Year 3, week 31: pupillages for sale

There’s a rumour going around the Temple that a less well-known set of chambers is currently selling pupillages en masse for those people who have so far failed to obtain one elsewhere.  Apparently they’ve set up a sham whereby pupils will technically be paid the minimum amount allowable but will also be charged for ‘extra’ office space in chambers (ie a desk) to the extent that they will end up paying some £10,000 for the privilege.

Still, in these difficult times…

April 29, 2009 · Tim Kevan · 19 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

19 Responses

  1. R - April 29, 2009

    Who, where, when! Tell us now please, it is your duty to your colleagues aspiring to the Bar without the privilege of an MA gained by eating a dinner at their old College…

  2. Matthew - April 29, 2009

    I am appalled, for two reasons. Firstly, that a chambers can stoop that low. Secondly, that the situation is so bad that students will actually consider that. I’m applying for pupillage and I know it’s tough, but I would never, ever, entertain the idea of sham pupillage. What kind of barrister would such a “pupillage en masse” produce? Not great ones, of that I am sure.

  3. Allison - April 29, 2009

    It’s a disgrace! Pupillage en masse! What next! Are things really that bad?

  4. Fresh - April 30, 2009

    It is a scam for the pupils. There is no chance of tenancy and other Chambers will find out which Chambers this is – so the value of pupillage will be about zero. Having said that, with the recession and all that, I may now volunteer for the pupillage committee at Chambers as it is clearly lucrative and I desperately need a yacht.

  5. Gemma Blair - April 30, 2009

    Presumably a criminal set, given the massive problems most of them are facing financially???

  6. VICKI - April 30, 2009

    A little sad I think, they could always approach the Bar Council for an unfunded pupillage place. My god we students leave uni life with a big enough debt anyway; also as if lawyers didn’t have a hard enough time at the moment, to be seen as even more unscrupulous is just what the bar needs (NOT)

  7. Lawminx - April 30, 2009

    *WAAAAAAH*!!!!!! I shall have such a TANTRUM in a moment as to turn positvely PURPLE !
    To think that after ALL the slog I’ve gone through to batter my way thorugh the pupillage portal I could simply have bought myself the Golden Snitch! It is not to be BORNE!!!!

  8. Abigail - April 30, 2009

    As a lawyer gamely struggling to behave in an ethical manner, I find this quite the most disgusting thing you have described in this whole blog.
    Taking people for saps. Making them waste a year. Charging them for the privilege.
    Where there are far more BVC places than pupillages, the same allegation could be levelled at the BVC providers, though.

  9. Old Sweat - April 30, 2009

    Seems a lot of these chaps are failing to have a suitably reverential regard to the doctrine of precedent which, as every common lawyer knows, should trump all other considerations (apart from statute and I can think of some emminent folk who would contest even that, when the statute doesn’t suit them).
    Seems all this traditionally minded set is doing is going back to the golden age of a fee to your pupil master for his careful and skilful training of the young hopeful,teaching him not to belch in front of a judge , not refer to a solicitor as a learned friend, and that sort of thing. This was the norm until quite recently. 100 guineas was the going rate wasn’t it? Oh well, I suppose we should allow for inflation.
    Perhaps we in the junior branch of the profesion, despite lacking the social connections for the bar, could learn from our enterprising learned friends and reintroduce a premium for articles (or training contracts for younger readers): encouraged the firm that advised Daddy to take you on, and kept the socially undesirable (but legally skillful) in their place as Managing Clerks.
    If the Law Society can’t do that perhaps it could go back to the old “character interview” before a local panel to make sure you wouldn’t be a blot on the profession’s escutcheon. Of course this was all respectability, probity and general all-round good egg-iness, and not a covert devise to keep out the hoi-polloi as certain cynics so unkindly used to suggest.
    Do you think either branch of the profession could bring any of this back, suitably rebadged as an extended CRB & character check/security clearance and purely in the interests of the vulnerable, of course?
    Best wishes as always.
    Old Sweat

  10. me - April 30, 2009

    What’s another 10,000 going to do when we have already spent around 29,000 for the misplaced privilege of being called a non practicing barrister or as the bar council say on their website “legal assistant” and/or in special circumstances “legal advisor”.

  11. Kitty SA - April 30, 2009

    well, at least it’s cheaper than bar school

  12. Matthew - May 1, 2009

    Old Sweat is a good indication of why the Bar needs modernisation. I do hope, sir, that you are a “troll”.

  13. Old Sweat - May 1, 2009

    I am afraid your language eludes me.If you would be good enough to explain what you mean by “troll” I could perhaps reciprocate with an explanation of what I mean by “irony”
    Enjoy the weekend
    Old Sweat

  14. Matthew - May 2, 2009

    Ahh well, Old Sweat, it appears you know exactly what I meant. I apologise for jumping on you like that: this is a stressful time for me, and I took you all too literally. I tip my hat to you sir.

  15. ingm - May 6, 2009

    I turned my back on the bar after 15 years and went to to live in rural France.

  16. Damian - May 6, 2009

    IF this is true (and I have serious doubts) the chambers must be reported to the Bar Council.
    If there is a set of chambers offering these “pupillages” I have doubts as to whether they will be recognised as legitimate and comply with Bar Council guidelines.

  17. BARDWELLER - May 10, 2009

    Has everyone forgotten that this blog is ‘fictional’ before every one goes off reporting to the bar council??

  18. LawLibrarian - May 11, 2009

    Well said Bardweller!

  19. Charwallah - May 11, 2009

    How disappointing. This chambers is entirely likely to remain little known given their complete lack of imagination.
    Any wannabe pupil knows that many of their peers or at least their peer’s parent’s would pay well over £10,000 to secure a pupillage. A far more imaginative and successful way of raising funds would be either to auction it on Ebay or even better approach a TV production company with “Pupil-Idol” or similar (I already have copyright!) whereby a down-on-its-luck criminal and/or family set would offer a pupillage with the standard minimum award.
    I reckon on Ebay you could get at least £25,000 for it and the Bar Standards Board could not possibly object to my suggestion of Pupil-Idol given that it would be awarded to the best advocate, be truly diverse and inclusive whilst allowing the producers to illustrate just how desperate pupil-wannabees really are; Imagine the complaints following the “Pupillage in return for sexual favours” round”.