Furnival Chambers are recruiting up to 2 x 12 month pupils, joining 2 selected during the 2016 process, to begin their training with us in the autumn of 2017. All candidates must apply through the Chambers’ selection procedure.

It is Chambers’ intention to ensure that the opportunity to undertake pupillage is open to all upon merit and ability. We have developed a system of selection over many years which we believe is open and fair. We are looking for candidates with proven academic ability, excellent communication and advocacy skills, tenacity and who can demonstrate the ability to use initiative.

The 12-month pupillages are terminable at the end of the 1st six months by either Chambers or the pupil. This policy is reviewable each year by the Pupillage Committee in consultation with the Directors.

Depending upon workload, Chambers accommodates a number of third six month pupillages (some third six month pupils may have completed 12 months pupillage with Furnival Chambers, some may be external candidates)

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

Furnival Chambers does not use the Pupillage Gateway Scheme.  Please apply directly to Chambers as follows. Please note applications should be submitted from the 1 April 2017.

PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY

  1. Please apply by email to pupillagecommittee@furnivallaw.co.uk
  2. The email should be headed: “SURNAME First Name – Pupillage Application”.
  3. Your application email should have 3 attachments:
    • Letter (File Name: “SURNAME First Name – Letter”) in PDF format
    • CV (File Name: “SURNAME First Name – CV”
    • Equal Opportunity Form (File Name: “SURNAME Name – Equal Opportunity Form”)
  4. The letter is your opportunity to explain why, in your view, we should offer you an interview. The body of the letter should not exceed 400 words and should be submitted as a PDF.
  5. Your CV should not exceed 3 pages.
  6. The Diversity Monitoring Form should be downloaded from the website. This is required to be completed by our regulators.  It will be kept separate and will not feature in any decision to interview or recruit.
  7. Please submit your application by 17:30 22nd May 2017. This deadline has been extended in accordance with BSB advertising requirements. Applications submitted after this time may not be accepted.

The Diversity Monitoring form can be downloaded here: Furnival Chambers Diversity Monitoring Form

Interviews will take place in June 2017. We aim to make offers of pupillage to the selected candidates by 24th July 2017.

Selection will be made from applications as follows:

INITIAL SELECTION: The selection process is overseen by the Pupillage Committee who are trained in ‘Fair Recruitment’. All CVs and covering letters are independently reviewed by 2 tenants using a standardised, approved, scoring procedure. In the event of disagreement between the 2 members, a member of the Pupillage Committee will assess the application and his/her decision will prevail.

INTERVIEW: There will be approximately 30 candidates invited for interview. The number of interview rounds will depend on the number of candidates that pass the initial selection process. Each member of the interviewing panel has received “Fair Recruitment” training. Candidates will be advised in advance of the interview as to its structure. This will be provided shortly before the interview.

The features of the interviews are:

1) Each candidate will be asked exactly the same 4 questions. This is to create a level playing field and to allow each candidate to display individuality and the core qualities being assessed.

2) All candidates will be asked to perform the same pre-arranged advocacy exercise. The candidate will be asked to attend prior to the allotted interview time, and will be given a short piece of advocacy to prepare, such as a plea in mitigation or bail application.

3) The advocacy exercise will be followed by a 3-minute speech to the Pupillage Committee on any non-legal subject of the applicant’s choice, which should have been prepared in advance.

4) The candidates will be asked questions about their personal CV/ covering letter.

5) Each candidate will have the opportunity to ask any questions of the interviewing committee at the conclusion of the interview.

Throughout the interview process interviewers will use a standardised scoring procedure approved by the Pupillage Committee, again to try and make the process as fair as possible. The marks for each candidate at all stages are kept in confidence by the secretaries to the Pupillage Committee.

Funding of pupillages

Furnival Chambers is providing an award of £18,000 to its 12-month pupils.

