Interviews · Life at the Bar

Wall of Shame: Buttress of Acclaim

Sometimes what you tell me is distressing. The treatment of applicants by Chambers is one of those times. There are simply too many stories out there of people who are notified of failure very late or not at all. The rudeness is unacceptable and the disorganisation thus implied is incomprehensible. There are also too many refusals to provide feedback when it is asked for. You deserve better.

List the defaulters below. I will publish a list. And do feel free to say what you think.

And – in deference to Barboy’s excellent idea – please feel free to accentuate the positive and list those Chambers who have told you what they were going to do and actually done it.

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58 thoughts on “Wall of Shame: Buttress of Acclaim

  1. There is a certain provincial set who despite being on OLPAS, never even acknowledged my application during the OLPAS period (ending with the July offers) but instead contacted me by letter the following February (!) to offer me an interview.

    I didn’t have a pupillage at the time but the way they had acted made me certain that I didn’t want to involved with them.

  2. Carmelite Chambers deserves a thorough beating.

    Firstly, notified of first round interview mid-week, with the interviews on Satuday. Not enough time to book cheap travel, or any flexibility given the single day available. ALL chambers should be required to publish list of intended dates well in advance, preferably publicly on pupillage.com where applicable. In fact, all chambers regardless of OLPAS affiliation should be required by the BSB to provide such information so that a single source containing this information is available. I know of several people with multiple interviews on the same day; again, unacceptable and chambers should be prevented from doing this wherever possible. I stress, ALL chambers should be required to do this. One, I must say, did in fact email straight away to inform of interview dates, so kudos to them (sorry can’t now find the email, but will place here at a later time).

    Secondly, no information provided as to interview; there were in fact questions to prepare on arrival. I saw several applicants left with just minutes to prepare, who had turned up early enough to avoid problem, but not to prepare questions thoroughly. This was, frankly, appalling on behalf of the Chambers.

  3. I wish I felt free to say what I think; unfortunately, I dont – whistleblowing will always have its drawbacks as well as its benefits………

    1. Post anonymously Minx? Provided you don’t list every chambers you applied to together, they cannot conclude who the writer is, surely? I urge as many as possible to post here, albeit under merely ‘anonymous’; Chambers cannot treat perspective students as they wish!

  4. Might it not be more productive to have a wall of acclaim, whereby applicants who feel a set has equipped themselves admirably can have a forum in which to say so. The scummy end of the ladder for aspirants already displays so many negatives that shaming a poor performing chambers seems hardly worth the effort. With the view held by many being that a pupillage is a pupillage, and that any old tat will do, I would venture that even a set that is outed as being truly awful will still receive more than enough applications next time around.

  5. (Shitty Sets will l probably recieve DOUBLE the ammount of Apps next year BB, on the basis that secretly, no one will want to apply to or go there so why not give it a shot in any event?)

  6. First anon – I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect chambers to be able to set down specific dates months in advance – barristers’ diaries are not set down months in advance and they will want to be sure that the relevant people will be available to interview etc. Also things are just taking more time than usual this year because of the extra long form.

    As for only receiving the question minutes before you go into interview – that’s the whole point, to see how you cope when you only have minutes to prepare and no resources – a barrister’s job most certainly does not allow for optimum time for analysis at all times, you need to be quick on your feet. Also it could be said that only allowing minutes before you go in levels the playing field somewhat.

    I think 2TG needs to be on the wall of shame – their day long interview is 90% chambers’ marketing and only 10% assessment, and they flat refused to allow me to avoid any of it despite it being right in the middle of my finals. The marketing was sickening – they presented it as if they were seeking The Chosen One(s), and waving their pupillage in front of our faces as if we needed to be convinced that we wanted a pupillage (e.g. getting a very junior tenant to tell us how the day she got taken on was the happiest day of her life), when they clearly must have known how desperate we all were. It put me right off the set, as I think it says a lot about them that they think that this is appropriate.

    Another two common sins I’ve encountered:1. sets not bothering to get back to me, ever; 2. rejection letters littered with very obvious typos/my name badly misspelt/one letter addressed “Dear [my surname],”! If I’m bothered to apply, please at least proofread my rejection!!

