Essex Court Chambers is distinguished by work of the highest quality and its broad range of commercial specialisms. Chambers is offering up to four competitively funded pupillages starting in October 2014. Chambers is also accepting deferred applications for pupillage commencing in October 2015. The award is £60,000. £40,000 is payable in the first six months of which up to £20,000 may be drawn down for the BPTC year. There are guaranteed minimum earnings of £75,000 in the first year of tenancy and no Chambers' expenses are payable on fees received in the first quarter. Lateral cross-recruits are rare and Chambers is seeking to expand at a faster rate at the junior end.
Chambers is committed to providing equality of opportunity without discrimination and offers of pupillage and tenancy are made strictly on merit, by reference to objective criteria. Those criteria are intellectual ability; promise in oral and written advocacy/communication skills; tenacity, self-motivation, organisational skill and ability to work as part of a team; and judgment and integrity. Chambers wishes to recruit pupils with the potential to be excellent future practitioners and its practice is to make offers of tenancy to those pupils who demonstrate that potential during pupillage.
Chambers was founded in 1961 when the then five members of chambers included the future judges Lord Mustill, Lord Justice Evans and Lord Justice Kerr. Other distinguished alumni include Lords Saville and Steyn, Lord Justices Thomas and Beatson, Sir Anthony Colman, and Mr Justice Eder, as well as Dame Rosalyn Higgins (former president of the International Court of Justice) and Sir Christopher Greenwood (the current British judge on the ICJ). Chambers now comprises about 80 silks and juniors, including leading academics.
Among London's leading commercial sets, Essex Court Chambers is one of a very small number of sets whose members are recognised as true specialists in the full spectrum of modern commercial practice, both in the UK and internationally. Annual market research and award ceremonies confirm that Essex Court Chambers' members are consistently recognised as leading individuals by clients and peers in many areas. Reference may be made to online legal directories for details.
Chambers' core areas of practice include commercial litigation; insurance and reinsurance; shipping; energy; international commercial arbitration; public international law; and banking and financial services.
Many individual members have developed a specialist practice in other areas, as listed on Chambers' website. The size of chambers and the full spectrum of its specialisms allow junior tenants the chance to develop a practice in both Chambers' core areas and more broadly. The strong international nature of Chambers also differentiates it from other chambers. Some members of Chambers, at all levels, frequently appear in other jurisdictions and in international arbitrations outside England.
Applications from both law and non-law graduates are welcomed. Candidates are required to have obtained, or to be predicted to obtain, at least a 2:1 degree and in the case of non-law graduates, to have obtained, or to be predicted to obtain, at least a Commendation in the GDL.
Applicants for pupillage are encouraged to undertake a mini-pupillage (of 1–3 days). This is not a condition of interview and interviewees who have not completed mini-pupillage may be able to do so after interview. There are a limited number of mini-pupillages available each year and not everyone who applies can be accommodated.
Chambers is a member of Pupillage Gateway and follows the timetable stipulated by it. Reference should be made to the Pupillage Gateway website (www.pupillagegateway.com) for the current year deadlines and applicable rules, as well as Chambers’ specific requirements for the content of applications and referees.The application procedure comprises consideration of the paper application and a single round of interviews (for a limited number of candidates).
Exceptionally, Chambers may make an offer of third six pupillage. Applications should be made in writing as early as possible in the applicant's second six pupillage and addressed to the secretary to the Pupillage Committee.
Exceptionally, Chambers may make an offer of pupillage to an applicant who is exempt from the Vocational Stage of Training (as defined in the Bar Training Regulations). Applicants who (i) are solicitors having PQE of three years or less following completion of their training contracts (whom Chambers will require to complete twelve months pupillage); or (ii) are required by the BSB to complete twelve months' pupillage; or (iii) wish to be considered for 12 months’ pupillage (whether or not they are required to undertake such a pupillage) must apply through the Pupillage Gateway and in accordance with its timetable. Other applicants to Chambers should apply in writing to the Committee on Cross Recruits and Door Tenants.