Many of our barristers are the undisputed leaders in their field and represent clients at every level up to the European Court. We appear in high profile and challenging cases in the UK and abroad. Many of our members are recognised as leaders in their field by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.
We're leading the future of the law, find out how you can join us below.
Why should you join us?
Our experts advise a full spectrum of clients from individuals to multi-national companies across all sectors, as well as regulators and public bodies. Many of our barristers are the undisputed leaders in their field and represent clients at every level up to the European Court.
According to an article recently published in the Lawyer magazine Cloisters has the best record for female representation and equality at the Employment Bar. Cloisters appear in almost all major employment litigation in the UK and we truly could not do this without an equal and diverse workforce of skilled experts. As a chambers we pride ourselves on our gender diversity commitments and achievements, you can read more about this here and here We particularly encourage applications from members of groups which are under-represented at the bar, and are committed to maintaining compliance with the Bar's Equality and Diversity code. We will make reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities.
We are expanding our team and invite applications from exceptional practitioners of all calls to join any of our 8 disciplines, these include; Employment / Discrimination, Personal Injury / Clinical Negligence, Human Rights / Public Law, Regulatory / Disciplinary, Sports and Entertainment, Medical Law / Court of Protection, Data Protection / Privacy and Commercial Law.
We look for:
• Evidence of commitment to or special expertise in one or more of Cloisters' practice area.
• Evidence of an established client base or practise.
• Evidence of earnings of a broadly comparable level to a member of Cloisters in relevantly similar circumstances (such as a call bracket and practice areas), having regard to individual factors such as past career breaks and professional isolation in a candidate's present set.
Applications will be treated in confidence and should be sent to Paul Epstein QC: email@example.com.
For further details or for a confidential discussion, please contact Paul Epstein QC on 020 7827 4012 or Chesca Lord on 020 7827 4057.
Why should you apply to Cloisters?
We welcome applications from outstanding candidates of all backgrounds and academic disciplines.
Cloisters is renowned for its pioneering work as well as being down to earth and practical. We are a supportive and nurturing set where everyone is given the opportunity to thrive and become the best in their field.
We see our role as educating, supporting and developing our pupils in line with Cloisters' values which focus on commitment to excellence and delivering exceptional results for the people at the heart of our work. We keep in mind the aims, philosophy and ethos of pupillage and its professional and educational values.
Pupillage at Cloisters is split into four quarters, with a different supervisor for each one. All members of chambers are encouraged to become supervisors once they meet the qualifying period of practice which ensures that we have a wide range of supervisors of different calls, practice areas and personalities. In addition to working with and for supervisors, pupils are encouraged to do work for other members of chambers and to undertake pro bono work through FRU or law centres.
Our pupils are expected to see all areas of our work during their pupillage, which is normally organised through a choice of supervisors. Pupils are told who their supervisor will be shortly before each quarter begins. That choice is informed in part by what pupils have seen and experienced during pupillage so that all relevant areas of the pupillage checklist are covered. There is a formal appraisal at the end of each quarter, in addition to the feedback given throughout pupillage by supervisors.
The tenancy decision is based on a series of assessed tasks undertaken during the second six months (drafting, legal research, advocacy, interview) and feedback from supervisors, barristers the pupil has worked for, clients, opponents and clerks. The tasks are assessed against objective criteria. Each of the five areas is given roughly equal weight. A minimum of 70% is required for a pupil to be recommended for tenancy. If a pupil receives a mark of 80% or above they will be recommended for tenancy. While this is a challenging process for pupils, we believe that this system provides a fair and objective assessment of their skills. It means that we do not have a set number of tenancies to offer, the number we offer varies with the achievement of the individual pupils. If a pupil receives a mark between 70%-80% then the recommendation is at the discretion of the Tenancy Committee. Whatever the mark, a chambers meeting will be held where chambers as a whole will decide whether or not to endorse the Tenancy Committee recommendation.
How to apply
Cloisters will only accept applications for pupillage which are made through the Bar Council's Online Pupillage Application Scheme known as The Pupillage Gateway. Application forms and further information, including full details of the Pupillage Gateway timetable, may be obtained from the Pupillage Gateway website.
We welcome applications from those coming late to the Bar, who may not be required to undertake the full pupillage requirement. Should you require any further information about making an application in such circumstances, please contact Alessandra Fanone.
Cloisters does not offer unfunded or sponsored pupillages.
When to apply
The pupillage award for 2020 and 2022 will be £54,000, half of which is guaranteed earnings. Pupils can also ask for an advance of up to £8,000.
Contact us about pupillage
Chesca Lord is our Head of Pupillage Training, and Alessandra Fanone, Chambers Administrator, assists with pupillage recruitment.
All enquiries about pupillage should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Addressing disadvantage and mitigating circumstances in applications for pupillage
Cloisters is committed to improving access to the Bar for people who are underrepresented in the profession alongside maintaining its commitment to excellence. To further these aims, and in the interests of fairness, we invite applicants to tell us, when applying, about any disadvantages they have faced in coming to the Bar. This is not limited to characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010. There are no necessarily right or wrong answers, and applicants will not be penalised for leaving these sections of their application blank. This policy is not intended to give disadvantaged candidates an unfair advantage, but to compensate—consistently, transparently, and proportionately—for disadvantage.
Distinguishing between types of disadvantage
We distinguish between two types of disadvantage, although there may be some overlap between them:
• Socio-economic disadvantages; and
• Personal mitigating circumstances.