  7. To Another Anon: Why, if at least one set can manage it, can the rest not follow suit? If some sets can lay down the date in advance (albeit one of two dates), at least we are not expected to drop everything at a moments notice.

    secondly: the point was not that there were questions to prepare (so apologies if I didn’t explain properly),. No indication of this is fine (f just more gruelling), provided the time given was equal for all (e.g. 5 minutes prior to interview slot, by which time any candidate should have arrived); here the issue is that the sheet was given on arrival, regardless of time to interview. It unfairly prejudiced those candidates who turned up more in advance (myself an early-bird, but yet I still think it was unfair as a practice as a whole).

    Have to agree about the common sin of not hearing back: I have been the victim of that crime myself. And the 2TG thing sounds ghastly!

  8. well de gustibus – i thought the 2tg thing was (if a tad long at a day) a big committment by chambers to pupillage and potential pupils. the number of members of chambers there, their attitude in wanting to get round and speak to as many applicants as possible, their wish to show us they actually wanted good pupils as opposed to some sets that give you the impression (false or otherwise) that they are both half-witted and half-arsed. and 2tg, unlike some sets, can at least organise a piss-up in a brewery – early notification, good explanation of what will happen and a clear commitment to inform. i thought they were trying.

    want to nominate 7bedford row for the buttress of acclaim. again early notification, good explanation and clarity about the process. also kind and considerate treatment.

  9. 187 Fleet Street are to be commended:

    They notified weeks in advance of first interview and also provided dates of second interview. They actually offered feedback in the (dreaded) rejection after first interview email!

    I received feedback within approx. 15 minutes of requesting it. The feedback provided deatils of how applications were marked and the score I received, and also how interviews were marked, and the score I received. They also provided general feedback on the interview. I think this is a standard to which all sets should aim for!

  10. I think Argent are to be commended. I found them quick and efficient when I was dealing with them.

    To be honest, I’ve almost entirely forgotten the names of all those that never got back to me, etc…

  11. Whilst QEB Hollis Whitemand not updating the PP is mildly annoying (when I scan down and still see ‘under consideration, my heart has a leap of optimism), they are certainly to be commended for acknowledging applications by email very promptly which gave the number of applicants, the future interview dates and the rough timetable of future contact.

    They also wrote a nice and friendly rejection email, too. To come out of my inbox feeling fluffy DESPITE being rejected showed some dedicated drafting.

    I’ll give them a ‘wall of acclaim’ recommendation.

    I was going to set up a blog for pupillage rejection letters etc but I didn’t get round to it this year.

    Any chambers which only used the PP to inform of rejections is on my ‘annoyed’ list – however, this year I certainly cut them some slack on the basis that they probably didn’t know the PP didn’t send out ‘update’ emails automatically.

  12. Simply Wondered – de gustibus indeed. However I do know that I was far from alone in the impression I formed.

    Further I rather thought that the fact of having so many members of chambers there, military precision etc etc was rather more in their interests than in the interests of candidates – combined with their massive pupillage award, they are adopting a highly aggressive strategy to get the best candidates in the door. Other chambers don’t need to try so hard as they are actually good enough to warrant the top applicants choosing them. I felt the whole day smacked of “The lady doth protest too much…” [WE ARE AMAZING! WE ARE THE BEST! WE MAKE LOTS OF MONEY!]

    A friend of mine got to the final rounds last year and endured some wholly ridiculous testing – aptitude/IQ tests on one day, some other test thing on another day and finally a ludicrous interview in which all the questions asked were clearly devised by some specialist recruitment company , e.g. “When do you communicate best?” “What colour of the rainbow are you?”, and the interviewers then put numbers in a grid in front of them for each answer – talk about taking your “choosing” role too seriously, anyone would think they were the Ultimate Gods of Law, seeking the Next Son of Justice. I wouldn’t want to work with those people.

  13. I’ll nominate 11KBW for “not as good as they could be” status. Heard nothing for ages then a holding email last week saying that invites for interview will be sent w/c 13/7 for interview in w/c 20/7. I hope for notice early in week 1 for interviews late in week 2, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Email also has large error in it, but I will correct that if I get called for interview.

