We provide below answers to some of the most common questions we are asked by prospective applicants. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact the Secretary to the Pupillage Committee here. Information on the pupillage application process is set out here
Must I have done a mini-pupillage at One Essex Court?
One Essex Court does not offer commercial mini-pupillages. Instead, we run Open Days, which allow a wide-range of people to experience Chambers and our work, and we also participate in access schemes such as Bridging the Bar and a number of mentoring programmes.
Applications for Intellectual Property mini-pupillage are on hold: see here.
How many (other) mini-pupillages should I have?
There is no right number of mini-pupillages and no credit will be given for having done a vast number. However, it is sensible to do a few Open Days and/or mini-pupillages at a range of Chambers to obtain an understanding of the work of a barrister and a feel for different areas of law or Chambers.
Must I have a first-class degree?
A first-class degree is generally necessary. Intellectual excellence is our primary selection criterion and this is usually demonstrated by showing that you have or are on track to obtain a first. We generally receive applications from substantially more applicants with first-class degrees than we are able to interview.
Applicants with a 2.1 degree may be able to demonstrate intellectual excellence by having other outstanding academic results e.g. outstanding results in previous years at undergraduate level; a distinction on the PGDL or other outstanding post-graduate grades.
We will also take into account any extenuating circumstances provided.
Must I have a postgraduate degree?
No. Our selection criteria focus on intellectual excellence, not qualifications (and we are aware that the cost of undertaking a postgraduate degree can be prohibitive). Whether or not to do a postgraduate degree (and if so which one) is a personal choice. Many of our members have postgraduate degrees and many do not.
Will I be at a disadvantage if I didn’t go to Oxbridge?
No. Many of our members did not go to Oxbridge. One Essex Court is taking active steps to identify excellent candidates from non-Oxbridge universities through our Open Days and other schemes.
Will I be at a disadvantage if I went to university overseas?
No. Those assessing your application will endeavour to understand the UK-equivalence of your non-UK qualifications to allow your application to be assessed on an equal footing. For example, we have numerous members of Chambers who have experience of foreign educational systems who can assist with this. You can help by providing details of how your grades can be translated into their UK equivalents and/or your percentile ranking in your cohort.
Will I be at a disadvantage as a GDL/PGDL student?
No. We welcome applications from GDL/PGDL students and about half of our members did the GDL. One Essex Court is taking active steps to identify excellent candidates from the GDL/PGDL through our Open Days and other schemes.
Will I be at a disadvantage as someone with a non-traditional background?
No. There is no “typical” One Essex Court barrister and we are not looking for people who will fit into a particular mould. We are actively looking for excellent applicants from backgrounds that are not “traditional” for the Commercial Bar. Our present members come from a range of backgrounds: One Essex Court members come from across the UK and the world; many went to state schools; and a number were the first generation of their families to go to university.
What steps is One Essex Court taking to improve diversity within chambers?
We recognise that Chambers and the Commercial Bar as a whole does not represent our diverse society. We are taking steps to try to change this. For further details of what we are doing, please see here
Does One Essex Court offer deferred pupillage?
We advertise the start dates of the pupillages on offer each year. Pupillages will only be deferred past the advertised start dates in exceptional circumstances.
Does One Essex Court offer part-time pupillage?
We only offer part-time pupillage in exceptional circumstances e.g. where a pupil has parental or other care responsibilities, health issues or a disability. Please contact the Secretary to the Pupillage Committee if you wish to discuss this further.
Pupil supervisors will seek to accommodate requests for flexible working hours (e.g. due to childcare or other responsibilities or requirements) where possible.