Graduate scheme

Greater London

Pupillage applications open on Wednesday 5 January 2022 at 11am until Wednesday 9 February 2022 at 2pm.

We look to offer up to four 12-month pupillages each year to pupils with high intellectual ability, good communication skills and an interest in Commercial Chancery work, who are mature and confident, have the ability to work with others and who can analyse legal problems well, demonstrating good practical and commercial sense. We have a minimum requirement of a 2:1 degree in law or another subject.

We are committed to promoting and achieving equality and diversity in Chambers, so we want to receive applications from anyone who has the qualities and skills we are looking for, no matter what university they have attended, no matter what age, race, gender or sexual orientation. We have joined the online pupillage application scheme, the Pupillage Gateway, as we consider the process to be beneficial to pupillage candidates and we believe it will help to improve diversity.

We offer up to four pupillages with a view to taking on pupils as tenants at the end of their time with us, so we take great care in our selection process to identify candidates who have real potential to join Chambers at the end of their pupillage. Importantly, our pupils are not in competition with one another for a tenancy but are assessed solely on their own abilities and performance. We assess pupils for their suitability as tenants throughout their time in Chambers by means of a process of continual assessment, rather than by a separate, formal assessment procedure at the end of pupillage.

We pay for our pupils to attend the compulsory courses which they are required by the Bar Council to undertake.

What can I expect from a pupillage at Wilberforce?

  • a well-structured pupillage
  • to sit with at least five different pupil supervisors during their 12 months with us
  • to share the daily professional life of their pupil supervisor
  • to produce pleadings and opinions in their pupil supervisor’s cases
  • to attend conferences with their pupil supervisor, the solicitor and the lay client
  • to attend Court with their pupil supervisor and other members of Chambers
  • to receive regular feedback on their work from their pupil supervisor
  • to have their work-load monitored by their pupil supervisor
  • to have an opportunity to work with a variety of junior tenants and silks
  • to get to know our clerks and begin to learn what skills and approaches will assist in building a successful practice
  • to have an opportunity to contribute to life in Chambers

We regard the recruitment of exceptional pupils and junior tenants as crucial to our continuing success: for every pupillage we offer, there is a tenancy available.

We aim to reach a decision about tenancy after approximately 9-10 months of pupillage. All pupils, whether or not they are offered a tenancy, are entitled to remain with us for the remainder of their pupillage on a full pupillage award. We make every effort to assist those who are not offered tenancy to find pupillage and eventually tenancy elsewhere. Any money earned by pupils during their second 6 months will be in addition to the pupillage award and expense-free.

What is the application/selection process?

Applications for pupillage must be made through the Pupillage Gateway, the online pupillage application scheme, except where an applicant is exempt under the applicable rules.

Following consideration of your pupillage application Chambers may invite you to attend a long-list interview. This will be an interview with two members of Chambers involving discussion of a problem question. You may then be asked back for a short-list interview which includes a more in-depth examination and analysis of a legal problem with up to four members of Chambers.

We have a strong record of recruiting from GDL students – we take care to ensure that our interview process does not disadvantage those who have only recently commenced
their legal studies.

What award is offered?

We offer a generous pupillage award. This is reviewed annually and is intended to be in line with the highest awards available. The award for a 12-month pupillage commencing at the end of September/early October 2023 will be £75,000 and will be paid monthly. A proportion of the pupillage award (currently up to £30,000) can be drawn down during the BPTC year.

When are the interviews?

  • Deadline for chambers to submit adverts for pupillage on the Gateway; applicants may log in to browse vacancies: November 2021
  • Gateway submissions window opens; applicants may start, edit and submit their applications: January 2022
  • Submissions window closes; no further applications or amendments to applications will be allowed: February 2022
  • Notification of interviews: February 2022
  • Long-list interviews: March 2022
  • Short-list interviews: March 2022
  • Offers of pupillage made through the Gateway: May 2022

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