  14. I nominate 15 NBS for their appalling interview. Firstly I travelled from Australia only to be told that they had given me the wrong time and I had to wait an hour and a half -funnily enough another interviewee arrived from New York and was given the same message.

    After duly waiting the hour and a half I was advised that they were running late and would probably be another 20 minutes. 45 minutes later I was invited into the room. Perhaps a sign of what was to come the lady being interviewed before me ran out of the room crying…

    Upon entering the room, there were two interviewers, plus the guy who came to get me. One of them was slumped across the table and lifted his arm as a greeting, without even lifting his head in acknowledgement. The other, more senior interviewer, was dressed in gym attire and looked like he may have just fallen off a treadmill.

    At the beginning of the interview I was advised of how the interview was structured. “Blah, blah, oh and you can ask questions at the end but it might be best if you don’t in these circumstances.” (I was the last to be interviewed)

    I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life. I had travelled from AUSTRALIA to attend that interview and was there on time. They made me wait over two hours and still could not even be bothered to appear interested.

    I requested feedback on my inevitable rejection, and was promised this three times. I still haven’t received any. Shame on you 15NBS!

    On the other hand Garden Court North were fantastic. Although I was rejected they clearly laid out their reasons in a personal rejection letter.

  15. forgive my ignorance, but who are 15 nbs??? (no bloody sense? sounds a perfect chambers for me!)

    another anon – i take your point about 2tg but i can’t blame any chambers for trying hard to get the best pupils. i shall be wanting my chambers to do that when i am a tenant.

    what colour of the rainbow am i? i am the colour of silence, of course. come and out-weird me if ya think yer zen enough, ya buggers!

  16. Anon above, which 3TG?

    I don’t think it should be beyond any set to set up an email template which can then mass email unsuccessful candidates. Doughty Street and Cloisters sent me identical ‘thanks, but no thanks’ emails. I found out Tooks had also knocked me back from logging in to pupillage portal.

    It’s a very small courtesy. And I find it odd that some parts of the profession cling to certain other old-time traditions but not old-time manners. One is often left with the feeling that such is the demand for pupillage that sets believe they do not need to observe even basic politeness.

    There goes my prospects of pupillage.

  17. If you mean you now have a big fat “no thanks” email then I can only conclude that the powers that be have been alerted to this Post. So keep it coming.

    I am sorry you got a ‘no’ though. I really do not think that I could take the process as it now is.

  18. I had to make in excess of 200 applications over a number of years before I obtained pupillage. One of my main gripes was the lack of feedback. At one stage (I lived outside London and was applying nationwide) I went around London Chambers personally giving in handwritten letters asking for feedback. This generated a bit of success and some of my applications improved as a result of the feedback.

    If you want to get really negative, it may be worth looking in to whether the Data Protection Act entitles you to see your scores – ‘information held about you’ but it is fair to say that this approach will make you few friends.

    On a happy note, after putting my life on hold for a number of years, I now have the dream tenancy, though I am a few years behind my friends and a bit battle weary from the fight.

  19. I phoned 3TG (Coffey) yesterday and 10 mins later my status on PP (and that of 3 other friends) was updated to rejected.

  20. 1 Mitre Court Buildings – a totally wasted application last year. Didn’t hear anything for weeks and weeks; don’t think I was ever technically rejected so like the poster further up I’m still technically waiting to hear, from 12 months ago… rang them a few times during the process to ask where they were up to in the process and the clerks were rude: didn’t appear to know, and certainly didn’t care.

  21. To be fair, most of you have never actually looked for a job before. Most of this is pretty standard practice.

  22. ANon: what a shocking, unfounded generalisation about those posting here. I would suspect that many have looked for jobs. I have, repeatedly. Yes, I agree that many professions do not treat prospective employees well; the failure to hear anything on application is something I have suffered at the hands of many, and is by no means unique to my pupillage applications.