Chambers will make a grant towards the living expenses and food requirements incurred during the 1st six months of pupillage. The total payment will be £9,000, paid in monthly instalments, payable in advance (subject to possible delay during the first month whilst a CHAPS transfer is set up). This payment is made on the basis that the pupil continues as a pupil in Furnival Chambers during the 1st six months but, should that arrangement cease, for whatever reason, the payments will be stopped.

During the 2nd six months, Chambers guarantees earnings up to a figure of £9,000. In the unlikely event that a pupil’s earnings do not exceed this sum in any given month, Chambers will pay the pupil the difference. During the 2nd six months period of pupillage, Chambers does not seek to recoup 10% of pupils’ receipts until they have reached earnings of £10,000 during that period. Again, this payment is made on the basis that the pupil continues as a pupil in Furnival Chambers during the 2nd six months but, should that arrangement cease, for whatever reason, the payments will be stopped.

Chambers does not fund 3rd six month pupillages. However, a similar arrangement in relation to guaranteed earnings can be accommodated by the Directors of Chambers upon individual application.

Travel expenses

Chambers awards for 1st and 2nd six month pupils are specifically designed to provide more than adequate compensation for travel expenses. It is designed to exceed the anticipated travel expenses likely to be incurred by pupils. Accordingly, Chambers does not reimburse pupils their travel expenses during pupillage.

During the 1st six months period of pupillage, Chambers ensures, where possible, that when travelling outside the London Underground system, arrangements are made for pupils to travel to Court with their pupil supervisors.

In the extremely unlikely event that, in any given month, a pupil is able to demonstrate that the Chambers’ award has not been adequate to compensate travel expenses, Chambers will reimburse the difference.

Chambers does not reimburse travel expenses incurred during 3rd six month pupillages.

Recoupment of payments made to pupils

Chambers will not seek or accept repayment from pupils of any of the sums referred to above (or payment made for attendance at compulsory training courses – as to which see below), whether before or after their fixed departure date, save in the case of misconduct on the pupil’s part.

Pattern of pupillage

All pupillages are general criminal pupillages.

During the first six months, pupils will be allocated to a single Pupil Supervisor. We have a system that allows either the pupil or the Pupil Supervisor to ask for a transfer at any time during the first month of the pupillage with no questions asked. We accept that sometimes people just do not get on. It happens very rarely but it is right to have a system that acknowledges this and can deal with it swiftly and fairly.

At the commencement of pupillage, all pupils will receive a comprehensive written guide to pupillage at Furnival Chambers. As well as welcoming the pupil, it sets out guidance and material in advance of the pupil’s arrival in Chambers to help them get the most out of pupillage with us. The document provides the pupil with ground rules. In addition, during the first week in Chambers, we arrange a meeting for all pupils with our Head of Pupillage Committee and the Secretaries to the Pupillage Committee, together with fellow pupils, to answer any further queries and to ensure that pupillage has begun smoothly.

Chambers runs a scheme whereby each new pupil is allocated a junior member of Chambers to be their “godparent”. This is intended to work in parallel with the traditional system of Pupil Supervisors and is not intended to subvert the authority or wishes of the Pupil Supervisor. Instead, a pupil’s godparent is deliberately selected as a junior member of Chambers much nearer to their own call, whom they may wish to approach with queries about life in Chambers and at the Bar as a whole, or to discuss (if they wish in confidence) a particular problem that they may have (whether with the administration of pupillage or otherwise) and that they do not feel able to raise initially with their Pupil Supervisor. Should the pupil so wish, their godparent will deal with any difficulties that they have or bring them to the attention of the appropriate Chambers forum and/or act as advocate on their behalf in any grievance procedure. The use that the pupil chooses to make of our godparent scheme is entirely a matter for him or her. However, we have found that this is an excellent and informal way to keep an eye on any matters and deal with them before they become real problems.

