Since our foundation in 1990, Doughty Street Chambers has firmly established its reputation as a leading set for civil liberties and human rights law and developed a large practice in criminal law. Long synonymous with the best claimant public law work, we’re recognised for our “creativity and ability to push the boundaries of the law” (Chambers and Partners 2011). Building on its strengths the set has tripled in size, opened offices in Manchester and Bristol and in the last three years had more than 13 new silks appointed.
In addition to undertaking many cutting-edge domestic and international human rights cases, we are committed to representing vulnerable clients at all levels. We operate across a wide range of practice areas, including public law and civil liberties, international human rights, crime, media law, clinical negligence and personal injury, prisoners’ rights, police actions, immigration and asylum, social welfare, education, housing, employment, extradition, and mental health. In line with our values the majority of our work is for claimants in civil cases and defendants in criminal cases.
Chambers also has a specially trained team of barristers who undertake Public Access work within the areas of civil and criminal law. Training to become a barrister at Doughty Street will provide the opportunity to experience a broad range of specialist practice areas. You will work alongside and learn from barristers who are experts in their chosen field, giving you the best possible start to your career at the bar. To read more about our specialist areas of practice please click here.
Doughty Street Chambers is committed to the promotion of human rights and civil liberties through the law. The set prides itself in taking a collegial and team-based approach to its work. It is noted for its intellectual excellence and providing a first-class, fully accountable service to clients.
We currently offer three pupillage places per year. Pupillage will last for 12 months and starts in October each year. The pupillage will be divided into two parts; six months will be spent as a non-practising pupil, and six months will be spent as a practising pupil or ‘on your feet’. During the first six months you will shadow your supervisor and other members of chambers, conduct research for cases and assist with the preparation of briefs. You will attend a number of internal and external training sessions. Once you are ‘on your feet’ you will encounter a steep learning curve as our clerks send you to courts throughout England and Wales to undertake your own caseload and develop your advocacy skills.
During the twelve months of pupillage you will rotate through three placements, each one lasting four months. You will be allocated a different supervisor for each of these placements and they will be a mix of criminal and civil practitioners to ensure you are exposed to a wider range of experience, gaining a more rounded training. We will try to allocate supervisors according to your work preferences, however this is also dependent on which members have capacity to take on a pupil. You will often be matched with a junior criminal practitioner on the last few weeks of non-practising pupillage to ensure you are fully acquainted with the procedures of the Magistrates and Crown Courts. Prior to each four month period you will become acquainted with your new proposed supervisor and given the chance to discuss the type of work you would like to be involved in.
You are encouraged to gain experience to a cross- section of work and to experience of range of practising styles. Your supervisor is responsible for introducing you to other members of chambers and once you know your way around you can approach practitioners directly and ask them for work. Second- six pupils will normally have some court work and paperwork of their own. All second- six pupils will be expected to undertake work in the Magistrates Court and may appear in the Crown Court, County Court, High Court or Privy Council. Pupils can expect to be in court 3- 5 times a week.
When you arrive at Chambers you will be given an induction by the Chambers Director and pupillage administrator to familiarise yourself with the policies and procedures. Throughout your pupillage your supervisor will meet with you regularly to discuss allocation of work and the progress of your pupillage. At the end of the three months your supervisor will conduct a formal assessment of the work you have done. This will include looking at the feedback of other practitioners, the structure and development of your pupillage and the requirements of the Bar Council checklists.
Throughout your pupillage, casework and research is normally fed through supervisors (although pupils may approach practitioners directly). After each piece of work the practitioner must complete an evaluation form. These forms are held by your supervisor and become part of the formal assessment for tenancy.
During pupillage pupils will complete three pieces of assessed work. They will also have an advocacy test and an interview as part of the tenancy selection process at the end of pupillage.
Chambers has a policy of recruiting one junior tenant each year, providing that there is a suitable candidate. Selection is made irrespective of the area of law that candidates ultimately wish to practise in. For the first two years the junior tenant is required to cover any work required by Chambers although this is usually combined effectively with the junior tenant’s work preferences.
If Chambers has a vacancy in a particular field of work and that vacancy is not filled through the annual recruitment process then the vacancy is advertised. All former pupils are entitled to apply.
