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A leading set specialising in commercial, construction, insurance and property law

Pupillage

We don’t just say that we are modern, forward-looking and progressive; we really are. We challenge ourselves to apply that same forward-looking approach to pupillage at Hardwicke and we are looking for bright, ambitious, like-minded people to join us.

A pupillage at Hardwicke will give you the support and training you need to succeed at the Bar and will also give you insight into practice at one of London’s leading sets. In these pages, we try to tell you all you need to know about pupillage at Hardwicke, from your application to what you can expect as a Hardwicke pupil.

Vacancies

If you would like to apply for pupillage with us, please note that we do not accept applications through the Pupillage Gateway. For details of our application process and to download our application form, please go to How to Apply in the Pupillage Q & A below.

As part of our on-going commitment to the pupillage process, we are updating our policy documents to reflect the current best practice. As soon as that review is complete, they will be available for you to download here.

Pupillage Q & A

Below are some questions and answers on pupillage at Hardwicke - click the headings to see our answers.

  • Why choose Hardwicke for pupillage?

    Our reputation in the market

    We are an ambitious, innovative and successful set with a reputation for quality, and we are one of The Lawyer’s Top 30 chambers. We are specialists in a wide range of work and our members have over 85 entries as leaders in their fields in the legal directories. We are particularly well known for our commercial, construction, insurance, personal injury, professional liability, property and social housing work.

    Exposure to high profile and challenging work

    As a pupil here you will be exposed to challenging work and you will develop the skills needed to approach your cases both pragmatically and commercially. We will provide you with the support and training that you need so that by the time you are in your second six you are ready and eager to get into court.

    During your second six you can expect to find yourself in court at least once or twice a week. We will provide you with in-house advocacy training, supervised by our barristers, many of whom are Inns advocacy trainers and part-time judges. We also encourage work with the Free Representation Unit (FRU) when time allows. No matter how prepared you are for your first time in court, it is always a nerve-racking experience! We understand this, and pupil supervisors and other members of chambers are on hand to assist with any last-minute queries and advice.

    We understand that you may not have decided the areas of law in which you wish to specialise. Our size and the quality of our work across our core practice areas means that we can offer you the opportunity to gain experience in a range of areas during your pupillage. In fact, even if you have a firm idea about what interests you, we encourage you to experience different areas of work. Practice at the Bar is very different from study, and you may discover a hidden passion for an area of work you are not expecting!

    Team spirit

    From day one, we aim to make you feel like part of the team and you are encouraged to participate in chambers' life. We have a friendly and inclusive approach, as well as an open door policy. Members of chambers are always discussing legal issues and sharing views with one another, and there is always someone available and happy to mull over any difficult issues with you.

    We are also committed to operating in a highly professional manner. We work hard to maintain high standards within chambers and in the way we deal with our staff. As a result, we have received Silver accreditation by Investors in People. It goes without saying that we believe in equal opportunities.

  • What we are looking for

    When assessing a candidate for pupillage, we are looking for real potential for that candidate to join us as a member of Hardwicke.

    We are looking for candidates of the highest calibre who will go on to become successful barristers. Academic achievement forms a significant part of our considerations, but is not the only criterion. We assess applicants by looking at three core skill sets that we think are essential in a good barrister: legal, interpersonal and business/client care skills. When we are selecting pupils, we are looking for applicants who show the potential to excel in all of these areas.

    Legal skills

    • Ability to analyse and explain complex cases
    • Ability to manage work load effectively
    • First class legal and advocacy skills
    • Good drafting skills
    • Integrity including a grasp of ethics and Code of Conduct

    Interpersonal skills

    • Good communication
    • A friendly, modern, energetic team player
    • Ability to work well with colleagues and staff

    Business and client care skills

    • Ability to relate to lay and professional clients
    • Ability to attract and retain work
    • Ambition to build a successful practice and business
    • Understanding the need to work in a team with the solicitor and lay client
  • What we are offering

    We offer up to two twelve-month pupillages commencing in October each year.

    Pupillage award

    For pupillages commencing in October 2017, we are offering £55,000. The pupillage award comprises an award and guaranteed earnings. The split between the two components varies from year to year. For pupillages commencing in October 2017, the split is likely to be £40,000 award and £15,000 guaranteed earnings.

    The award is payable monthly during the first six months of pupillage. Guaranteed earnings are paid monthly during the second six months of pupillage.

    The guaranteed earnings scheme makes sure that you receive a baseline sum every month in your second six, even if you have not been paid for your work in that month. At the moment the guaranteed earnings level is £10,000 in your second six, which works out as just over £1,600 per month. The scheme operates as a “top-up”, so if your receipts are less than the guaranteed earnings level in a month then chambers will top them up to that level. We usually expect our pupils to exceed the guaranteed earnings level in their second six, but we keep the system in place because we understand that cash-flow is a serious issue for pupils and junior practitioners.

    We pay for pupils to undertake the forensic accountancy course and the Inns' advocacy training courses.