    Nonetheless, merely because other industries have bad practice hardly means it can be justified, whether in pupillage applications or more generally in the business world. The point of this thread is to make it known which sets have good and bad practices, in the hope that it achieves something (if merely information for other candidates). Are you suggesting that, if treated badly, we merely sit back and take it because it happens elsewhere? Shit happens, but lets just take it? Employers in all professions should be granted unquestioned right to treat those less seeking a job with little respect? I hardly think so.

  23. I tend to agree with Odysseus. The defence that everyone else does it is not one known to law (although it may creep in as an implied term by dint of custom and practice).

    And that’s the point really – is that what we want to be known for? The Bar is a referral profession: it therefore requires public support and public confidence. For every rudely treated applicant there is a potential lay client or – worse – solicitor who has made his mind up about a whole set of Chambers and perhaps the whole profession on the basis of a single unsatisfactory encounter.

    There is no need for this and no excuse either. Moreover, most Chambers have policies that promise prompt and helpful responses. Time to mean what we say, I feel.

  24. Tanfield, who apparently don’t “do” the portal.

    The portal itself for no longer sending out automatic messages. I think it’s really shabby to have to log on and just find the word rejected.

    I would like to commend Queen Square Chambers, Bristol for at least sending a letter to my house to notify me that I hadn’t been successful.

  25. Pendragon Chambers whole heartedly deserve a place on the wall of shame; even though they are a non-olpas set ( I am unsure whether deadline dates mentioned at the portal website apply to all sets) who screamed bloody blue murder about a submission date of early march, they cant even make up their mind as to who to call to interview and when, if at all.
    They are a small set, but this isnt the first time they’ve had pupils, and their months of silence smells a bit fishy .Why advertise for pupils to begin with? They either know already who they are going to take on-in which case they are advertising for the sake of correctness , or have no intention of taking anyone on, in which case they are just being cruel.

  26. ANon, ever stopped to think how your willingness to display an ill informed opinion might cause people to think you will be a truly sh*te advocate ?

  27. I had a very good experience at 25 Bedford Row. Although I was rejected after first interview, they were relatively prompt with it and emailed me to let me know. When I emailed later to ask for feedback, I received a reply within 15 minutes letting me know how the interviews had been scored and what my score had been. They were also very helpful in giving me dates for interviews in advance, as I needed to know in order to be able to travel to London in time.

    Matrix, who did not offer me an interview, were also friendly in dealing with my requests for feedback on my application.

    I actually haven’t had any bad experiences yet – all the Chambers I’ve contacted were as helpful as possible.

  28. My wall of shame:

    2TG – I second Another Anon’s nomination. Their selection day provided minimal opportunity for applicants to show what they were capable of. It was a shameless display of marketing which was not even particularly accurate. For example, they bracketed themselves alongside the top commercial sets and did not mention their substantial PI practice. I was particularly put off by a conversation with a senior tenant over lunch – he said he dislikes travelling to provincial courts where the local barristers are unwelcoming because they know that he is better than them.

    39 Essex Street – I was notified less than 2 days before the interview, which took place in the middle of the exam period. After being taken to a room to read a case for an hour I was faced with a panel of approximately 9 barristers. There were no niceties whatsoever – no introductions, no thank you for coming at short notice, just a steady stream of questions. I know some sets want to see you act in difficult circumstances – but in my opinion that no excuse for impoliteness. Incidently, a friend did their assessed mini and was left by themselves in a room to write an opinion for three days.

    My buttress of acclaim:

    St John’s Chambers (Bristol):

    I was made to feel incredibly welcome by the receptionist and whilst I was waiting nearly every tenant who passed by stopped to give me some encouraging words.

    7 Bedford Row:

    Very accomodating over a clash of interview times. Prompt and detailed feedback which was constructive and positive at the same time.

    Guildhall Chambers (Bristol):

    I didn’t apply here but they are on my buttress of acclaim as the only set I know of who offer travel expenses for interviews. Last year I spent a LOT of money travelling to and from interviews.

  29. I am from a completely different world, but the same planet!I read these comments from a dad’s point of view. Remember these comments when you are finally successful, because you will then be in a position to make changes. That in my experience is the hardest thing of all – not to recognise the failings – but to change them when the opportunity arises.

