Pupillage

Drystone Chambers is the Chambers of Allison Summers KC, a specialist criminal set based in London, with members undertaking work nationwide.  We have a significant amount of high-quality Crown Court work in the regions in which we regularly appear, namely in London and on the South Eastern (including East Anglia), Midland and Western Circuits in our core practice areas of:

• General crime

• Local Authority and Trading Standards

• Regulatory and Professional Discipline

We are a member of the Pupillage Gateway and will be accepting applications within that timetable.  The window opens in January 2023 and closes in February. Interviews will be held in or around April 2023.

What We Offer

We are offering two 12-month pupillages to commence in October 2023 or 2024 (two per year).

As a 12-month pupil at Drystone Chambers, you can expect to be in court every working day.  For the first 6 months, you will shadow our senior juniors in their busy Crown Court practice.  Previous pupils at Drystone Chambers have commented on the strong support and encouragement of their first six supervisors.  Structured feedback is always given on any pieces of written work and the pupil’s supervisor manages any requests from other members of Chambers to ensure a fair distribution of work between pupils.

Drystone has Pupil Supervisors in all of the regions where we regularly practice, from East Anglia to the Western Circuit. Given the geographical range that Drystone covers, you can expect to travel a significant amount during pupillage.  Although we are based in London, many members practice both in London but also elsewhere.

During the ‘second six’, you will have a busy practice, honing your advocacy skills conducting Magistrates’ court trials and first appearance hearings.  An effort is made to ensure pupils also gain experience in the Crown Court, for example attending mention hearings and bail applications and conducting appeals against conviction/sentence. Previous pupils have also conducted Crown Court trials.

As a Chambers we are friendly and approachable with a welcoming collegial atmosphere.  We are supported by a team of experienced and dedicated clerks who will help you to develop and shape your practice, a separate management and finance team and separate billing and fee collection department.

Training Programme 

We offer a structured in-house training programme, run by Karim Khalil KC and Andrew Price.  Pupils will therefore benefit from training during pupillage from silks and senior juniors, sharing their expertise in specific areas including disclosure, closing speeches and cross-examination.  The training programme also covers different practice areas, such as Trading Standards and Professional Discipline work.  The programme for 2022-23 includes sessions with members of the judiciary who were former members of Chambers.

A structured feedback form is provided to each pupil after each session, which is sent both to the pupil and their supervisor for discussion. This ensures the pupil learns as much as possible throughout the programme and Chambers can take their progress into account when making decisions for tenancy.

Funding

The pupillage award for 2023 - 2024 is £35,000.  This is comprised of a grant of £20,000 in the first six months and guaranteed earnings of £15,000 in the second six months.

The award is paid by bank transfer in equal instalments each month.  The £20,000 first-six grant includes £5,000 to cover the pupil’s travel expenses.  Pupils’ expenditure on travel during their first 6 months has been carefully monitored by Chambers in recent years to ensure that the £5,000 will realistically cover all travel expenses.

During the second six, the £15,000 will continue to be paid in equal instalments each month, i.e. £2,500 per month. Should a pupil receive fees in excess of £2,500 in a single month, they are entitled to keep the extra fees without paying commission.

Tenancy

Drystone Chambers recruits pupils with a view to them becoming tenants.  Every effort is made during pupillage to support an individual to achieve their potential and become a full member of Chambers.

Pupils are invited to apply for tenancy by way of a written letter at the end of their 12 months of pupillage. Chambers does not insist on a pupil completing a further six months of pupillage (a ‘third six’) unless there are valid reasons for doing so. In such a case, the pupil is made aware well in advance of the expiry of their 12-month pupillage that they will be expected to extend their pupillage period before applying for tenancy.

The tenancy decision is based upon reports from each of the pupil’s 4 supervisors and their performance during the in-house training programme sessions, as well as feedback from other members of Chambers on any work the pupil has completed for them. All pupils are observed in court at some point during their second six in order to review their advocacy.

Application Process

Drystone Chambers is a member of the Pupillage Gateway.  Applications can be made via the Gateway between Wednesday 4 January 2023 and Wednesday 8 February 2023 by searching our Pupillage Vacancy and selecting ‘Apply for this pupillage’.

First round interviews will take place on Saturday 11th March 2023.  Please note that there is no flexibility with this date.

Candidates who are successful after their interview will be required to undertake an assessed mini-pupillage in Chambers. This will be for the week commencing Monday 17th April 2023.  We expect candidates to be available for the full week but will consider individual requests for a shorter period.

Offers will be made to successful candidates on 5th May 2023, in accordance with the Gateway timetable.