Summertime and the living is easy. Or the air is filled with pupillage application forms, widespread work experience and an extensive history of academic achievement depending on where you’re sat.
The advice given to hopefuls applying for their first six pupillage is equally applicable to those applying for their third: it’s no less important to check your grammar, to differentiate yourself and to be concise.
However, the question is how should a third six pupillage application differ from a primary pupillage application? We spoke to members of the pupillage committees from four chambers and asked them what they believe a strong third six application must include.
The primary interest for reviewers is what the candidate has been doing for the last 12 months; what experience they have; and what cases they have been involved in. It’s important that you clearly illustrate and provide details of your achievements over the last year, and that you prioritise this information over other more dated accomplishments, however proud you are of your undergraduate mooting achievements!
“The third six application is such a different procedure from the first application, because you do hope that by that point someone’s CV will speak for itself,” says Patrick Maggs. Sitting on the pupillage committee for Fifteen New Bridge Street, Maggs emphasises that while candidates can “polish and reinvent” themselves to a certain extent in their first pupillage application, by the time of third six applications experience is key.
Chambers have less time to build relationships with pupils, so they must look more closely at the experience an applicant has and what links they have to chambers’ practice areas.
Alexia Zimbler of Maidstone Chambers concedes that this isn’t always easy to illustrate. However, she highlights that is it important for chambers to be convinced of your commitment because “a third sixer is in a different position, they’re looking to be a tenant in chambers in six months. As far as a third six is concerned, it is really important that chambers can see that someone is coming to them to do the sort of work chambers does, rather than just coming to do a third six”.
Commercial awareness and a drive to promote yourself should be consolidated with evidence that you have used the opportunities in your first and second six to their upmost advantage; exposing yourself “to different types of work and to new clients”.
Mark Himsworth, a registered pupil supervisor and Head of Dyers Chambers Pupillage Committee, notes that they want to see that an “applicant has developed their advocacy from early second six”, in terms of their judgement, their delivery and their economy of words.
These qualities should be teamed with a “flexibility and willingness to adapt”. Himsworth stresses that though a candidate may have all these traits it is not enough to simply assert them, you must be sure to provide “concrete examples” within your application.
You can illustrate this by providing example of articles you have had published or by showing that you have built strong links with solicitors to the extent that those instructing solicitors will want to come back to you specifically. It is important you demonstrate you have gone above and beyond what has been expected.
Gwawr Thomas states that at 1 Mitre Court they are looking “for people who are ready to hit the ground running”; people who have been and can be “proactive in creating their own practices”. Far from pupils who expect clerks to divvy up cases, they are looking for pupils who have the initiative to not only attract new cases to chambers but also the ambition to further develop their own practice.
The tips offered by all four pupillage committee members share similar strands: third six applicants are in a very different position from first time pupils. The key difference is that third sixers have had a year’s experience both in chambers and in court. A successful applicant needs to illustrate this experience and demonstrate that they have the initiative, drive and commercial awareness to develop a successful practice of their own.