(4) Second Interview

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If you have made it this far, congratulations!  Every candidate who reaches our second interview stage is exceptionally talented.  We cannot offer everyone a pupillage, but we are sure that you will all go on to have successful careers at the Bar.

Coffee and chat

We want to ensure that all our second round interview candidates have had a chance to see a bit more of Chambers, understand a bit more about our work, and meet a few of us, before you come in for the second interview.  We therefore invite all our second round candidates to come in (all together) for a coffee and a chat a week or so before the interview itself.  The current pupils, members of chambers and the clerks who look after the most junior tenants will be available for you to talk to.

This is our opportunity to sell ourselves to you as the place you want to spend your time as a tenant.  It forms no part of our assessment process; it’s just to show you how welcome you are and how much fun our work is.

What does the Second Interview consist of?

The second interview will consist of:

  1. An advocacy exercise (5 minutes) in the form of a pre-prepared oral presentation on a non-legal topic of the candidates’ choice. The presentation will be at the start of the interview and is intended to encourage you to relax and to demonstrate your oral advocacy on a topic which interests you. Presentations are marked by reference to our Selection Criteria, not the subject matter. Please do choose a topic which interests you.  It could be something you are passionate about, or something which you just find fascinating.  It could be a hobby, something you read in the paper, or something you have studied. Previous topics have included (by way of example only) “how to corner a motorbike”, “doping in the Tour de France” and “talking orangutans”. No power point or other props are permitted other than speaking notes and auxiliary aids for the purpose of a disability.
  2. A 25 minute discussion in the format of a conference with instructing solicitors on the Opinion produced for the written case study (the interview panel will act as instructing solicitors). The discussion on the Opinion will follow the same sequence for all candidates. We will be interested in discussing with you the reasons for your opinion and the way in which you have applied the legal principles to the facts.

As for the first interview, a lead interviewer will be allocated for each candidate who will lead the interview.  Other members of the panel may still ask questions.

In the letter inviting you to second interview, you will get a fuller explanation of the procedure for the second interview and information about what to do on the day.  If we have to carry out the interviews virtually, you will be given full instructions on platform, etc.  We will also tell you the names of your panel.

You will be invited to contact a named member of the Pupillage Committee if you have a disability and require reasonable adjustments to be made.  We will also invite you to our coffee and chat event and give you the date for that.

Who is on the panel for the Second Interview?

The interview panel will normally comprise three members of chambers, with at least one KC and two members from the Pupillage Committee.  It will be gender balanced as far as possible.

The interview panel will also include an external specialist in diversity and inclusion (i.e. an individual who is not a member of chambers). The external specialist’s marks will not be taken into account in selecting for second interview. The role of the external specialist will be to check that the Interview Panel is applying the mark scheme correctly and fairly.

The interview panel for second interview will be Piers Stansfield KC, Brenna Conroy and Tom Owen.

What is the date for the Second Interview in the 2023 round?

The date of the Second Interview will be Saturday 27 April 2024.

How do you mark the Second Interview?

The Mark Scheme against each of the applicable Selection Criteria for the Second Interview, and some additional specific guidance, is available as a download here: Second Interview Mark Scheme. We reviewed this mark scheme for the 2023 application round and  made some small revisions including to the award of marks for oral advocacy.

The interview panel will mark candidates solely by reference to their performance in the second interview and will not have access to (either during the interview, in providing marks or selecting for the second interview) the candidate’s scores in previous rounds.  The panel will have the candidate’s Opinion from the case study round for the purpose of the conference.