1 Overview

1.1 We aim to provide pupils with comprehensive training for a career at the Bar, to enable them to make a valued contribution both to the firm and to the legal profession. Pupillage encompasses our general policies and training requirements whilst covering those aspects of training which are unique to the Bar. The Bar Standards Board Handbook which includes the Code of Conduct provide a valuable framework within which our policy is interpreted.

1.2 Pupils are exposed to work across predominantly education, health, insurance litigation and regulatory sectors of the business, but are able where the opportunity presents itself to also experience working within other departments of the firm.

1.3 The core elements of the pupillage policy document are outlined in the Bar Standards Board’s Guidance for organisations intending to provide pupillage and the Bar Qualification Manual.

2 The number and type of pupillages on offer

2.1 We intend to offer one funded 24-month pupillage each year.

2.2 The number of pupillages each year will depend on future business development but is not expected to be more than three at any one time and no more than a frequency of two every year.

2.3 It is anticipated that any pupillage offered will usually be a 24-month pupillage.

2.4 All Pupils have a ratio of 1:1 pupil to pupil supervisor supervision during their pupillage.

2.4 All pupillages are funded (salaried) and are offered on a 24-month fixed-term contract basis at a minimum starting salary of £29,000.00 per annum.

2.5 There is a commitment to offering all pupillages with a view to employment at conclusion, but this cannot be guaranteed as it depends both upon the calibre of the individual pupil and on strategic business plans of the BJ Barrister team which would shape the availability of work at an appropriate level.

3 Recruitment of pupils

3.1 We pride ourselves on our fair and transparent recruitment and selection process. In line with the Bar Standards Board recommendations and the guidance set out in the Equality & Diversity Code for the Bar and the Fair Recruitment and Equality & Diversity responsibilities for AETO’s vacancies for pupils are publicised widely. All vacancies for pupillage are advertised on the Pupillage Gateway, in line with the mandatory timetable, to ensure equality of opportunity. The vacancy will also be advertised through the Firm’s website. Applications from internal candidates are also welcomed, all of whom would have been recruited in line with our best practice recruitment and selection procedures including competitive interview process.

3.2. All members of the Pupillage Recruitment Selection Panel have been trained in fair recruitment and selection processes and in the use of objective and fair criteria. Furthermore, all application as per our general recruitment and selection criteria are anonymised both in terms of gender and educational attainment.

3.3 No pupillage brochure exists at present as the number of pupils to be recruited, if any, in future years is likely to be small. Our pupillage policy can be found on the pupillage section of our website however we would also direct pupils to the trainee solicitor section of our website, where there is a comprehensive overview of the training and working environment at the firm, which is replicated in general terms for pupils.

3.4 There is no minimum academic grade requirement to apply for a pupillage.

3.5 Those who wish to apply for pupillage are requested to complete an online application form.

4 Roles and duties of pupils

4.1 In general the pupil's work is directed towards the requirements of the pupillage and is intended to provide the pupil with the experience and training necessary to meet the competencies required to achieve the threshold standard in the Professional Statement in accordance with the Curriculum and Assessment Strategy in order to ensure they have the knowledge, skills an attributes required on ‘day one’ to practice at the Bar. In addition, pupils are expected to work with and for the pupil supervisor and other lawyers within the Firm who from time to time require the pupil's assistance. Such work will further the requirements of the pupillage and experience of pupils where possible.

4.2 However, whilst the completion of all elements of a pupillage is paramount pupils are under contract to Browne Jacobson and are expected, where necessary, to assist any lawyers as required as an employee of the firm and in line with the work requirements anticipated for life at the Employed Bar.

4.3 Pupils are based in the Birmingham, Exeter, Manchester or Nottingham office alongside the pupil supervisor. There may, however, be occasions when pupils will be required to travel to other offices of the firm (London and Dublin) or elsewhere as the work of the pupil supervisor or other lawyers dictates. Travel expenses would be reimbursed in line with the firm’s policy.

4.4 The working day will normally be between 9am and 5pm. However, pupils are expected, as with any other lawyers, to work additional hours when required, subject of course to individual's rights under the Working Time Directive.

4.5 It is the responsibility of the pupil to be aware of training and other requirements of the Bar Council and/or Bar Standards Board in relation to their pupillage, and to inform the pupil supervisor accordingly. The administration of the pupillage is carried out primarily by the pupil.

