Webinar: Pupillage at the Tax Bar
A panel made up from our Members of Chambers hosted a webinar on 14th July 2020. It provided an introduction to Pump Court Tax Chambers and life at the Tax Bar, a short case study and a Q&A session. The panel consisted of: Richard Vallat QC, James Rivett QC, Charles Bradley, Barbara Belgrano and Laura Ruxandu.
A recording of this webinar, and accompanying slides, can be found here.
Pupillage application process
We normally offer two pupillages every year. We will accept applications for pupillage commencing October 2022 via the Pupillage Gateway from 4 January 2021 to 8 February 2021.
We normally interview about 25 candidates. In making our initial selection for interview, we consider a candidate’s CV and covering letter. We look for proven academic ability, but also for some evidence of commitment to (and interest in) practice at the Bar. We do not require prior experience of studying or working in tax. We are interested in assessing candidates’ potential to develop as tax barristers, not their current level of legal or tax knowledge. However, we do expect candidates to have given sensible thought to why they might be suited to and interested in a career at the Tax Bar.
Our first-round interviews are based on a short problem given to the candidate twenty minutes beforehand. Typically, it will be a question of statutory interpretation with a relatively simple set of facts. This exercise is designed to test the candidate’s ability to work through statutory provisions, and to weigh the merits of different interpretations. We may also ask about CVs and covering letters, but we only expect a candidate to be able to talk sensibly about what they have written: our main focus is on the problem.
Our second round (of around ten candidates) usually consists of a written exercise to be completed within a set time. We may use this exercise to test how the candidate deals with case law, including how the candidate analyses and applies relevant legal principles. Relevant cases and materials are provided: it is not intended to be an exercise in research. Written answers are anonymised before being marked by the committee, but the final decision is taken in the light of the candidates’ performances over both rounds.
Where necessary, we hold a third round of interviews, where candidates are questioned on their written answers from the second round or are set a fresh problem.
The pupillage award is up to £67,500 for 12 months. At least £25,000 of the pupillage award can be drawn down in the year prior to the commencement of pupillage. For further details, please see the Pupillage Policy.
Based on the performance of our pupils in recent years, we expect to take on at least one new tenant each year. However, if both pupils met the required standard for tenancy, we would expect to offer tenancy to both.
We know how important it is to support tenants in building their practices. Our new tenants find that, alongside their own work, they are kept busy working with more senior members of chambers on advice and litigation. Our experience is that we would expect our new tenants to be earning significantly more than the pupillage award within the first year. However, we do know that cash flow can sometimes be a challenge at the beginning of your career. For that first year of tenancy, we therefore offer a cash flow scheme to ensure that you receive a monthly sum which is at least equal to the pupillage award.
All enquiries relating to pupillages and mini-pupillages should, where possible, be made by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.