Our Pupillage Assessment Process

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There is no need for any previous technical or construction experience or knowledge. Our aim is to recruit the most outstanding lawyers each year.

During the application process, a member of the Pupillage Committee will be available to deal with any queries. We make every effort to let candidates know promptly of the result of their application at each stage. We are committed to our Equal Opportunities policy. As part of this commitment, we believe that the assessment process should be as transparent as possible and have therefore set out our approach in detail below.

Selection for first interview

    • The paper sift. Candidates’ Pupillage Gateway applications are anonymised and dealt with by candidate number. Each application is independently assessed by at least three members of the Pupillage Committee, one of whom will be a QC and one of whom will be a woman.  The Selection Criteria are weighted for the purpose of the paper sift so that 5 marks are allocated to the Intellectual Ability criterion and 5 marks for all the remaining criteria.
    • The written case study. A minimum of the top 50 and a maximum of the top 55 candidates by reference to the average of the paper sift marks will be given the written case study. This will consist of a suitable short set of papers in a real or fictional case. The candidates will be required to produce an Opinion, which must be their own unaided work, limited to 1,500 – 2,000 words (depending on the exercise). The written case study is anonymised (candidate number only) and independently assessed by two members of the Pupillage Committee (not the members who assessed the paper sift). The written case study is assessed against the following aspects of the Selection Criteria:
      • Intellectual Ability, defined for these purposes as: “The ability rapidly to master complex and extensive information, to identify essentials, to produce pragmatic and practical solutions and to respond quickly to intellectual challenge”: 15 marks.
      • Correctness of advice: 2 marks.
      • Impact (on paper) defined for these purposes as: “Articulate, confident, and perceptive”: 3 marks.

Selection for first interview is on the basis of the combined average marks from the paper sift and the written case study, weighted so that the paper sift is worth 30 marks and the case study is worth 20 marks. A minimum of the top 25 candidates and a maximum of the top 30 candidates will be offered a first interview. Applicants previously interviewed and rejected will not be re-interviewed unless there is a material change in their application.

First interview

The first interview consists of structured questions (from a pre-agreed standardised list directed at each of the Selection Criteria) and questions arising out of the candidate’s Pupillage Gateway application form (approximately 10 minutes) and an advocacy exercise (approximately 7.5 minutes per candidate). We have to keep strictly to time so you will be stopped if you are overrunning.

The first interviews will take place in March 2017.

The interview panel will consist of at least 3 members of the Pupillage Committee and usually 5 members. At least one member of the panel will be a QC and at least one will be a woman. Candidates’ performance is assessed against the Selection Criteria and each criterion is allocated 5 marks.

Selection for the second interview is on the basis of the total of the first interview panel’s marks for each candidate. A minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14 candidates will be offered a second interview.

Drinks and introduction to Chambers

Second round interview candidates will be invited to come for drinks in Chambers to provide a more informal opportunity of getting to know Chambers and to discuss Chambers practice areas. The current pupils, junior members of chambers and the clerk who looks after the junior end will be available to chat. These drinks do not form any part of the assessment process.

Second interview

The second interview consists of a 5 minute pre-prepared presentation on a non-legal topic of the candidate’s choice; a 10-minute discussion in the format of a conference with instructing solicitors on the Opinion produced pursuant to the written case study and 15 minutes of structured questions (from a pre-agreed standardised list directed at each of the Selection Criteria) and questions arising out of the candidate’s Pupillage Gateway application form, and/or an ethical question.

The second interviews usually take place March/April 2017.

The interview panel will consist of at least 3 members of the Pupillage Committee and usually 5 members. At least one member of the panel will be a QC and at least one will be a woman. Candidates’ performance is assessed against the Selection Criteria and each criterion is allocated 5 marks.

Selection for pupillage

Selection for pupillage is on the basis of the total of the second interview panel’s marks for each candidate expressed as a total percentage.   Each of the top three candidates on the basis of the total marks will be offered a pupillage subject to satisfying all of the Selection Criteria, which will in most cases require each candidate to achieve a minimum mark of 85%. If the 4th and 5th place candidates have achieved a minimum of 85%, they may be offered a pupillage if one or more of the top 3 refuses the offer.

The formal offer of pupillage will be made in accordance the Pupillage Gateway’s timetable.