in exceptional circumstances.

Q: Do I need to have studied Family Law?
A: No. From experience pupils pick up the necessary legal framework very quickly during the first few months of pupillage.

Q: Does QEB require candidates for pupillage to have a Law degree?
A: No. Many of members of chambers have read subjects other than Law at university.

Q: How do I apply for pupillage at QEB?
A: QEB is a member of the Pupillage Gateway (formerly Pupillage Portal); applications should be made in the summer season. Details are available on the Pupillage Gateway website – [www.pupillagegateway.com]

Q: Should I undertake mini-pupillages?
A: We would normally expect applicants to have undertaken mini-pupillages; however, it is NOT necessary to have completed a mini-pupillage at QEB to be considered for a pupillage proper. Mini-pupillages are important for a variety of reasons: they give you an idea of what life as a barrister is like; you will get a feel for whether you are suited to a particular area of law; and you will find out about the character of a set of chambers. However, that said, we do not expect candidates for pupillage to have a string of mini-pupillages.

Q: How many pupils are kept on at the end of the pupillage year?
A: There is no quota at QEB. The number of tenancies offered will depend on the ability of the pupils and the available work in chambers. However, as a guide, six junior tenants have been taken on in the last four years.

Q: How are new tenants chosen?
A: See “Tenancy and Life After Pupillage section”

Q: How many pupils does QEB take?
A: Chambers usually offers two 12-month pupillages.

Q: Does QEB offer 3rd Six pupillages?
A: No.

Q: Do I need a computer?
A: Pupils are asked to have a lap-top (PC or Mac) before they arrive for pupillage. In the first few days an electronic diary will be installed along with several legal databases. Pupils are asked to install Microsoft Word and Excel before they arrive.

Q: What legal resources are available at QEB?
A: In addition to the library at QEB, pupils have access to various electronic legal resources which are installed on each pupil’s computer shortly after arriving in chambers.

Q: Does QEB encourage pupils to get involved with FRU?
A: Yes, all pupils are encouraged to undertake pro bono work. QEB encourages and facilitates a pupil’s pro bono commitments, including FRU work, whenever possible.

Q: Where can I find out more about QEB?
A: Mini-pupillage is an excellent way to find out about QEB.


 

“Hotbed of talent.”