General information about pupillage
Wilberforce Chambers looks to offer up to four 12-month pupillages each year, with substantial funding. Chambers has an excellent retention record. It is unusual for pupils not to be recruited as tenants at the end of their 12-month pupillage. We are looking for pupils with high intellectual ability, good communication skills and an interest in Chancery Commercial work, who are mature and confident, have the ability to work with others and who can analyse legal problems well, demonstrating good practical and commercial sense. We have a minimum requirement of a 2:1 degree in law or another subject.
There is no limit to the number of tenancies we offer at the end of the pupillage process. Chambers offers pupillage with a view to taking on all pupils as tenant at the end of their time with us, so we take great care in our selection process to identify candidates who have real potential to join Chambers at the end of their pupillage. Importantly, our pupils are not in competition with one another for a tenancy, but are assessed solely on their own abilities and performance. We assess pupils for their suitability as tenants throughout their time in Chambers by means of a process of continual assessment, rather than by a separate, formal assessment procedure at the end of pupillage. We frequently offer tenancy to all pupils in a given year.
We are committed to promoting and achieving equality and diversity in Chambers, so we want to receive applications from anyone who has the qualities and skills we are looking for, no matter what university they have attended, no matter what age, race, gender or sexual orientation. It is with that commitment in mind that we joined the Pupillage Gateway a few years ago, as we consider the process to be beneficial to pupillage candidates.
We pay for our pupils to attend the compulsory courses which they are required by the Bar Council to undertake.
Click here to view an online copy of our pupillage brochure.
Click here to read the CHAMBERS STUDENT review on Wilberforce.
Click here to read the LEGAL CHEEK review on Wilberforce.
What can I expect from a pupillage at Wilberforce?
- a well-structured pupillage
- to sit with at least five different pupil supervisors during their 12 months with us
- to share the daily professional life of their pupil supervisor
- to see a spread of chambers’ work
- to produce pleadings and opinions in their pupil supervisor’s cases
- to attend conferences with their pupil supervisor, the solicitor and the lay client
- to attend Court with their pupil supervisor and other members of Chambers
- to receive regular feedback on their work from their pupil supervisor
- to have their work-load monitored by their pupil supervisor
- to have an opportunity to work with a variety of junior tenants and silks
- to get to know our clerks and begin to learn what skills and approaches will assist in building a successful practice
- to have an opportunity to contribute to life in Chambers
We regard the recruitment of exceptional pupils and junior tenants as crucial to our continuing success: for every pupillage we offer, there is a tenancy available.
We aim to reach a decision about tenancy after approximately 9-10 months of pupillage. All pupils, whether or not they are offered a tenancy, are entitled to remain with us for the remainder of their pupillage on a full pupillage award. We make every effort to assist those who are not offered tenancy to find pupillage and eventually tenancy elsewhere. Any money earned by pupils during their second 6 months will be in addition to the pupillage award and expense-free.
What is the application/selection process?
Applications for pupillage must be made through the Pupillage Gateway, the online pupillage application scheme, except where an applicant is exempt under the applicable rules. Visit www.pupillagegateway.com for full details of how the Gateway operates and to find our application form.
Following consideration of your pupillage application, Chambers may invite you to attend a long-list interview. This will be an interview with two members of Chambers involving discussion of a problem question. You may then be asked back for a short-list interview which includes a more in-depth examination and analysis of a legal problem with up to four members of Chambers.
We have a strong record of recruiting non-law/GDL students–we take care to ensure that our interview process does not disadvantage those who have only recently commenced their legal studies.
All our interviews are carried out in person subject to exceptional circumstances.
The full timeline is below.
What award is offered?
We offer a generous pupillage award. This is reviewed annually and is intended to be in line with the highest awards available. The award for a 12-month pupillage commencing in October 2023 will be £75,000 and will be paid monthly. A proportion of the pupillage award (currently up to £30,000) can be drawn down during the BPTC year.
When are the interviews?
Pupillage October 2023 (please consult www.pupillagegateway.com for up-to-date information/deadlines)
Number of places: 4
Publication of adverts for pupillage on the Gateway; applicants may log in to browse vacancies: 25th November 2021
Gateway submissions window opens; applicants may start, edit and submit their applications: 5th January 2022
Submissions window closes; no further applications or amendments to applications will be allowed: 9th February 2022
Shortlisting and interview period: 15 February – 5 May 2022
Offers of pupillage made through the Gateway: 6 May 2022
We are committed to the promotion of equality and diversity across all aspects of our practice.
Equality of opportunity is essential for the maintenance of high standards and the provision of a quality service to clients. It also ensures a harmonious working environment for members of Chambers and staff.
In particular we adopt best practice equality and diversity procedures in our pupillage recruitment which involves the use of application forms, a two-tier interview process and the use of objective selection criteria in accordance with the recommendations of the Equality and Diversity Rules of the Code of Conduct.
Applicants with a disability are encouraged to contact the Secretary to the Pupillage Committee, in confidence if there are any reasonable adjustments that may be made in relation to their applications.
Pupillage contact details
If you need further assistance, please call and ask for the Pupillage Secretary in confidence on 020 7306 0102 or email us on email@example.com
Applications for pupillage must be made through the Pupillage Gateway, the online pupillage application scheme. Visit www.pupillagegateway.com for full details of how the Gateway operates and to find our application form.