Chambers is keen to ensure that the opportunity of undertaking a mini-pupillage with us is also open to those in full-time employment or with caring or family obligations. A mini-pupillage is the best way in which potential pupillage applicants can make a realistic assessment of whether they would suit Chambers and whether Chambers would suit them.
We accept however that not everyone can do a mini-pupillage with us and we will consider pupillage applications from and do not discriminate against those who have not done one.
When should I apply for mini-pupillage?
Please see the “Timetable” section below for information about dates.
In general, you should not apply to 39 Essex Chambers before the final year of your studies to complete the academic component of training for the Bar. This means that, as of 31 October 2020, you will have:
- Completed a UK/ Republic of Ireland undergraduate law degree, qualifying law degree or conversion course; or
- Started the final year of a UK/ Republic of Ireland undergraduate law degree, qualifying law degree or conversion course (this may be the first and only year in the case of a full-time conversion course).
If you are not in one of the categories set out above (if you are a first or second year undergraduate, for example), but nevertheless wish to undertake a mini-pupillage at 39 Essex Chambers before your final year, you will need to provide a good reason for why we should consider making an exception in your case in the Eligibility section of this form. An example of a reason we have previously accepted is that of a student who will be spending the final year of their degree abroad, and wishes to undertake a mini-pupillage whilst still in the UK.
The reason for this general rule is that we receive so many applications that we have decided to limit applications to those who are close to applying for pupillage.
What will I do on a mini-pupillage?
We have decided that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means that we are unable to welcome mini-pupils safely into Chambers at present. For the 2020-21 mini-pupillage season we have developed a remote mini-pupillage programme, which is intended to give you as full an experience of Chambers and the work that we do as possible.
Remote mini-pupillages will last for up to two days (with the possibility of extending if the supervising barrister is engaged in a multi-day hearing). We will give you a piece of written work to complete which will be assessed (see further below). We plan to give you the chance to chat to a member of chambers, a pupil or very junior barrister and a clerk. If we can, we will arrange for you to attend (part of) a remote hearing or a conference and/or give you a short piece of work to do which you will discuss with your supervising barrister. This method of running mini-pupillage is still in development and it may be that we will not be able to provide every element of this for each mini-pupil.
Mini-pupillages are assessed by one piece of written work which will take one day to complete and will be marked in accordance with our pupillage selection criteria (this is the written work referred to above). The written work assessments are retained on file and form part of the pupillage selection process. The written piece of work is designed to be accessible to students at every stage of their legal studies. No feedback is provided on the written assessment to mini-pupils during the mini-pupillage; the assessment is for our internal benefit at the pupillage selection stage.
We endeavour to ensure that mini-pupils see a range of work and spend time attending Court and/or conferences to see core advocacy skills, as well as seminars and appropriate Chambers events. The plan for remote mini-pupillage set out above very much bears this format in mind. If mini-pupils have specific questions about the pupillage process or aspects of practice, we will endeavour to connect the mini with the individual who can best answer them.
Mini-pupils are allocated a specific mini-pupil supervisor on arrival in Chambers who “looks after” them and coordinates their mini-pupillage and we plan for this to be the case even under the remote scheme.
Mini-pupils will be asked to give feedback on their mini-pupillage and such feedback will be taken into account as we continue to develop the process.
We are intending to run a remote Pupillage/Mini-Pupillage Festival, with the opportunity to hear from and chat to members of chambers. We are working on plans for that.
We are now accepting applications for mini-pupillages during 2020-21: the window for applications is from 9am on Monday 16 November until midnight on Sunday 10 January. Mini-pupillages will be available from late 2020 until approximately mid-2021.
If you are a mini-pupillage candidate who is also applying in 2021 for pupillage with us then it would assist us if you have completed your mini-pupillage with us by 5 March 2021 (to allow for the assessment to be marked before any first round interviews). If, however, you are not intending to apply in 2021 for pupillage with us then we can offer you a mini-pupillage up until approximately the end of May 2021.
It would therefore help us if you could indicate on the 39 Essex Mini-Pupillage Application Form in the “Dates of Availability” whether or not your mini-pupillage should be undertaken with us before 5 March 2021.
Who is 39 Essex Chambers looking for as a mini-pupil?
39 Essex Chambers wishes to recruit the strongest candidates for pupillage, regardless of their background. We do not discriminate between those with law degrees and those with non-law degrees, and encourage applications from those who are coming to the Bar at a later stage in their careers.
We apply the same criteria when selecting mini-pupils, pupils and tenants, namely:
- Intellectual Ability.
- Expressive Ability, both written and oral, and including the ability persuasively to defend a position in argument.
- Interpersonal Skills with solicitors, lay clients, Chambers (both Barristers and staff) and other members of the Bar.
- Commitment, Drive and Efficiency, and the related skills necessary to become a barrister and to pursue a successful career at the Bar and to further the interests of Chambers.
- Interests in one or more areas of law in which Chambers specialises.
- Interests outside the law.
39 Essex Chambers strives to be an equal opportunities chambers and employer, and is committed to attracting diversity amongst its members, pupils, mini-pupils and staff. We actively seek to promote access to the profession and equal opportunities for those typically underrepresented at the Bar.
We therefore encourage and welcome applications from women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals, disabled people and those who are LGBTQ+, as well as candidates from other groups which are underrepresented in the legal sector. We are happy to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled candidates to demonstrate their suitability for the role.