Why Coram Chambers?
At Coram, we are very proud of our pupillage system. Over the past few years, our juniors have won the Family Law Awards: Young Barrister of the Year (2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021), Junior Barrister of the Year (2017, 2018 and 2020) and Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year (2016 and 2017). In 2019 we won Family Law Chambers of the Year: London. To us, pupillage is vitally important, not only for our pupils and for chambers, but also in supporting the future of the Bar as a whole.
Our pupils receive practical and theoretical training at the highest level and of the highest quality. Our training is provided by members of chambers at all levels of seniority. We have designed an informal advocacy and written assessment scheme to take place throughout the year, preparing pupils before they ‘get on their feet’
We have a mentoring scheme which ensures that legal, practical and pastoral issues or concerns can be raised and addressed appropriately. We will always ensure that our pupils are supported, and the ethos of chambers as an approachable and friendly set ensures that this is a reality.
Pupils have three supervisors throughout the year and will experience the whole range of work undertaken in chambers. This ensures that pupils gain valuable knowledge and experience of leading cases, high-profile and sensitive work, with complicated legal and factual issues. These cases are often at the very forefront of legal developments. In 2020 and 2021, members have been briefed in leading cases in the Court of Appeal, UK Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.
Members of chambers frequently give lectures and write both articles and books. Pupils are encouraged and supported to participate and to undertake speaking or writing commitments of their own, guided by members of chambers who are leading authors of many of the best-known books in family law. Pupils and junior members are also encouraged to get involved more broadly in the functioning of the family justice system: we hold, amongst other, the roles of secretary to the President’s working groups on transparency, public children law, supervision orders and adoption. In short, even our junior barristers are involved in shaping law and policy for all.
Curious to know what life is like for a Coram Chambers pupil? Please read Srishti Suresh and Sam Watts’ recent blogs on “A week in the life of a Coram pupil.”
We also have produced a video, with some members of chambers talking about the work and life at Coram, which you can view here.
Pupillages Offered and the Pupillage Award
Each year, we offer two fully funded 12-month specialist family law pupillages with a first-six award of £33,000 that can be taken tax free. In addition, we guarantee pupils’ second-six earnings of £10,000. Pupils are entitled to retain any receipts above this. On commencing tenancy in chambers, your earnings are likely to increase significantly and quickly (on recent average: upwards of £100,000 within the first 2-3 years of tenancy).
The Application Process
We are not part of the Pupillage Gateway, but we follow the Pupillage Gateway timetable, available here.
At all stages of the process we shall make reasonable adjustments for any candidate who requires them.
The Written Application
The deadline for applications for a pupillage commencing in October 2023 has passed, in accordance with the Pupillage Gateway timetable. The applications received by 9th February 2022 have been anonymised and marked twice, by two members of chambers of different seniority and practices. Where required, forms have been third marked.
The criteria that we look for are: academic achievement, intellectual aptitude, work experience including an understanding of how such experience equips candidates with the skills necessary for life at the Bar, reasons given for applying to chambers and the answers given to a short essay question. Each answer or box on the form attracts a set number of marks.
Save for in exceptional circumstances, candidates who did not obtain at least a 2:1 at undergraduate level will not be considered.
The top (approximately) 14 candidates have now been invited to interview.
The interview structure is the same for every candidate.
The first will likely take place via Zoom. It will be a short interview. You will be interviewed by three or four members of chambers of different seniority and practices. We will ask you a warm-up question that is not assessed, before asking you a number of formal, assessed questions. Each question is likely to have follow-up questions that may be challenging.
The second is a lengthier interview, lasting approximately 25 minutes, which will, if possible, be held in person. You are asked to arrive a little in advance and are given some legal documents to look at. You will be interviewed by five members of chambers of different seniority and practices. During the interview we will ask you a warm-up question that is not assessed, before asking you a number of formal, assessed questions. Each question is likely to have follow-up questions that may be challenging.
The two successful candidates will be notified in accordance with the Pupillage Gateway timetable.
If you have any other questions about pupillage or about life at Coram Chambers please get in touch by emailing our Administrator, Ginny Wilson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.