Personal mitigating circumstances are easier to describe than socio-economic disadvantages: they are disadvantages that can affect anyone, whatever their background, and level of economic or social advantage, such as:
• a period of ill health;
• bereavement of a close relative or
• other upheaval affecting examination results or disrupting other attainment and experience.
Socio-economic disadvantages are concerned with the structural disadvantages which evidence shows tend to disadvantage people who have experienced them, rather than affecting all parts of society equally.
The types of matter that candidates may wish to tell us about include:
• Significant caring responsibilities
• Spending time in care
• Coming to the United Kingdom as a refugee or to seek international protection, or as the child of a migrant
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but is intended to exclude personal disadvantages.
How we treat evidence of disadvantage in marking candidates
In shortlisting applicants for interview, 2 marks are available under our mark scheme to compensate for evidence of disadvantage. We advise markers that 1 mark should be awarded for candidates who have faced significant disadvantage in coming to the Bar, and 2 marks for those who have faced multiple or severe disadvantages. This is because we think that such candidates may be disadvantaged in achieving full marks under other categories of our mark scheme.
Someone with significant responsibilities for a family member whilst at university, may have had less time to undertake extracurricular activities that demonstrate aptitude for the Bar. Structurally, this tends to disadvantage women.
Someone has experienced child poverty, and this has affected their educational attainment.
Where a candidate has scored full marks in every general category of the mark scheme, marks to compensate for disadvantage are not available.
Our markers will also refer to the Pupillage Committee for consideration any application demonstrating exceptional circumstances that could justify the candidate being invited to interview despite achieving an overall score below the pass mark.
How we treat mitigating circumstances
In a separate question, we ask candidates to tell us about any mitigating circumstances they wish us to consider when marking their application, such as a bereavement or illness at a critical academic stage. We do not award separate marks for mitigating circumstances, but markers will take any information provided into account when deciding whether to refer an application to the Pupillage Committee for further consideration as to whether a candidate should be invited to interview despite achieving an overall score below the pass mark.
We realise that candidates who answer these questions will be providing sensitive personal information. All members of chambers are subject to the Data Protection Act 2018. Written applications are anonymised before they are marked, so markers do not know the name or gender of an applicant (except to the extent that this is apparent, for example, from attendance at a single-sex school, or from an applicant's description of an activity or attainment). The information provided in answer to these questions is received in strict confidence, and will not be used for any purpose other than shortlisting for interview. Chambers' Administrator and the Chair of the Pupillage Committee may (in administering and monitoring pupillage recruitment and to respond to queries) see complete application forms, including names of candidates and will treat this information as confidential to themselves. The content of candidates' applications are not taken into account in the scoring of our first round or second round interviews. Application forms are not provided to first-round interviewers. For second round interviews, information provided about disadvantage and mitigating circumstances will not be made available to the interviewing panel unless we receive an express written request from an applicant to do so. The overall mark (but not the content) of a written application may exceptionally be taken into account following second round interviews to resolve a tie-break, where several candidates have scored the same in the second and first round interviews.
Reasonable adjustments for interviews
Candidates invited for interview are invited to identify, at that stage, any reasonable adjustments they seek to facilitate the interview process.
Our privacy notice can be accessed here.
MINI-PUPILLAGE AND OPEN EVENING
Cloisters offers up to ten mini-pupillages per year. Mini-pupillages last three days, although they can be shorter if required. All applicants must have completed at least their first year at university in any subject. Successful applicants are selected on the basis of the strength of their application forms.
Please note that completion of a mini-pupillage is not a condition of applying for pupillage at Cloisters.
Please note that we do not accept applications for mini-pupillage outside our annual application window. We anticipate that applications for 2022-2023 will open in the summer of 2022.
Equality & Diversity scheme
At Cloisters, we are committed to making the Bar more accessible as a profession. Five of our ten mini-pupillages are reserved for applicants from less advantaged backgrounds, or applicants who have a disability, or applicants who have/have had caring responsibilities. More information on how to be considered for an Equality and Diversity mini-pupillage will be included on the Cloisters mini-pupillage application form.
If you choose to be considered for one of our five Equality and Diversity mini-pupillages, you will still automatically be considered for a mini-pupillage outside the Equality and Diversity scheme.
Any information you provide in relation to the Equality and Diversity mini-pupillage scheme will not be shared with members of Chambers who are not involved in the selection process (although the information is collated in anonymised form for monitoring purposes).
We recognise that there are costs associated with being a mini pupil, which is why our mini pupillages pay a total of £120 to cover expenses for three days. However, we recognise that some applicants may require a higher amount in order to undertake a mini-pupillage, e.g. if you are travelling a long distance to come to London. If you consider that your expenses to attend a three-day placement in London are likely to exceed £120, please say so here. If possible, please provide a rough estimate of your likely expenses. Decisions about increased expenses payments will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Cloisters often receives many mini-pupillage applications, and it is not possible to offer a mini-pupillage to every deserving candidate. In order to give the most promising candidates an opportunity to come to Cloisters, meet our barristers, and learn more about the work we do, Cloisters holds an open evening each year, usually in January, for particularly strong mini-pupillage candidates to whom we unfortunately could not offer a mini-pupillage.
Please be aware that attendance at Open Evenings is by invitation only. In order to obtain an invitation, you must have applied for a mini-pupillage and have been regarded as a particularly strong candidate.