Pupils starting in October 2013 pupils will receive an overall guaranteed payment of £26,500 with an initial award of £21,500 and guaranteed earnings of an additional £5,000. Pupils will receive annual travelcards and appropriate travelling expenses outside London will be reimbursed. Although there will be very limited opportunities to increase their income during the first six of pupillage, second- six pupils will begin billing work from the start of their pupillage and can expect to receive some payment within the first month of their pupillage.
Chambers is committed to selecting the best candidates irrespective of their personal circumstances. We therefore do not accept unfunded pupils.
Chambers are looking for intelligent, independent, applied individuals who are interested in our specialist areas of work. They must be highly motivated, determined, have initiative and of the highest ethical and professional calibre. They must also be committed to use the law to assist the disadvantaged and support the Chambers commitment to civil liberties, human rights and support for the Legal Aid system. Ultimately we are looking for pupils who are potential candidates for tenancy.
When assessing the application forms we score on the basis of two main criteria according to a prescribed points system based on ‘Intellectual Ability’ and ‘Dedication’.
Intellectual Ability is assessed in most cases on academic qualifications supported by research, experience or publications which demonstrate knowledge and use of intellect. Our minimum degree requirement is a 2(ii) in any subject.
The Dedication category rewards those with demonstrated motivation, commitment and drive, particularly, but not exclusively, in relation to civil liberties and the welfare of others. Individuals with significant achievements or experience in unrelated fields (e.g. playing on a national sports team, winning a national music competition, or being Director of a company) will have these achievements recognised under this heading. However, given Chambers' values, such achievements/experience are not rewarded as highly as those related to our values.
It is not essential to score highly in both categories. A candidate in a professional position may demonstrate high levels of achievement but have had limited time to commit to community or other activities. Similarly a candidate with a 2(ii) may score highly in the other category and be shortlisted for interview.
We do offer mini-pupillages but these are organised as a week-long course for 12 students and are designed purely for work experience. The selection criteria for mini-pupillage are different from the selection criteria for pupillage and it is quite possible that someone rejected for mini-pupillage will be selected for pupillage.
In considering applications for pupillage we give little weight to mini-pupillages and candidates gain nothing at all from having done more than two. The value of mini-pupillages varies considerably and some candidates, such as those in work or with dependants, do not have the opportunity to undertake them.
We usually receive about 500 applications. If an application makes it through two paper sifts the candidate will then be invited for a first round interview. We interview between 20 and 30 candidates in the first round. After this approximately 10- 12 candidates will be invited for a second interview.
The first round interview will be conducted by a team of two practitioners. They are scheduled for approximately 15-10 minutes and focus on a hypothetical question which is given to candidates fifteen minutes prior to the interview.
The second round interview is conducted by a panel of 3-5 practitioners, including one Queen’s Counsel. They are scheduled for 20-25 minutes and involve a presentation by the candidate. The presentation topic will be provided to the candidate at least 48 hours in advance of the interview.
The hypothetical question and presentation topic require no specialist knowledge. Candidates are however expected to have an interest in, and general understanding of, legal matters. These exercises are designed to test your ability to think on your feet, articulate an argument and demonstrate presentational and persuasive skills, and judgement. They may require a general knowledge of current affairs, equal opportunities, legal issues or law. Other questions are designed to assess personal qualities such as temperament, sense of humour, client skills, organisational skills, commitment; general knowledge of current affairs, equal opportunities or legal issues; and legal interests.
Chambers is part of the Bar Council Pupillage Gateway scheme which allows potential pupils to apply to 12 participating sets with a single application. We accept applications in the summer season only. Full details of our vacancies and awards are published on the Pupillage Gateway and duplicated in the Pupillages and Awards Handbook. Please see click here for more details.
Applicants who are exempt from the Pupillage Portal are requested to apply to us either on a Pupillage Gateway form or by following the format of the application form and in line with the Pupillage Gateway timetable so that all applicants are considered together. Please send your application to the Executive Officer, Furhana Mallick.
If you have any queries regarding the pupillage application or selection process, please email Furhana Mallick or call on 020 7404 1313.
Following a revised EU directive on website cookies, each company based, or doing business, in the EU is required to notify users about the cookies used on their website.
To find out more about what cookies are, which cookies we use on this website and how to delete and block cookies, please see our Which cookies we use page.