4.6 In general, pupils are treated as equivalent to our trainee solicitors, and any training and experience which is provided to trainees is also made available to pupils where appropriate.

4.7 Overall the pupil's role and duties are those laid down by the Bar Standards Board’s Guidelines and the Code of Conduct.

5 The roles and duties of pupil supervisor

5.1 The pupil supervisor will provide pupils with training and experience in all aspects of the pupil

supervisor’s work and in every way exposes pupils to all aspects of a career at the Bar.

5.2 The pupil supervisor is responsible for ensuring that pupils are exposed to the work of other lawyers who can supplement the pupil's training and experience.

5.3 The pupil supervisor will carry out monthly appraisals with pupils, identify areas of work or other experiences which are either compulsory or desirable and will assist in ensuring that those areas are covered.

5.4 For all pupillages commencing from September 2020 onwards, the pupil supervisor will assess pupils in line with the threshold standard and competencies specified in the Professional Statement.

5.5 The pupil supervisor aims to assist pupils in their pupillage in anyway necessary and will offer such advice and guidance as may be required.

5.6 The pupil supervisor will ensure appropriate supervisory arrangements are in place when they are away from the office or when the pupil is allocated to another team for the purpose of their training or experience.

5.7 In every way the pupil supervisor duties will fulfil those laid down by the BSB requirements and their Code of Conduct.

6 The general pattern of pupillage

6.1 The pupillage is served with one pupil supervisor, but pupils may work with other lawyers and/or pupil supervisors as and when required or when necessary to supplement the work of the pupil supervisor. A number of Browne Jacobson solicitors have higher court rights and a consequent workload which furthers the pupil's training.

6.2 It is intended that the pupil will spend some time with a local Chambers, however this cannot be fully guaranteed as the arrangement relies also upon the goodwill and co-operation of local Chambers.

7 The checklists used during pupillage

7.1 We follow the compulsory pupillage checklist.

7.2 We use the specialist checklists provided by the Bar Standards Board.

7.3 The following specialist checklists will be used;

  • Personal Injury Law
  • Criminal Law

8 The finance available to pupils

8.1 Pupils are employees and accordingly do not derive income from brief fees. Pupils are paid a salary in equal monthly instalments of £26,000 per annum. This award is subject to review in the same way as all salaries of employees (general salary reviews are usually carried out in July each year). Guaranteed income schemes are therefore irrelevant.

8.2 As pupils are salaried, overtime is not payable. Pupils are expected to work the hours required by the work being undertaken at the time.

8.3 We do not permit grants/ loans or salary advances.

8.4 Benefits provided to our people are set out in the pupil's contract.

8.5 At present no scheme is available for paying BPTC/BVC fees. It is possible this may be reconsidered in the future.

9 Payment for compulsory pupillage courses and travelling expenses

9.1 We will cover the cost and reasonable expenses (e.g. overnight accommodation, evening meals etc.) of any compulsory courses.

9.2 Pupils' reasonable travelling and other expenses, both for client work and for courses training etc. are reimbursed in ordnance with the firm’s business expenses policy. Both standard class rail travel and private vehicle use are permitted (for the latter a rate of 45p per mile is paid). Should pupils wish to utilise their own vehicle, they must be insured for business use.

9.3 Expenses are reimbursed by way of payment into the pupil's bank account upon production of satisfactory proof of expenditure. Pupils should note that expenses must be authorised by a partner of the firm, and obtain general permission to incur a particular expense from the pupil supervisor in advance where possible. We do not reimburse unauthorised expenses which are deemed excessive.

10 Procedure for providing pupils with an objective assessment of their progress at regular intervals throughout pupillage

10.1 Pupils follow a formal assessment programme with reviews at 3 monthly intervals. Such reviews are conducted with the pupil supervisor.

10.2 Pupils have every opportunity for informal guidance and assistance from both the pupil supervisor and lawyers and in addition may take advantage of the internal mentoring scheme at Browne Jacobson.

11 Complaints and grievance procedures

11.1 Pupils are encouraged to contribute to the running of their pupillage and it is to be hoped that they will be able to discuss any problems or complaints with their pupil supervisor in the first instance. Should an informal approach not resolve a problem, pupils should follow the grievance procedure.

Dated: January 2020

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