First six month pupils may be expected to spend some time during their first six months with the Extradition and Asset Forfeiture Teams in Chambers. Accordingly, applicants are expected to have excellent academic qualifications and an ability to absorb complex documentary material. For this period, pupils will remain assigned to their Pupil Supervisor.

Second six month pupils will be allocated to a (different) single Pupil Supervisor for the duration of the second six month period whom they will shadow and assist. Pupils will also attend Court in their own right. Pupils are moved to different rooms so they get to know as wide a range of members of Chambers as possible. The association between pupil and Pupil Supervisor is necessarily less strong during the second six months as the pupils are in court on their own account every day. But the Pupil Supervisors keep a close eye on the work their pupils are doing, especially during the first few weeks.

Third six month pupils will be allocated to a (different) single Pupil Supervisor for the duration of the third six month period whom they will shadow and assist. Pupils will also attend Court in their own right.

Holidays

Under the Working Time Regulations, pupils are entitled to 2 weeks’ holiday per each 6 months as of right. Chambers does not consider Bank Holidays to count towards this entitlement. Chambers’ funding continues during these periods. Any additional holiday period is entirely at the discretion of Chambers and must be discussed and approved in advance with the Pupil Supervisor and the Senior Clerk and will necessitate (pursuant to Bar Council Regulations) prior approval from the Bar Council to extend pupillage for that period.

Unauthorised and unexplained absence by the pupil will be treated as voluntary termination of pupillage with immediate effect and will be considered misconduct on the pupil’s part (thus rendering the pupil liable to repay all pupillage awards paid to date).

Obligations of pupil supervisor

The Pupil Supervisor of a first six month pupil will regularly review the Pupillage Check List during the course of the pupillage and will report to the Chair for the time being of the Pupillage Committee as to the pupil’s progress at the conclusion of the period of pupillage. The same obligations apply to a second six- month pupil.

The Pupil Supervisor will ensure that the pupil is exposed to and adequately instructed in the conduct of all matters and procedures set out in the Pupillage checklist.

The Pupil Supervisor will afford adequate and repeated opportunity to the pupil to:

  • Read and discuss the Pupil Supervisor’s work,
  • Practise their own paperwork, attend conferences,
  • Observe the Pupil Supervisor in Court,
  • Observe other members of Chambers in Court,
  • Receive regular and constructive feedback upon the pupil’s progress,
  • Receive thorough training in the field of professional ethics, paperwork and court work.

The same opportunities will be afforded to the pupil during the practising period (second and third six months) of pupillage. Additionally, the Pupil Supervisor will afford adequate and repeated opportunity to the pupil to undertake court work in their own right.

Checklist used

A Check List, outlining the roles and duties involved in pupillage, as provided by the Bar Council entitled “Check List for Criminal Pupillages”, will be used by Furnival Chambers.

Pupils will not be certified as having completed their pupillage until the list has been finally discussed, signed and handed to their Pupil Supervisor. In addition, the submission of signed and completed checklists is a compulsory part of any tenancy application the pupil may make to these Chambers.

 Continual assessment

Chambers views prompt, regular and constructive assessment of pupillage not only as good practice but as vital. On an informal basis, pupils are encouraged to continually monitor their progress by informal chats with their Pupil Supervisors and ‘godparents’. In addition the Pupillage Committee meets all the pupils on a regular basis so that any problems or complaints can be talked over and dealt with.

On a formal basis, and in addition to the Bar Council checklists, Chambers operates an in-house assessment procedure. At the conclusion of the pupil’s 1st and 2nd six month periods, and at the conclusion of any allocation to the Extradition or Asset Forfeiture Teams, the pupil and Pupil Supervisor will complete an in-house pupillage appraisal form based upon their own appraisal and the feed-back they have had from other members of Chambers, clerks, solicitors and other members of the Bar. The form deals with a comprehensive range of the pupil’s abilities and capabilities and also makes suggestions for the future development of the pupil. This is intended to assist the pupil to know how they are progressing in pupillage and identify those areas requiring improvement. The contents of the form will be discussed with the pupil within a month of him/her finishing that stage of their pupillage. A member of the Pupillage Committee, usually the Head, should be present. Completed appraisal forms are held in confidence by the Secretaries to the Pupillage Committee.

