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Why Radcliffe Chambers?

Pupillage is important to us. We see the success of our pupils as essential to chambers’ future success. We only offer as many pupillages as we have vacancies for tenancy, and we only recruit pupils who we believe have the potential to become successful members of Radcliffe Chambers.

We are known for being a welcoming set, and aim to provide challenging and rewarding pupillages in an inclusive and supportive environment. We have grown significantly over the past few years and we are committed to ensuring that all our members share in our success.

We work with leading law firms on complex business, property and private wealth disputes. Our members are recognised as leaders across a wide range of commercial and chancery disciplines, including banking and financial services, commercial contracts, pensions, real estate, restructuring and insolvency, and the full spectrum of private client work.

We have won numerous awards, including Diversity and Inclusion Initiative of the Year at the UK Legal Diversity Awards 2018. Alongside this, winning Chambers of the Year 2019, Best Chambers for Quality of Work 2021 at the Legal Cheek Awards and Client Service of the Year 2023 at the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Awards are some of our most important achievements. We are proud of our pupillage and will work hard to make sure it offers you the best possible start to your career.

Visit our YouTube channel to watch our Pupillage Q&A videos and gain an insight into pupillage at Radcliffe Chambers, applications and life as a junior barrister.

Every year Legal Cheek hosts an anonymous ‘Junior Barrister Survey’, where our junior barristers will rate Radcliffe Chambers in 7 different areas from training to legal tech. In 2023 we received all A and A* scores. You can see the full list and further details, here.

You can read more on what it is like to be a Radcliffe Chambers’ barrister on Chambers Student – True Picture, here.

Our pupillage

As well as developing your legal skills, we think pupillage should equip you with the business skills you need to grow your practice.

This means we make sure our pupils gain good experience in a wide range of commercial and chancery work. Each pupil sits with four different supervisors, and has the opportunity to work with a number of other members.

It also means that, in the second six months of their pupillage, pupils are supported in gaining as much advocacy experience as possible and in undertaking cases of their own. They work with our clerking team to start building their independent practices, while continuing to gain experience through working with their pupil supervisor and other members.

Alongside this, we think that people achieve their full potential in a supportive environment, when they feel that they can be themselves. We are known for being a friendly set – we were rated A* for our social life in the 2019 Legal Cheek Junior Barrister Survey – and we do all we can to involve new pupils in the life of chambers. We work hard too and that is why chambers has seen so much growth over the last few years.

What we offer

We offer up to three 12-month pupillages with an award of £70,000, in addition to any earnings generated in the second six months. We do limit the amount of work our pupils can take on in their second six, but the average awards tend to be £80,000 including extra earnings. We are happy to consider any request for part of the pupillage award to be drawn down during the BPTC year.

We fund all training courses required during pupillage but we also ask our pupils to attend other training organised either by ourselves or with other chancery sets such as the forensic accountancy course. Pupils are also encouraged to take part in the training we organise for members, which in the past has included networking skills and cryptocurrency.

During their first two years of practice, new tenants are not required to pay rent for their rooms in Chambers. In their third year they only pay half the rent.

What we look for

We only recruit pupils who we believe have the potential to become successful members of chambers. That means demonstrating:

  • Intellect – Being a barrister is intellectually challenging, so make sure your application highlights your academic achievements
  • Commerciality – We think a deep understanding of the issues affecting our clients is crucial to providing the best possible service
  • Persuasiveness – You must have the potential to become an outstanding advocate, as evidenced through strong public speaking experience
  • Credibility – We value personal impact and the ability to build long-lasting, collaborative relationships with clients and within chambers
  • Commitment – We are looking for pupils who have strong reasons for applying to Radcliffe Chambers, and for wanting to become a chancery/commercial barrister

That’s it. There is no Radcliffe Chambers type. We believe that to provide the best possible service to our clients, we need a team that embraces a wide variety of perspectives and life experiences.

We are committed to inclusion and diversity, and encourage applications from candidates from all backgrounds, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or belief, or disability. You can read more about this commitment in our comprehensive Pupillage Policy Statement here. You can read our reasonable adjustments policy here.

How to apply

Please note that in line with the Pupillage Gateway timetable we will only start to accept applications from 12:01am on Wednesday 3rd January 2024. Applications will close on Wednesday 7th February 2024 at 11:59pm in accordance with the Bar Council guidelines

We advertise all pupillages on the Bar Council’s Pupillage Gateway (see here). However, we do not process applications through the Gateway. Instead, applications are made by CV and covering letter and are submitted to us via the Rare contextual recruitment website, here.

We ask for a CV and covering letter because we want to give you the freedom to express yourself in the way that you think will best make your case. There is no ‘right’ way to write a covering letter or a CV, just like there is no one type of Radcliffe barrister. All we ask is that your CV and covering letter are each limited to two pages (i.e. four pages in total) and address the criteria under the ‘what we look for’ heading above.

When submitting your application, you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire from Rare, which will be used to provide us with contextual information about our applicants.

We conduct our recruitment process in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code of Conduct and Equality and the BSB Equality Rules.

Radcliffe Chambers Pupillage and Tenancy

Members of Radcliffe Chambers’ pupillage committee, Fiona Fitzgerald (Chief Executive) Dawn McCambley, Matthew Mills, Daniel Thorpe, and John Clark (Head of Clerking), share what pupil barristers can expect from a career at the Bar with Radcliffe Chambers, including the high-profile and often international type of work they will be immersed in, how they will refine and develop their legal and business skills, and the culture at Chambers. 

Watch the full video here.