Twelve Month Pupillage
Francis Taylor Building is a thriving and successful set of Chambers with a growing membership and an active recruitment policy.
Pupillage at Francis Taylor Building is a challenging and rewarding process. Its purpose is to provide a period of intensive training to equip pupils for a successful practice at the bar, and to provide Chambers with new tenants of the highest calibre.
Our pupils represent the future of Chambers, and we invest a great deal of time and resources to ensure that the training we provide is of an excellent quality, that pupils are made to feel welcome, and that they are treated fairly and equally throughout their time in Chambers.
Each year we seek to recruit two exceptionally able individuals to undertake a 12 month pupillage in Chambers. Competition for places is fierce, but the rewards for those selected are substantial.
Pupils at Francis Taylor Building are provided with first class, structured training in all aspects of practice at the Bar from some of the leading practitioners in their fields, together with an award of not less than £75,000 (including £15,000 guaranteed earnings and an option to draw-down up to £25,000 in the year before commencement of pupillage) and the opportunity to apply for tenancy in Chambers at the end of their pupillage. Chambers provides funding for training courses that pupils are required to undertake during pupillage. Pupils are generally expected to bear their own personal expenses during pupillage.
Since 2012 we have recruited 15 junior tenants from amongst our pupils. Each pupil is considered on their own merits and by reference to an assessment of the availability of work and accommodation within Chambers. Chambers’ experience is that within the first few years of tenancy, new tenants can expect to earn considerably more than the pupillage award on a yearly basis.
We are committed to equality of opportunity, and encourage applications from groups which are currently under-represented in Chambers: Access to the Bar, Equal Opportunities and Well Being.
Pupils will work alongside their pupil supervisors and experience all aspects of their professional lives. The 12 month period is divided equally between three different pupil supervisors.
Our training programme is designed to ensure pupils develop the competencies set out in the BSB Professional Statement, Threshold Standard and Competencies.
Pupils can expect to read their pupil supervisor’s instructions and papers, research relevant law, attempt their own draft pleadings and opinions for discussion, and accompany their pupil supervisor to court hearings and conferences.
After the completion of the first four months of pupillage, pupils are also expected to undertake written work for other members of Chambers as well as their pupil supervisor.
In their second six months, pupils are also able and expected to accept instructions to undertake work of their own.
In recent years our second-six pupils have been briefed to appear in a variety of courts and tribunals, including the High Court, Magistrates’ Court, County Court, public inquiries and various administrative tribunals.
Members of Chambers also provide a series of introductory seminars for our pupils during their first six months to familiarise the new pupils with the main areas of Chambers practice and the issues of law and practice that most commonly arise.
We also organise a number of formal advocacy and written exercises for our pupils during the course of the year, including training in the cross examination of expert witnesses (usually in partnership with expert witnesses from various external planning consultancies), and in the particular requirements of advocacy in the Administrative Court.
We look to recruit ambitious and able candidates with at least an upper second class degree (not necessarily in law).
The selection process has three main stages. At the first stage, all candidates are considered by a minimum of three members on their paper applications to identify those who should be invited for interview. We select candidates for first-round interview based on four main criteria:
- academic achievement and intellectual ability,
- advocacy experience and achievement,
- suitability for and interest in our work, and
- non-legal work, interests and life experience.
A copy of the sub-criteria used to guide the assessment of candidates against each criterion at the first stage is available here.
Those invited for the first-round of interviews are provided with a written problem question to consider. Candidates are then assessed against the following criteria, based on their performance in the interview:
- intellectual ability,
- articulacy and cogency,
- performance of the exercise, and
- suitability for and interest in our work.
Following the first-round interview, shortlisted candidates are invited to take part in a second interview. This also involves a written problem question, and further assessment against the same criteria based on performance in the second interview.
A decision is then taken as to which candidates should be offered a pupillage in Chambers.
Pupils are assessed throughout their time in Chambers and written reports are provided by each pupil supervisor for consideration by the Pupillage and Tenancy Committee.
These reports are discussed with the pupil as they are completed.
Factors relevant to the selection of individual new tenants will include:
- Intellectual ability
- Articulacy and cogency both oral and in writing
- Skill in personal relations particularly with future clients
- Overall performance during pupillage
Francis Taylor Building will accept applications for pupillage through the Pupillage Gateway for pupillage commencing in 2024.
Chambers operates an equal opportunities policy and is committed to promoting and advancing diversity and equality. We do not discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, political persuasion, disability, age or religion.
We fully endorse the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Code.
Chambers is pleased to be involved in initiatives aimed at increasing diversity. It participates in the Pegasus Access Scheme, and the Middle Temple outreach programme which are work experience programmes administered by the Inner and Middle Temple that aim to support those from diverse backgrounds considering a career at the Bar. In particular, Chambers has a partnership with the Sutton Trust, a well known and respected charity dedicated to championing social mobility through programmes, research and policy influence, where we work with 16-18 year olds from less advantaged backgrounds on their Pathways to Law programme. The aim of our involvement in this programme is to encourage participating students to give serious consideration to the Bar as a career option. Chambers is also a founding member of Bridging the Bar, a newly created charity dedicated to facilitating equality and diversity amongst applicants for the Bar.
Chambers makes reasonable adjustments for disabled candidates and encourages applications from groups which are underrepresented at the Bar.
Members of chambers completed undergraduate degrees at a wide variety of academic institutions in the UK and beyond. The list is available here.
"The clerks at Francis Taylor Building are absolutely superb and very quick to get back to you." "The team is very agile and very commercial in terms of their approach and you can discuss things based on client needs."Chambers and Partners, 2022
"Paul Coveney, senior clerk, is streets ahead of other clerks; he understands the work and is strategic in his thinking. The clerking is excellent."Chambers and Partners, 2022