    Draw-down

    Pupils have the opportunity to draw down part of their pupillage award in the year before pupillage if they wish, in order to assist during the BPTC or with other educational or voluntary activities. Pupils joining us in October 2017 will be able to draw down up to £10,000.

    Junior tenants’ guaranteed income loan scheme

    We have a guaranteed income loan scheme for first and second year tenants. The levels are set at £40,000 for first year tenants and £50,000 for second year tenants, payable monthly. The levels are reviewable.

    Our junior tenants are able to plan and budget, safe in the knowledge that they have a guaranteed monthly income. The scheme operates as a safety net, in case receipts fall below the guaranteed amount in any given month, which can sometimes happen in the early days of practice. Once receipts exceed the guaranteed income level, junior tenants pay back any top-up that we have provided (no interest is payable).

  • Structure of pupillage

    Pupillage at Hardwicke is split into three periods of four months. During each period you will be assigned to a Pupil Supervisor and also two “wingers”, members of chambers for whom you are expected to do a set number of pieces of work.

    Pupil Supervisors and wingers are selected by the Pupillage Committee, who will take your views into account about the different areas of practice that you are interested in. We encourage you to see a broad range of work and you will have the opportunity to work for other members of chambers during the year.

    Feedback and training

    Feedback is a continual process in our system and you will receive feedback from your Supervisors, wingers and other members. In addition, we arrange a formal feedback session at the end of each four-month period so that we can review your progress and make sure that you have the support you need.

    Your first six will be spent with your first two Pupil Supervisors, assisting them with their paperwork and accompanying them to court and conferences. Where possible, you will be placed in your Pupil Supervisors' room so that you are immersed in their practice from the start.

    Training is a core part of our process; throughout your first six we run a series of advocacy exercises; junior members of chambers also give training sessions about the kind of work you may find yourself doing in the second six.

    Your second six will be split between your own work and working for your Pupil Supervisors and wingers. It is a challenging but rewarding period and you can expect to be in court regularly; at least once or twice a week and sometimes more. All of our members understand that this can be a stressful period and there is always someone on-hand to help you and deal with those last-minute questions.

    Key milestones

    Before you start pupillage we will invite you into chambers for an informal evening so we can give you a tour of the building, get to know each other and introduce you to your Pupil Supervisor.

    When you start, you will be welcomed and introduced to members of chambers' staff. You will have a building induction and our IT staff will help you to set up your computer. Your first Pupil Supervisor will also talk you through what is expected of you, so don't worry!

    During your first four months you will settle in with your Pupil Supervisor and get used to being a pupil. We will also start your internal advocacy training towards the end of your first four months.

    During your second four months, having had your first formal feedback meeting, you will move to your second Supervisor and we will step up your advocacy training. There are a number of sessions to cover before you are on your feet.

    During your second six you will be balancing your own court work with work for your Pupil Supervisors and wingers. Assessments and feedback will continue as before.

    In July we aim to make decisions as to tenancy by mid-July of your pupillage year.

    If it doesn’t work out, we will do all we can to help you find a third six or a position elsewhere. We have an excellent track record of helping our pupils to go on to become tenants in other sets of chambers or to become solicitors in top firms.

  • How to apply

    There are three stages to our selection process:

    1. Application

    Applications are now closed in accordance with the Pupillage Gateway timetable. All applicants will be contacted by close of business on Monday, 13 March.

    2. First round interviews

    First round interviews usually last about 30 minutes and should take place on weekday evenings during the last two weeks of March. Interviews take place before a panel of three or more members of chambers. Applicants are asked to arrive a short time before their interview slot so that they can consider some questions which will form part of their interview. We usually invite no more than 12 candidates for second round interviews.

    3. Second round interviews

    Second round interviews tend to last no more than 45 minutes and the interview panel will consist of up to seven members of the Pupillage Committee. These interviews are likely to be held during weekday working hours in the second week of April. As with the first interview, applicants will be asked to arrive early so that they can be given some questions. Additionally when we invite candidates to a second round interview, we will send a question in advance so that applicants can prepare answers before the interview.

  • What you can expect as a pupil

    We recognise that pupillage is a challenging period and it can be difficult to know what to expect, particularly as this can vary significantly between sets.

    We believe that the best way to provide our pupils with the skills required throughout pupillage and in future practice is to immerse them in all aspects of the job as soon as possible. Consequently, during your first six months you will share the daily professional life of your Pupil Supervisor: listening in to their telephone calls where appropriate, discussing cases and strategy, attending conferences and court, and producing pleadings, opinions and other necessary documents. You will also have to manage your time efficiently to produce the required work for your wingers. During your second six months your time will be split between your own work and working for your supervisors and wingers.

    Pupillage can be a stressful process and your current pupil supervisor has primary responsibility for ensuring you receive the support, advice and guidance you need. In addition, the members of the pupillage committee will always be there to support you, and we also have a nominated member who is able to discuss confidentially matters of a pastoral or personal nature if required.

    To help you understand what to expect at Hardwicke, take a look at our pupils’ and pupil supervisors’ views:

    The Pupils’ views
    The Supervisors’ views