The Appraisal Forms constitute an integral aspect of the pupil’s training and will form an essential part of any application the pupil makes to Chambers for further pupillage and/or tenancy. At the end of pupillage, a report will be made by the Pupillage Committee to the Head of Chambers and ultimately to the Bar Council, in accordance with the content of the Appraisal Forms.

Compulsory training courses

Pupils are required to attend and successfully complete all compulsory training courses run by the Bar Council and their respective Inns during their 12 months’ pupillage. These include:

  • The ‘Advice to Counsel’ Course,
  • The Forensic Accountancy Course,
  • Advocacy training courses offered by the Inns and the South Eastern circuit.

Although not compulsory, Chambers also views the Criminal Bar Association Lecture series (conducted at the Central Criminal Court Bar Mess) as invaluable training and treats them as compulsory.

In addition to travel to and from such courses, Chambers will pay for pupils’ attendance at all the above-mentioned courses. Chambers operates a simple and speedy procedure for obtaining payment (whether in advance or by means of reimbursement).

 In-house advocacy training

Pupils are encouraged to take part in any advocacy training offered by their Inns or the Circuit and financial help is available to assist them with this.

Additionally, during pupillage the pupils undergo a series of in-house advocacy workshops. The course takes place weekly. Workshops are conducted along the lines developed by Gray’s Inn and are run by members of Chambers. They take place one evening a week and the training material has been compiled by members of Chambers and covers all the ground that young members of the Criminal Bar can expect to encounter in their first few months on their feet. It is an intense course as we are able to have a very low ratio of Trainers to Pupils. We also have the advantage of being able to call on junior members of Chambers, who themselves have gone through the same course, to act as the witnesses/clients.

At Furnival Chambers we are confident and proud of the fact that we offer our pupils among the most comprehensive advocacy training available at the Criminal Bar. In their second six months our pupils will have completed many hours of intense advocacy training. Pupils must pass this course to the satisfaction of the Pupillage Committee in order to take up the second six months and to attend court in their own right representing Chambers.

 Allocation of work

During the pupil’s practising (2nd or 3rd) six months, they will be allocated work on a daily basis. Work will be allocated without discrimination and in a manner fair to all.

Allocation will take place according to:

  • Availability of work, and
  • The pupil’s perceived ability and progress (relative to other pupils) at that time, having regard to solicitors’ feedback etc.
  • Assessment of a pupil’s readiness to conduct different types of hearing is the sole responsibility and remit of the clerks (under the overall supervision of the senior clerk and 1st junior clerk), who are best-placed and best-informed to be able to make this assessment, in liaison with the Pupil Supervisor.

The Diversity Data Officer (through liaison with the senior clerk, 1st junior clerk and the Pupil Supervisors) monitors the distribution of unnamed work received by Chambers and re-distribution of work between members of Chambers to pupils. This is undertaken at least every two months. Should the pupil feel at any stage that work is being allocated on an unfair or discriminatory basis, Chambers operates a scheme whereby complaints are investigated by the Pupillage Committee as a matter of urgency and a full report made to the aggrieved pupil.

Feedback

No-one is perfect, and Chambers welcomes confidential feedback from pupils upon the pupillage that we offer. Accordingly, the in-house assessment forms are also designed to enable the pupil to provide any feedback that he or she deems appropriate at the conclusion of each period of pupillage. Chambers takes this process seriously and undertakes to look into any comments or complaints made.

Additionally, pupils are invited to complete the anonymous Bar Council questionnaires provided with each of the Bar Council checklists. These may be sent directly to the Bar Council or, if they wish, be returned to either of the Secretaries to the Pupillage Committee who will forward them on their behalf.