'At Serle Court we regard the recruitment and training of able pupils as vital to maintaining our position as a leading chancery commercial set.'
Philip Jones QC, Pupillage Committee Chair
We believe that a pupillage at Serle Court provides the best possible foundation for commercial and chancery practice: 12 months spent working with leaders in the field on cases across the spectrum of business law, in a warm and supportive environment, with a real prospect of tenancy.
How pupillage works
Each pupil is assigned to 4 supervisors, each with a different area of practice, in the course of the year. Pupils spend the whole of the 12 month period of pupillage shadowing members of chambers, rather than taking on work in their own name, to ensure they are as well qualified for starting in practice as soon as possible. Although pupils do not get an opportunity to practise advocacy in court, we ensure that advocacy exercises, conducted in front of a senior member of chambers, and other assessments designed to improve practical skills, take place. Supervisors provide frequent feedback and monitor their pupils’ progress to ensure that the work they are given fulfils their training needs.
We strive to make pupils feel a part of chambers from the time that they accept their offers of pupillage. They are invited to chambers events, both formal and informal, and encouraged to get to know both members and staff.
We recruit up to 3 pupils a year with a view to offering tenancy if they are good enough. 16 of our last 19 pupils have stayed on as tenants; of the others, those that wish to practice at the Bar are successful tenants elsewhere.
What we look for
We look for potential: we invite applications from those committed to a career in commercial or chancery practice with outstanding intellectual and analytical ability, sound judgment, excellent oral and written communication skills, the potential to become excellent advocates and a capacity to establish and maintain good relationships with solicitors, clients and the judiciary. We generally require a degree classification of a good 2:1 as a minimum.
We encourage (but do not require) those interested in applying for pupillage with us to apply for a one day mini-pupillage so that they can see what chambers is like for themselves. Mini-pupillages are not assessed and so those unable to spend a mini-pupillage with us are at no disadvantage in applying for pupillage. More details about mini-pupillages, including the application form, can be found here.
The selection process
Full details of the selection process are set out in our Pupillage Policy.
Application forms are considered anonymously in the first instance. Approximately 30 candidates will then be invited to a first interview conducted by a panel of three members of Chambers. This interview usually lasts around 15 minutes.
Of the candidates interviewed in the first round, around 10 candidates will be invited to a second interview. The second interview is also conducted by a panel of three members of Chambers. This interview takes the form of a mock client conference. Candidates will be given 40 minutes to consider a short problem question and prepare to deliver advice in conference to members of chambers playing the role of clients/solicitors. The interview itself will last around 30 minutes.
Timetable for applications for pupillage commencing in October 2020
Serle Court has now joined the online pupillage application scheme, the Pupillage Gateway. Applications must be made via the Pupillage Gateway.
Interviews will take place in accordance with the Gateway's timetable.
Our pupillage offer
The pupillage award for those commencing pupillage in 2020 will be £65,000, £22,000 of which may be drawn down in the BPTC year. New tenants pay no rent in their first year of practice and no chambers expenses until their earnings exceed £50,000 per annum. They also have the benefit of an income guarantee of £120,000 over the first two years of practice to assist with cash flow.
Equality and Diversity
Our recruitment process and the remuneration package we offer are intended to ensure that we attract the best pupils in each year. We welcome applications from non-law graduates and our application form and interviews are intended to ensure that neither they, nor women, those from ethnic minorities, disabled persons or those underrepresented in the legal sector are disadvantaged. We are wholeheartedly committed to the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Code.
Please click here to view or download a copy of our Pupillage Policy.