Mini-Pupillage

Drystone Chambers is proud to offer mini-pupillages and considers the experience to be a highly valuable means of educating students on the realities of life at the criminal bar.

It can also be extremely valuable to meet at an early stage in their careers, individuals who have the potential to play a significant role in the future development of the bar and indeed Drystone Chambers.

Drystone Chambers is a London-based specialist criminal set with members of Chambers practising in the criminal courts in the London area and on the Midland, South Eastern and Western Circuits, which enables us to be able to offer mini-pupillage in these regions and not restricted solely to London. Outside of London our regular court centres include Norwich, Kings Lynn, Ipswich, Peterborough, Northampton, Nottingham, Lincoln, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Southampton and Portsmouth. This list is by no means exhaustive

Mini-pupils will have the opportunity to meet Members of Chambers and our Pupils and to observe a range of criminal work in the Crown Court and Magistrates Court.

If you would prefer your mini-pupillage to take place on circuit rather than in London, please complete the relevant section in our application form.

Successful applicants will spend up to a week shadowing one or more of our barristers. Our clerking team makes every effort to ensure that mini-pupils see a variety of cases during the week and you can expect to be in court every day. We endeavour to provide our mini-pupils with the opportunity to attend at courts nearest their location whenever possible but this will always be subject to the work that we have available. Mini-pupils will receive up to £25 per day towards subsistence and the cost of travelling to and from the courts they will be attending during the week.

Application Process

The window for mini-pupillage applications to be submitted for 2024 is during the month of March 2024.

Applications are made using our own Application Form which will be available on this page from 01/03/2024. Your completed application form should be submitted during the applications window of 1st – 31st March 2024 via email to the Chambers Administrator at russell.burton-lawrence@drystone.com or if preferable, by post or hand to Russell Burton-Lawrence, Drystone Chambers, 35 Bedford Row, London, WC1R 4JH marked Private and Confidential.

Applications will only be accepted if they are made using Chambers’ application form. Chambers does not accept applications via CV or covering letter. Only the information provided on the application form itself will be used for assessment, to ensure that all candidates are marked fairly and consistently. It is not acceptable to submit an application form with only basic information that refers to an attached CV or other information.

Due to the sensitive nature of our work applicants must be aged 18 or over. Applicants need to be undertaking, or have undertaken, a degree course, the GDL or BPC. We usually receive more applications than we are able to accommodate so priority will be given to those candidates who are undertaking, or have undertaken, a Law Degree or equivalent.

We encourage mini-pupillage applications from candidates from all backgrounds, especially from people under-represented at the Bar. We are committed to ensuring that the Bar is an accessible profession, open to those with ability regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, religion or economic background. As part of our commitment to ensuring a diverse Bar, we reserve four mini-pupillages for individuals who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Are from a family where neither parent went to university
  • Have been eligible for free school meals or come from a family on income support
  • Are from an ethnic minority background traditionally under-represented at the Bar

Mini-pupils who have mobility issues, other disabilities or other commitments such as caring responsibilities, can discuss these in advance with the Chambers Administrator so that appropriate reasonable adjustments can be considered and implemented.

Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications that we usually receive, we are unable to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

All mini-pupils will be required to sign a confidentiality and data protection undertaking prior to commencement of their mini-pupillage.

As part of the application process, candidates are asked to complete an Equality & Diversity Monitoring form. You are not obliged to answer all or any of the questions however by providing this information you help us to ensure that our recruitment is fair and objective to all.

You may find it useful to have a look at our mini-pupillage FAQs page.

Thank you for your interest in mini-pupillage at Drystone Chambers.

Further reading: You may be interested to read the Bar Council’s brochure Becoming A Barrister which provides a fascinating insight into a truly dynamic and challenging career.

Good luck ahead!

Mini-Pupillage FAQs

Our mini-pupillages last for one single week Monday to Friday. However, shorter periods will be considered.

Yes. We provide our mini-pupils with up to £25 per day towards subsistence and the cost of travelling to and from the courts they will be attending during the week. This will be via a method of reimbursement administered by the Chambers Administrator.

