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What Pupillage Involves

Pupils at Littleton Chambers receive training of five distinct types:

  • On-the-job training, working with his or her pupil supervisor
  • Advocacy training
  • Assessed written work
  • Internal training courses, set up and run by members of chambers
  • External training

Working with a pupil supervisor is the principal form of training. Our pupils typically spend time with four pupil supervisors in order to obtain exposure to a variety of different practices. Your pupil supervisors will provide support and guidance to you throughout your pupillage, ensuring that you understand not only the nuts and bolts of a barrister’s work, but also the ethical constraints which are such a distinctive feature of our professional life.
You will be asked to draft statements of case, prepare written Opinions and Skeleton Arguments, and to conduct legal research.

Your pupil supervisor will give you access to the papers in the case and will expect you to prepare as if you were the barrister instructed by solicitors. The strengths and weaknesses of your work will be discussed with you, and your pupil supervisor will show you how he has completed the work. You will have the opportunity of seeing your pupil supervisor conduct cases in court or tribunal.

In addition to performing work for your pupil supervisor, you will also be asked to undertake work for other members of chambers. You will be set a number of formal assessed pieces of written work and receive graded feedback on your performance.

A number of training courses have been set up within chambers to focus on the development of your knowledge and skills:

  • an induction course is run at the beginning of your pupillage so that you understand how chambers operates and what will be expected of you.
  • advocacy: a series of practical exercises in the presentation of cases in court will be carried out, giving training in writing Skeleton Arguments, drafting Orders etc. as well as presenting oral argument.
  • ethics training is conducted to discuss problems which arise in the course of professional practice.

The object of these seminars is to reinforce your knowledge and understanding of the Bar’s Code of Conduct and how it impacts upon the way in which you conduct yourself in court and in your professional relations with counsel, solicitors and clients. The emphasis is on problems which arise in the course of day-to-day practice. External training is provided by the Inns of Court and pupils are encouraged to attend the various lectures and seminars offered by the specialist bar association. We regard this training as an invaluable supplement to the training which we will give you.

During the second six at Littleton, we aim to provide a balance between pupils continuing with their training under the guidance of their pupil supervisor, while also giving them some exposure to their own work. In the period between April and July (when the tenancy decision is typically taken), there is a strong focus on assessed work for other members of chambers and completing outstanding formal assessments, and we are keen to ensure that pupils are able to focus on these without distraction. Nevertheless, pupils can expect to be instructed in their own right in small matters in the Employment Tribunal and County Court, giving them useful experience on their feet at an early stage (while also benefiting from the support of their supervisor and other colleagues in chambers).

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