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 with the skills and qualities which are necessary 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 twelve-month pupillage in Chambers. Competition for places is fierce, but the rewards for those selected are substantial. Since 2012 we have recruited 11 junior tenants from amongst our pupils.
Pupils at Francis Taylor Building are provided with a 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 £65,000 (including £10,000 guaranteed earnings). We understand the financial pressures that many would-be barristers face; and as such, provide an option to draw-down up to £25,000 in the year before commencement of pupillage. Each pupil has the opportunity to apply for tenancy in Chambers at the end of their pupillage.
We are committed to equality of opportunity, and encourage applications from groups which are currently under-represented in Chambers.
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.
The twelve–month period is divided equally between three different pupil supervisors. Pupils will work alongside their pupil supervisor and experience all aspects of their professional lives.
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 and other 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, 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 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.
Pupils are given regular written and oral feedback on their performance throughout pupillage.
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.
Decisions on whether to offer our pupils tenancies are made towards the end of the pupillage period. Factors relevant to the selection of individual new tenants include:
- Intellectual ability
- Articulacy and cogency, both oral and in writing
- Skill in personal relations, particularly with future clients
- Overall performance during pupillage
Applications for pupillages for the year 2021/2022 closed on 31 January 2020 and offers of two pupillages have been made and accepted.
Members of Chambers completed undergraduate degrees at a wide variety of academic institutions in the UK and beyond. The list is available here.
Read Chambers' profile in Chambers Student Guide 2020.
Nominated as Best Chambers for Work Life Balance Legal Cheek Awards 2020.