One Essex Court offers up to five Commercial pupillages and one Intellectual Property pupillage each year. We typically receive 200-250 applications for pupillage each year.
Applications are assessed in accordance with Chambers’ selection criteria (see below). One of these criteria is intellectual excellence. This is usually demonstrated by having obtained (or expecting to obtain) a first-class degree, or equivalent. In practice, One Essex Court receives more applications from candidates with first-class degrees than it can accommodate for assessment. Accordingly, a first-class degree does not in itself guarantee an invitation to assessment.
One Essex Court is happy to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants for pupillage, in accordance with our Feedback Policy (which can be downloaded here).
One Essex Court participates in the “Pupillage Gateway” system. Through this online system, you may apply using a single application form to up to twenty sets of chambers or other pupillage providers.
Candidates who are exempt from "Pupillage Gateway" may apply by contacting the Secretary to the Pupillage
Committee, who will invite them to complete a form equivalent to that required by the Pupillage Gateway.
Each chambers may ask you to answer chambers-specific questions. One Essex Court asks several such questions, including one which asks you to write a mini-essay of up to 400 words. This is intended as an opportunity for you to demonstrate your skills in written argument.
Emma Jones gives some tips on application forms:
All applicants are assessed by reference to our selection criteria. The assessments are designed such that law and PGDL/GDL students can be assessed on an equal footing.
- Intellectual excellence: practitioners are required to absorb large quantities of complex factual information speedily, to identify relevant issues of fact and law, and to analyse complex legal arguments.
- Presentational ability: excellence in discussing and presenting complex and extensive issues of fact and law both on paper and orally with clarity, economy and persuasiveness.
- A knowledge of the law appropriate to the level of legal education and experience of the candidate.
- Practicality, maturity and common sense: practitioners are required to give practical advice, not engage in legal theory.
- Motivation: practitioners require high levels of drive and determination.
- Courage and independence of mind: practitioners may be required to tell clients and courts things they do not want to hear.
- A reasonably unflappable temperament: practitioners need to gain and retain the confidence of colleagues and of professional and lay clients.
- An ability to get on with other people.
- The applicant’s interest in practising at the commercial bar.
- Skills which might enhance the prospective barrister’s practice, such as scientific knowledge (for IP applicants), foreign languages, or evidence of particular numeracy.
Equal Opportunities and Reasonable Adjustments
Chambers is committed to affording equality of opportunity to all applicants and welcomes applicants of all backgrounds.
We are committed to avoiding bias in the recruitment process, whether that be conscious or unconscious. Unconscious bias training is offered to all members involved in the assessment process.
We are happy to make reasonable adjustments for applicants. If you are invited to interview, you will be asked whether you need us to make any reasonable adjustments and we will discuss with you how we can accommodate your needs.
In the past, for example, we have made adjustments for candidates with dyslexia (who may need more time to prepare) and with impaired sight (who may need the problem question in electronic format so that it can be read to them).
Disabled applicants who would like to discuss in advance reasonable adjustments to the application process, in confidence, are welcome to contact the Secretary to the Pupillage Committee here.