  30. I must have been quite lucky with my interviews thus far – each one has been rigorous yet enjoyable. My criticism is directed mostly at the way sets reject (please do not think I am annoyed about the rejections themselves – they were fair enough and obviously it’s up to each chambers only criteria)

    Positive mention for:

    – 5 Essex Court – friendly, courteous and gave good feedback on my eventual rejection

    – Landmark – friendly, open, keen to sell themselves (but in a positive way – not like 2 Temple Gardens – see above!). Nice assessment exercise, followed by a thorough 45 minute interview. Very ‘new bar’ (in a good way).

    – 39 Essex Street – it was a little unnerving that they interviewed almost 100 people and then took 20 to the second round; felt a bit like an interview conveyor-belt. But they were nice, interested and the interview itself seemed fair.

    – 1 Temple Gardens – firm but fair, there seemed to be a healthy air of scepticism in my application. Overall, friendly though although perhaps a touch ‘old bar’.

    – 4 / 5 Gray’s Inn Sq – A thorough interview, interesting questions, definite good cop/bad cop feel. They have quite an ‘interactive’ approach to interviews. Feels fairer in many respects.

    Criticism for:

    – Matrix – flat rejection. My slight issue with Matrix is the tension between (i) the supposed transparency of their point-system, (ii) the fact that they are encourage applications from ‘everyone’ – i.e. undergrads / GDL students who don’t have a chance. Having a PhD does not necessarily equate to being a better advocate (although, my suspicion is that sets like Matrix look for impressive sounding but ultimately irrelevant qualities to put on their website)

    – Hardwicke Building – a Non-OLPAS set, I’m sure my app suffered from their wonky application form.

    – One Crown Office Row – Heard nothing until a ‘rejected’ came up on PP. Just seems a bit rude (but then perhaps chambers don’t appreciate the shortcomings of PP yet)

    – Thomas More – ditto.

    – 1 Pump Court – Still nothing. Wall of Shame worthy.

    – Garden Court – flatly rejected. Probably a good thing due to their Lord of the Flies pupillage-policy. My slight gripe is their encouragement of students to apply when it feels as though their actually looking for people who have years worth of experience in referral agencies etc. A bit like Matrix, I wish these sets would say, ‘Minimum Requirements: 2.1 degree (PhD preferable), a year with the UN and two years doing something worthy sounding’.

  31. Thanks Horse for useful comments. I would suggest however that a cursory glance at the recent tenants/trainee profiles at Garden Court and Matrix say loud and clear what qualities these sets seek.

  32. I went to a Matrix open day a few years ago. They were very open about their points system, until someone pointed out that despite their protestations to the contrary, if you did not have a first you would need to score maximum points on all other crtieria. Don’t know if it is the same in 2009.

    It is interesting that it is the same feedback on sets being provided above, that I would have provided a few years ago. St John’s and Guildhall were some of the most positive interview experiences that I ever had.

  33. Very worthwhile thread.

    Firstly, the Bar Council needs to sort out the Pupillage Portal system. Why put us through the torture of having to selling ourselves (more than on the OLPAS form last year), when Chambers don’t want any more waffle to read.

    My observations are as follows:

    6KBW – asked for feedback after first round interview, no response yet!

    Otherwise, only other criticism I can make is that last year, when I applied to some non-OLPAS sets, half of them never responded despite submitting within the required timeframe. The worst culprit was Goldsmith Chambers, application deadline was the end of July. I heard nothing until October, when they telephoned me, and invited me for an interview, but they had not set any dates yet! I have never heard anything since. You may ask, why I never chased them. The main reason is that I deciphered that I didn’t want to be part of a set that was so disorganised.

    Otherwise, I’ve never had too much of a bad experience this year. My main criticism would be of the online system and the fact that it never notifies you if you have anything, and most importantly it seems to hide information to you. It is only when the super organised sets contact you via the Pupillage Portal and e-mail that you realise you have an interview.

  34. Completely agree with comments on 2 Temple Gardens, especially reluctant anon’s – it was like they were trying to pull the wool over our eyes/treat us like idiots, and I do know some young impressionable applicants (!) who do now seem to think that 2TG is THE top set at the Bar. So I suppose the marketing works – though when those applicants actually get to the Bar they will realise that it is in fact just a good common law set, on a par with about 50 others. They seem to have the smug attitude of being a top commercial set without having the attributes of one…worst of both worlds!