No, our mini-pupillages are not assessed.

The applications window for 2024 will be announced in September/October 2023.

Our mini-pupillages usually take place between May and November.

Our website www.drystone.com is the central source of all our mini-pupillage information. Prior to the application window, we advertise our mini-pupillage vacancies and application time-table on our social media channels on Twitter @‌DrystoneCrime and Linked-In. You may like to follow us on these channels to keep abreast of our latest updates.

No, but you need to evidence a strong desire to come to the Criminal Bar. In the event that we receive more applications than places, priority will be given to those candidates who are undertaking, or have undertaken, a Law Degree or equivalent.

You will go to the courts in the London area unless you specify a preference for work outside of London. Members of Chambers also practice on the Midland, South Eastern and Western Circuits, which enables us to be able to offer mini-pupillage opportunities in these regions and not solely in London. If you would prefer your mini-pupillage to take place on circuit rather than in London, please include your court preferences in the relevant section of our application form.

Drystone Chambers covers the full gamut of criminal work. The vast majority of our work is in the Crown Court but where availability allows, we will arrange for our mini-pupils to experience some time in the Magistrates Court shadowing our junior barristers in order to obtain a first-hand understanding of real life in the earlier part of a criminal barrister’s practice.

Smart dark office wear, for example, a black, navy blue or dark grey suit and a white or other light coloured shirt. Men should wear ties. Women can wear a black or dark coloured dress and jacket or smart dark coloured trouser suit. Please wear sensible shoes that you can walk in all day as you may find you have a lot of walking to do between courts. For the sake of clarity, trainers are not acceptable footwear. Please bear in mind that whilst you are undertaking your mini-pupillage with us you are representing Drystone Chambers and therefore a professional looking appearance at all times is essential.

There is nothing specific that you need to prepare, but it would be prudent to make yourself familiar with the type of cases that members of Drystone Chambers undertake via our website. Our news page is a useful source of information in this regard as are our social media channels.

No you cannot. The role of a mini-pupil is to observe only. You will get the opportunity to discuss the case with the barrister afterwards in private.

Barristers are bound by very strict rules about confidentiality and you must not discuss confidential information with anyone other than the barrister who you are with. If in doubt ask the barrister. You will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the start of your mini-pupillage.

You should bring a notebook and pen or equivalent. It is a good idea to make notes to remind yourself of any questions you may have later, but you should avoid making notes of any ‘personal information’. We want you to get maximum benefit from your mini-pupillage experience. Making the most of your time with us by having a positive attitude, taking notes and asking good questions at appropriate times will enable you to gain an insight into life at the Criminal Bar and what it entails.

The point of contact throughout the application process is the Chambers Administrator. When your mini-pupillage is about to commence, a Clerk will be nominated to be your daily liaison during your mini-pupillage and you will be notified in advance who this person will be along with their contact information.

We value feedback on how well we have done and so all mini-pupils are provided with a feedback form at the end of their mini-pupillage to complete and provide comment on their experience, whether positive or negative, as this will help us to review our processes and procedures to ensure the best possible experience for future mini-pupils.

Benjamin Disraeli famously said “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies, and statistics”. However used correctly numbers illuminate the truth; here are some about our criminal justice system.

59,687
Cases awaiting trial in Crown Court

2,400
Number of criminal barristers (approximately)

35%
Percentage of the Judiciary who are women

51%
Percentage of women in population in England and Wales

"Drystone Chambers is a 'go-to set' with excellent barristers and a good depth of counsel."


The Legal 500 2023

"Drystone Chambers is a 'go-to set' with excellent barristers and a good depth of counsel."


The Legal 500 2023

"They have a depth of talent and expertise,"


Chambers & Partners 2023

"There are very experienced clerks who communicate efficiently and effectively and keep us informed."


Chambers & Partners 2023

"They are a well-organised clerks' room. They are quick to help and have lots of experience."


Chambers & Partners 2023

''Drystone Chambers is a good reliable set"


Legal 500 2023

"The Clerks are helpful and experienced"


Legal 500 2023

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