Mini pupillage

If you are interested in applying to our mini-pupillage scheme this year, please follow us on social media for updates regarding our timetable for applications.

We have set out below information about our mini-pupillage scheme that was run in 2022, which may be of interest. We had a Pupillage Application Webinar in January 2023 that you can view here.

Watch this space for further updates coming soon.

What is a mini-pupillage?

A mini-pupillage (or “mini”) is similar to work experience or an internship. We aim to give you as full an experience of chambers and the work we do as possible.

Why should I apply for a mini-pupillage?

A mini-pupillage is the best way for potential pupillage applicants to find out more about what a pupillage with us would be like, make a realistic assessment of whether they would suit a pupillage with us and whether we would suit them. 

We strongly encourage applicants for pupillage to undertake a mini-pupillage with us if they can. However, we accept that not everyone can do a mini-pupillage with us, and we will consider pupillage applications from and do not discriminate against those who have not done one. 

At what stage of my studies should I apply?

In general, you should not apply to us before the final year of your studies to complete the academic component of your training for the Bar. This means that as of 31 October in the year you are applying, you will have:

  1. Completed a UK/Republic of Ireland undergraduate law degree, qualifying law degree or conversion course; or
  2. Started the final year of a UK/Republic of Ireland undergraduate law degree, qualifying law degree or conversion course (this may be the first and only year in the case of a full-time conversion course).

If you are not in one of the categories set out above (for example, if you are a first or second-year undergraduate) but wish to undertake a mini-pupillage with us before your final year (and bearing in mind our prioritisation of candidates about to apply for pupillage), you will need to provide a good reason for why we should consider making an exception in your case in the ‘eligibility’ section of the Mini-Pupillage Application Form.

More information about the academic component of Bar training can be found in Part 2 of the Bar Qualification Manual, available here.

What will I do on a mini-pupillage?

Most recently, we have run a hybrid mini-pupillage programme – this means that candidates can choose either to attend a mini-pupillage in person in Chambers (in London) or attend a remote (virtual) mini-pupillage. 

We found that offering in person and remote mini-pupillages enabled a far greater range of candidates to attend, from across a much broader range of geographical locations, stages of life and with varying levels of caring responsibilities. This seemed to us to be an enormous benefit of offering a remote programme where that suits the candidate.

Mini-pupillages (both remote and in person) will last for up to two days. We will give you a piece of written work to complete, which we will assess (see further below). We plan to give you the chance to chat with a member of chambers, pupil or junior barrister and a clerk. If we can, we will arrange for you to attend (part of) a hearing or a conference and/or give you a short piece of work to do, which you will discuss with your supervising barrister. Please understand that we may not be able to provide every element of this experience for each mini-pupil; it will depend on matters such as dates for hearings and conferences, which are beyond our control.

Assessed written work – Mini-pupillages are assessed on one piece of written work, which will take one day to complete and will be marked in accordance with our pupillage selection criteria. The written work assessments are retained on file and form part of the pupillage selection process when we decide whether to invite a candidate for a first-round interview. The written work is designed to be accessible to students at every stage of their legal studies. No feedback is provided on the written assessment to mini-pupils during the mini-pupillage; the assessment is for our internal benefit at the pupillage selection stage.

Range of work experience – We endeavour to ensure that mini-pupils see a range of work and spend time attending court and/or conferences to see core advocacy skills, as well as seminars and appropriate chambers events. If mini-pupils have specific questions about the pupillage process or aspects of practice, we will endeavour to connect the mini-pupil with the individual who can best answer them.

Mini-pupillage supervisor – Before starting a mini-pupillage, mini-pupils are allocated a supervisor who will look after them and coordinate their mini-pupillage.

Feedback – Mini-pupils will be asked to give feedback on their mini-pupillage, and we will take this feedback into account as we continue developing our mini-pupillage programme.

Who are we looking for as a mini-pupil?

We wish to recruit the strongest candidates for pupillage, regardless of their background. We do not discriminate between those with law degrees and those with non-law degrees. We welcome applications from those coming to the Bar later in their careers.

What is your policy on equality, diversity and inclusion?

We strive to be an equal opportunities employer and chambers. We are committed to diversity among our staff and members, including supporting flexible working.

We encourage and welcome applications from women, people of minority ethnic origin, people living with a disability and those who identify as LGBT+, as well as candidates from other groups underrepresented in the legal sector. We will make reasonable adjustments to enable candidates living with a disability to demonstrate their suitability for the role.

We are keen to ensure that the opportunity of undertaking a mini-pupillage with us is open to those in full-time employment or with caring or family obligations.

What are the selection criteria?

We apply the same criteria when selecting mini-pupils, pupils and tenants, namely:

  • Intellectual ability
  • Expressive ability, both written and oral, including the ability persuasively to defend a position in an argument
  • Interpersonal skills with solicitors, lay clients, chambers (both barristers and staff) and other members of the Bar
  • Commitment, drive and efficiency, and the related skills necessary to become a barrister, pursue a successful career at the Bar and further the interests of chambers
  • Interest in one or more areas of law in which chambers specialises
  • Interests outside the law

Is financial assistance available?

The Mini-Pupillage Grant Scheme offers financial assistance to students who have secured a mini-pupillage but need additional funds to complete it. The scheme helps with the cost of long-distance travel, commuting, accommodation and purchasing appropriate professional clothing. The value of each grant is calculated based on the applicant’s anticipated expenses up to a maximum of £500. To view the full details, click here.

When do applications open?

The application window is typically September of each year – we will publish the timetable towards the end of August.

Due to the number of applications we receive and the limited number of mini-pupillages we can offer, we prioritise applicants intending to apply for pupillage in the following year. For example, our 2022 mini-pupillage programme will prioritise applicants applying for pupillage in 2023.

How do I apply?

You will need to download our Mini-Pupillage Application Form, complete it and email it to us together with a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire (which is optional) to You should receive an automatic confirmation of safe receipt.

Please do not send CVs, covering letters or transcripts of examination results as they will not be considered.

Please note we only consider mini-pupillage applications when applications are open. If the application window has closed, please monitor the website for the next mini-pupillage application window which is usually September each year.

Do you offer any other work experience or mini-pupillage opportunities?

We work with a range of external partners that provide work experience or mini-pupillage opportunities, including Bridging the Bar, The Sutton Trust and 10,000 Black Interns. You can find out more about these opportunities on our Social Responsibility page.

Candidates can either receive a mini-pupillage through our application process or via the Bridging the Bar scheme but may not undertake a second mini-pupillage with us in one year by virtue of using both routes. Candidates are directed to Bridging the Bar’s website for further details.

Where can I find out more?

We hope this webpage has answered your questions about mini-pupillage at 39 Essex Chambers. If you have any other questions, please email

Data collection

We will retain personal data you send us only for the purpose of assessing your application for mini-pupillage and, if offered a mini-pupillage, administering your mini-pupillage and receiving feedback from you; we retain your diversity data to allow for statistical analysis.

We will delete the application data we hold about you three years after completing our annual mini-pupillage programme. We summarise diversity data in a redacted form that cannot be attributed to individuals. You can find a copy of our privacy policy here.