Pupillage FAQs

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How many pupillage places are available each year and how much is your pupillage award?

We offer up to three 12 month pupillages with an award of £70,000. Of this, an advance of £21,000 is available in respect of BPTC fees (incurred or to be incurred).

How do I apply for pupillage?

Keating Chambers participates in the “Pupillage Gateway” system.

How far in advance of starting pupillage should I apply?

Pupillages start in October.  Apply via the Pupillage Gateway in the January/ February of the year prior to the year in which you wish to commence pupillage (e.g. for pupillage in October 2022, apply in early 2021).  This year’s Pupillage Gateway opens at 11:00am on Monday 4 January 2021, and closes at 11:00am on Monday 8 February 2021

What are your selection criteria?

Further details of our selection criteria can be found here.

Please note, there is no need for any previous technical or construction experience or knowledge. Our aim is to recruit the most outstanding lawyers each year. Save in exceptional cases, we expect applicants to have an upper second or first class degree, whether in law or not.

What is your pupillage selection process?

Our selection process (from paper sift and selection for first interview, to selection for pupillage) is outlined in detail here.

How many candidates are interviewed for pupillage?

As detailed in our selection process, we invite between 25 and 30 candidates to the first round interviews and between 10 and 14 to the second round interviews.

Are students without a law degree at a disadvantage?

No.  We welcome applications from candidates who are studying for or who have completed a GDL.  A significant number of our current members undertook a non-law degree at undergraduate level. In fact, a number also had a different career entirely before coming to the Bar (e.g. in engineering, strategy consultancy and advertising).

Do I need to know about construction law to apply to Keating?

As above, there is no requirement for you to have existing knowledge of construction law. The disputes we are instructed on typically involve complex issues in the law of contract, tort and restitution, so a sound understanding of those principles is essential.

What is the structure of your Pupillages?

Pupils are allocated four supervisors in the course of their 12 month pupillage. This ensures that each pupil sees a variety of work of differing levels of complexity within Chambers and broadens their exposure to different working styles. Additional detail on the formal structure of our pupillages can be found here, and personal written and video accounts are found on our Year in Pupillage page.

Are pupils involved in the social aspects of Chambers?

Our aim is for pupils to become fully integrated into life at Chambers from the outset and they are therefore invariably involved in Chambers’ social and marketing events. We have a Chambers netball team that plays in a local league every fortnight and a social football team. Both teams compete in friendly matches with clients on occasion. We also regularly enter a Chambers Band at LawRocks! and participate in other charitable events/competitions. Further information can be found on our CSR page.

How are your Pupillages operating during lockdown?

During lockdown our pupillages are still running as usual with some small changes. Firstly, if pupils wish to work from Chambers, they are permitted to do so but this is entirely a matter of personal choice and any preference to work from home has been and will be fully accommodated. Second, in order to provide continued support for pupils, they have been given a secondary supervisor to ensure that there is always somebody in Chambers to support them. Pupils are encouraged to attend our fortnightly virtual “Friday drinks” to get to know others in Chambers.

Is mini-pupillage at Keating Chambers necessary before applying for pupillage?

No – mini-pupillage is not a precondition of applying to Keating Chambers. However, it is a very good way to familiarise yourself with us and our work, so we encourage applications. Further details can be found here.

Are you still running mini-pupillages during lockdown?

Yes. We have set up a programme of one-day virtual mini-pupillages. These take place in groups and the format of these is detailed here.

What are my prospects of tenancy at Keating Chambers?

A candidate will only be offered pupillage if we consider that they have real potential to be a tenant at Keating. Our retention rate of pupils to tenants is high (we have offered tenancy to 5 pupils in the last two years). However, should you be unsuccessful, we will assist our pupils (as far as possible) in making other applications for tenancy or pupillage, or in choosing alternative career paths.

What is life like as a junior tenant?

Life as a junior tenant is busy and varied. In the early years our tenants can expect to run their own cases both in the County Court and in the High Court. They will also be working with more senior members of Chambers as junior barristers in higher value disputes. We place great emphasis on advocacy skills and seek to ensure our juniors are in court as much as possible.

We are a friendly and sociable Chambers. You can expect a lively social life and a great deal of Chambers camaraderie. All members of Chambers will be very willing to assist with advice and discussion of your cases.

In their first years of practice, tenants can expect earnings equivalent to those in other top sets of commercial chambers.

What sort of cases are your barristers instructed on?

Construction, technology and associated professional negligence disputes often relate to high-value and high-profile projects in the UK and overseas. We are involved in disputes of all shapes and sizes: from residential building works to multi-million pound projects for the construction of airports, dams, power stations, ships, oil rigs and bridges. Members of Chambers have also been instructed on well-known projects such as the Olympic venues, Wembley Stadium, the Pinnacle, the Shard, the Gherkin, the Millennium Bridge, the London Eye and the Channel Tunnel.

Are there opportunities to work abroad?

Yes – many of our members specialise in international arbitration and this involves hearings and projects based outside of the UK but particularly in the Middle East, Far East, Africa and the Caribbean. We have been instructed on projects such the Dubai metro, airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and the Philippines, the Tsing Ma suspension bridge in Hong Kong, the Shinkansen high speed train network and cases involving mines, ships, rigs, oil wells and various types of plant (biofuel, gas turbine, nuclear etc) across the world. See James Frampton’s account of his first year in tenancy for further information: James Frampton Brief Encounters