Pupillage

Harcourt has a rich tradition of attracting and developing the strongest emerging legal talent and of recruiting junior tenants from among our pupils. We believe that pupillage is the very best and most efficient way of identifying the barristers who will go on to become leaders in their fields and uphold the standards and values of Chambers. We take selecting candidates for pupillage, and the experience they receive as pupils, very seriously indeed.

We aim to recruit up to two pupils through the Bar Council’s Pupillage Gateway each year.

Type of work undertaken

Recognised as a leading family law set in London and the South East by Legal 500 and the Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession, Harcourt undertakes the full range of family finance, children and international family law work. Harcourt has a well-established reputation within the field of children law: encompassing public and private law arenas and international children’s cases; providing representation to parents, local authorities, extended family members, children, prospective adopters and agencies such as the Official Solicitor and the police. The strong family finance and property team undertakes matrimonial, cohabitee and civil partnership litigation. Further areas of expertise include: trusts, wills and inheritance disputes, divorce, nullity, Court of Protection cases, forced marriage, domestic violence and harassment. Members of Harcourt are often instructed in cases which are reported in the law reports and by the media and regularly give lectures and chair seminars. They have written text-books on pensions, contact, relocation, and adoption and contribute to leading publications, such as Butterworths Family Law Service and Jordans Family Law.

In line with Harcourt’s focus on family law, your pupillage will be spent learning about all aspects of family law (children, international, and family finance). You can expect to attend court with your pupil supervisor very regularly (both remotely and in person) and undertake written exercises, drafting and legal research. In your ‘second six’, you can expect to have a busy court practice in your own right.

Structure of pupillage

Pupillage is divided between three supervisors in four month periods providing exposure to different work and practice styles whilst ensuring that you are fully supported and have continuity with your pupil supervisor during the transition to your ‘second six’. Wherever possible, we will endeavour to match you to barristers whose practices reflect your particular interests but your pupillage will cover all aspects of family law.

You will receive constructive feedback throughout with your supervisor committed to developing your skills as an effective family law advocate. Your supervisor will also arrange for you to spend time with other members of chambers to ensure that you are exposed to a wide variety of work. Towards the end of your first six months, you will accompany junior tenants to court so that you can experience the type of work you will be undertaking in your second six-month practising period. Our pupils have excellent prospects for earning during their second six months.

You can choose to be based primarily in our London or Oxford premises for your pupillage. To ensure that you experience everything that chambers has to offer, you will be allocated a supervisor from each location for at least one four month period of your pupillage.

Harcourt operates a ‘buddy scheme’ for our pupils. You will be allocated a junior tenant as your ‘buddy’ to offer you support as you embark on your pupillage and they will be available to you throughout the year. Your buddy will arrange an introductory meeting with you before your pupillage starts.

Harcourt ensures that pupils are fully involved in the life of chambers. Harcourt is committed to helping pupils integrate into chambers, receive support in building their career and making professional connections. For example, events are organised to welcome pupils to Harcourt either before or at the start of your pupillage. During your pupillage, you will be invited to Harcourt’s weekly teas for members of chambers (which currently take place remotely), informal evening drinks and all well-being events that are run in chambers. Pupils can also expect to be invited to client events such as seminars or webinars that Harcourt hosts and parties to help build professional connections. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Pupillage Committee will hold quarterly meetings with the pupils individually to discuss the progress of your pupillage and your well-being. Harcourt is aware of the challenges pupils face, particularly in the current climate with the pandemic. Although you will be expected to work hard, you will have the full support of chambers to achieve your potential.

Harcourt’s training programme for pupils is designed to enable you to meet all the competencies set out in the Professional Statement to the threshold standard for qualification as a barrister and to reach the standard required for a tenancy in chambers.  In the last five years, all our pupils have qualified to become practising barristers.

 

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for a pupillage at Harcourt, you should have a 2:1 degree or higher. We will consider candidates with lower grades in cases where there are genuine extenuating circumstances and there is evidence of other outstanding attributes in the application. We do not require applicants to have studied law at university. Many members of Chambers have come from other academic backgrounds or have had other careers before coming to the Bar.

We are committed to equal opportunities and diversity in all its forms. We select candidates for both pupillage and tenancy on merit alone, regardless of age, disability, gender, marital or civil-partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. In support of this commitment, we are open to making any reasonable adjustments you may need to ensure that you can participate in our selection process fairly.

Award

The pupillage award for prospective pupils who will start their pupillage in October 2023 will be £34,000 comprising:

(a) £26,000 in the first six months which will be paid as a sum of £11,000 at the commencement of pupillage and 5 monthly instalments of £3,000;

(b) £8000 in the second six months paid in 6 monthly instalments.

Plus you can retain all your earnings in your second six months of pupillage. Although the amount of earnings our pupils receive in their second six months can vary depending on conditions at the time, over the last three years our pupils have earned on average around £25,000 to £30,000 in their second six months.

Harcourt reviews its pupillage award on an annual basis.

 

Recruitment from our pupils

In recruiting our pupils, we always have an eye to the future and our pupils’ potential to become tenants. Harcourt is committed to expansion and ensuring our pupils develop their legal talents. Recruitment from our pupils is our favoured route for tenancy and as you demonstrate your skills and progress through your pupillage, we will begin actively to consider your suitability for tenancy. In the last five years, all our pupils have been offered, and have accepted, tenancy.

Junior tenants in their first year of practice at Harcourt may reasonably expect to earn at least double the earnings achieved in the practising period of their pupillage.

 

Additional Information

Please see below for a link to our pupillage policies for 2022-23 and 2023-24:

Harcourt Pupillage Policy 2022-2023

Harcourt Pupillage Policy 2023-2024 

Tenancy

Over the last few years a number of practitioners have joined chambers from other sets. We encourage applications from practitioners and will always give serious consideration to any application to join Chambers from barristers practising elsewhere. To apply, please email tenancy@harcourtchambers.co.uk.

Mini-pupillage

We are now accepting applications for mini-pupillages. Please complete this application form if you would like to apply, and return the completed form to opowell@harcourtchambers.co.uk

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