  35. “Templar” stated on The Student Room some time ago that he/she received a rejection email which had not been properly mail merged. The result, he said, was an email which read thus:

    Dear ,

    Thank you for your application to join .

    We regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful. May we take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in .

    With Kind Regards

    This is quite easily the worst horror story I have heard in relation to pupillage applications.

    Templar’s comment in it’s original context:

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=909625&page=14

  36. ^^ As you can see, the formatting of the letter was lost when the comment was posted.

    I would recommend that you visit Templar’s original comment on The Student Room website.

  37. okay i admit to a bit of bias towards 2tg from a good mini etc. but i didn’t see them pulling wool over any eyes – they rate themselves; they market themselves. they present the very best possible front to candidates to get people they want to offer pupillage to accept it. when we candidates are interviewed we present ourselves as well as we can; we certainly market ourselves as the best around (if we can get away with it) so that someone will offer us pupillage.

    we are all grown ups – these sets are not there to be nice; they are there to succeed. while i expect them to be ethical and respectable, we can’t ask them to coddle us every step of the way. if we are fortunate enough to be offered pupillage at 2tg or anywhere at all, then we can make our choice like well-informed adults who know there are many sources of information on chambers and that the very best is our own intuition and judgment – they should be two of the qualities that best fit us to succeed at the bar anyway.

  38. please add dyers and 5 st andrews hill to the wall of shame. They have carried out interviews but not bothered to reject, meaning those who don’t know they have had their interviews, will be clinging to false hope.

    My issue is not that they don’t get back to those that they are interested in. Thats life. My issue is the fact that if they don’t want to get back to people they should not be using a facility which implies they will.

  39. I know that technically the wall of shame/buttress of acclaim is already posted. But out of my (very limited) first round interviews, I would like to nominate Charter Chambers for the buttress of acclaim.

    The interview certainly put me through my paces, but all 3 interviewees were attentive and responsive. Extra points in particular for the fact that they went out of their way at the start of the interview to put me at ease. Also for the fact that instead of the standard rejection email (or even more galling, the realisation that though you’ve heard nothing the status for that set on PP has flicked to “Rejected” (sob)) I received a telephone call on the *same day* as the interview thanking me for attending, informing me that unfortunately I hadn’t made it to second round and wishing me luck for the future. They even went so far as to ease the blow with some flattery (I’m sure you must have lots of other interviews…well no, but it’s nice of you to say so).

    If they could have given feedback it would have been a perfect process!

  40. Five paper (civil) were horrendous. They gave no answer to or acknowledgment of my application, and when I rang to find out what was going on I got a couldn’t-care-less receptionist who gave me a totally banal fob-off spiel.

  41. I commented here before, praising 25 Bedford Row and Matrix, and although someone has already suggested that Garden Court be added to the wall of shame, I have to disagree. I am waiting to hear from them as to whether or not I’ve been successful, but they have been incredibly helpful the entire time. The interviews were relaxed (although on the first day they were running late), and there was a nice, friendly atmosphere when waiting for the first interview with applicants able to sit and chat together and the interviewers treating us as equals. The second interview was a lot more formal, but they gave us plenty of time to prepare and were far from intimidating. Also, just from talking to others who were invited to a 1st round interview, it didn’t seem at all that they were looking for a specific kind of person (PhD, Oxbridge, worked for the UN, saved a baby kitten from a tree, etc.). There were PhD students there, but there were also older applicants who’d been working for some time, students who had just graduated, and people from a wide range of different universities. I think that they do try to interview a range of different people and to give them a chance to prove themselves.

  42. i think the bulk of our experience (not all, i know) is that once at the interview chambers treat applicants with respect. it seems the difficulty is in their failing to let people know. while very often it is down to small chambers and busy advocates doing the best they can, it is absolutely the point made by ‘yet another paranoid anon’ that: ‘My issue is the fact that if they don’t want to get back to people they should not be using a facility which implies they will.’ managing of expectations – hard for any business but such an elephant trap when it comes to alienating people needlessly.

    nice rejection email from 1 mitre court buildings fwiw. they said they had 592 applications. you really do have to take that into account, especially for smaller chambers. on the other hand, they managed and they aren’t big or wealthy.

  43. In one interview at a top set in crime, I was asked ‘how old are you?’ by a man. The woman on the panel interjected and said, ‘you don’t have to answer that!’. I replied I was not in a relationship and not intending to reproduce in the next few years! I found it rather offensive and he obviously was angling- is she a breeder! I called the Bar Counsel and they said unless they could prove gender discrimination, they couldn’t comment- they said they didn’t know what he had been thinking. Great= now we have to be inside someones’ head to prove mens rea.

  44. There has to be room on this wall for Iscoed Chambers, Swansea, for their truely shameful treatment of candidates.

    No, they’re not a big swinging-set like the London chappies, or those heavier-hitting regional sets like No5, but nevertheless, candidates have taken the time to apply to their chambers through the OLPAS system and their treatment of those candidates is nothing but shoddy.

    After months of having my application “under consideration”, I was under no illusion that, as the 20 August deadline for offers approached, there was surely not one coming my way. That is not my issue with Iscoed. After months of waiting, I picked up the phone to be told, in rather curt terms, that the interviews had just been. That, too, is fine. When I asked when they were planning on letting the unsuccessful candidates know, I was met with the response that, quite simply, they wouldn’t be doing so. From the tone of voice, it was quite clear that they did not think that a) this was an unreasonable approach and that b) this was thoroughly acceptable practice. Well no, Iscoed. It’s not.

    Firstly – Iscoed is a member of OLPAS. Surely, one of the purposes of the system, it to centralise and consolidate all the applications. How difficult can it be to generate what essentially is a mail merge to candidates, that they had been unsuccessful. Other sets have not found this too challenging..

    Secondly – chambers left it to the last moment to even interview those candidates it had in mind. Is this really a viable game plan? What if those candidates had been set on taking pupillage with the wonder that is the small little Swansea set, but had another offer. By this point, they would not have heard anything. Would they have taken the risk and sacrificed the offer?! It seems an approach like this means Iscoed are coming to the buffet table long after the a hungry Welsh post-match squad have ploughed their way through and taken the first servings.

    Thirdly – the answer “well, we just have so many applications”. Oh, Iscoed, do you!? Doesn’t every set? Isn’t that the whole problem, in the first place? This angers me the most. It’s not a satisfactory answer. It’s not even close. Many chambers have many, many more applicants, than Iscoed do. They manage to respond. Even if they are a bigger set, it’s surely all relative, isn’t it? Iscoed would have approximately the same as, if not less, than those sets on Park Place. They are able to respond. I fear it’s not so much an issue relating to capacity in the physical, but in the mental sense. In a profession that is supposed to be about integrity and decency, this angers me the most. Is this really how chambers want to portay themselves?? And more so, what does it say about chambers in the long-term and their committment to growth and keeping their heads above water in what is an increasingly competitive legal economy?

  45. I’m still under consideration at both Iscoed and Angel in Swansea, and have had no response from either despite several e-mails asking for a definite rejection and some feedback. They also have two of the rudest receptionists I’ve ever encountered.

    Students! Don’t waste a PP slot applying to Iscoed or Angel. They are massively unprofessional.

    That is all.

  46. Rejection By Silence – have to rely on fellow applicants posting news on websites

    boo hiss on that front this year to:

    – 36 Bedford Row
    – Renaissance

    Acclaim also to:

    – 39 Essex Street for sending an update email to keep us informed of where they’re at

    – those chambers who posted on Pupillage Pages what they were doing and when:

    – 25 Bedford Row
    – 2 Hare Court
    – Devereux
    – Cloisters
    – 1 Garden Court
    – Outer Temple (who also gave broad feedback on good/bad apps – excellent work)
    – Blackstone

    This must be the way forward – one post, keeps everyone in the loop, saves chambers time, emails and fielding numerous phone calls from hopeful applicants.

    – so an asist to Pupillage Pages for that and their tweet updates.

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